Development Milestones and Activities for 18 Months Old
Eighteen months have flown by, and your little one is becoming more independent each day. Your toddler is learning new skills, expanding his/her vocabulary, and gaining more knowledge about the world around him/her. These times are fascinating for the kids and parents alike.
As we have mentioned in the previous blog posts, knowing the development milestones and appropriate activities is vital for parents like you to support and optimize your child's development.
If you want to read more information regarding child development and developmental milestones, check out the Parent's Guide to Understanding Child DevelopmentTo guide you as you watch your child's development in the areas of cognition, social and emotions, language, and physical, here are the developmental milestones expected from your 18-month-old toddler.
You may also download and print your copy of the Tiny Steps Developmental Milestones and Activities – 18 Months Old Checklist for your convenience.
Developmental Milestones and Recommended Activities
At eighteen months, your toddler may not be growing as fast as when he/she was a baby. Your child may have slowed down in terms of physical growth, but your child is developing rapidly in the areas of language, social, learning, balance, and coordination. Your baby is already walking on his own and is probably climbing the stairs and running as well. Your toddler is also learning and starting to say new words. Here are some other developmental milestones to look forward to.
- Knows what familiar things are for
Your toddler already knows and understands the purpose of commonly used objects in the house. He/she knows that a comb is used for fixing the hair and a cup is used for drinking
- Points to objects
Your child catches your attention and shows you an object or person of interest by pointing at it.
- Shows interest in imaginative play
You may start to notice that your toddler is interested in acting out or copying the adults' actions around him/her. Your child may already pretend to talk on the phone using his toy or try to work on the laptop. The imaginative play starts simple and becomes more elaborate as your toddler grows.
- Can point to a body part
Your child may already know common body parts like the eyes or nose. He/she can point to the correct body part when asked.
- May start scribbling
At eighteen months, your toddler may show interest in scribbling using crayons. Expect random scribbles rather than a drawing from your little one.
- Can follow simple instructions or commands
Your toddler is already able to recognize and follow instructions from you. You can already ask your toddler to hand you over things or wave his/her hands to say goodbye.
Social and Emotional
- Hands over objects to others as play
Your toddler appreciates playing with other people. At this stage, he/she may enjoy passing over things to other people.
- May have temper tantrums
Your little one starts to have new and big emotions. They may begin to feel frustration, anger, shame, enthusiasm, and clinginess. Your child cannot regulate and manage his/her feelings at this time, so expect some tantrums.
- Feels fearful around strangers
Your toddler has developed familiarity and relationship with his/her parents and caregivers, so he/she may feel afraid around unfamiliar faces.
- Clings to parents during new situations
Your child may also feel fear facing new situations. For instance, if your child is not used to being around a large group of people or being in a noisy place, you will notice that he/she will cling on to you for security.
- Shows affection to parents/caregivers
Your little one shows affection to those who are frequently with him/her. You may feel those sweet hugs and kisses from your little bub.
- Explores alone, with parent or caregiver close by
Your toddler already has the confidence to explore your house or study objects by himself with you or the caregiver nearby.
- Says few single words
At 18 months, you can expect your little one to know at least twelve simple words. Your child may know the words "Hi," "Bye," "Mommy," "Daddy," "Up," "Down," to name a few.
- Shakes head to say "No."
Your child already understands the meaning of No and knows how to express it.
- Responds when asked
You can already ask your child simple questions, and he/she will respond through actions or simple words. You can ask him/her simple questions or tell him/her to do simple commands.
- Makes speech-likes sounds or may sing along with to a song
Your toddler may try to mumble many words that sound like he/she is talking in phrases. He/she may also be humming or singing along to the tunes he/she hears.
- May repeat words he/she hears in conversations
You may hear your little one copy you or try to say the words he/she hears from a conversation. Your child may try to say 2 or 3 syllable words but often say the beginning or ending syllable.
- Walks by themselves
- Walks up the stairs
- Starts to run
- Squats to pick up toys
- Pull toys while walking
- Can drink from his cup
- Can feed using a spoon
- Can stack two to three blocks
- Create and maintain a loving and safe environment that your child can explore in.
- Continue with the established routine.
- Praise good behaviors.
- Help them understand their emotions by describing their feelings for them.
- Encourage imaginative or pretend play. Provide kitchen set, tent, mobile phone toy, dolls, etc.
- Read books. Describe the images using simple words.
- Encourage empathy.
- Copy your child's words.
- Use simple phrases when talking to your child.
- Asks simple questions.
- Encourage them to find objects you hidden.
- Provide educational toys and play with them.
- Provide blocks and puzzles to enhance problem solving skills.
- Provide toys that your child can push and pull safely to learn cause and effect.
- Playing ball is a good way to encourage throwing, catching and kicking which develops your child's gross motor skills.
- Encourage them to drink from a cup and use a spoon when eating.
- Play with bubbles together. Let your child pop the bubbles.
When to Talk to Your Doctor
While children vary in their development pace, talk to your doctor if you notice any delay or have any concerns about your child's progress. Here are some signals that your child may need additional support and intervention.
- Does not point to show things to others
- Cannot walk
- Does not know what common or familiar things are for
- Does not copy other people
- Does not learn new words
- Does not speak at least six words
- Does not look for parents or caregivers
- Loses skills he/she once had
We will share the development milestone and recommended activities for the 2-year-old toddler in our next blog post.
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