15 Month Old Baby Development Milestones

The best thing about the 15 month old baby development milestones is that it can be such a fun time, since your little toddler is busy learning to express himself better. Also, he understands more than he can say, you can often seem him get frustrated and throw tantrums.

In this article:

  1. Physical Development Milestones
  2. Cognitive Development Milestones
  3. Social & Emotional Development Milestones
  4. Language & Communication Milestones
  5. Sleep Milestones
  6. Eating & Feeding Milestones
  7. What You Can Do As Parents?
  8. Foundations for Discipline
  9. Baby Care for Your 15 Month Old
  10. When to Be Concerned?

Physical Development Milestones

  • Your toddler will be able to walk steady steps without stumbling and without help.
  • Will learn to start using his five senses (touch, smell, taste, sight and sound) and begin making connections among them.
  • The hand-to-mouth coordination will develop further, which helps him put food in his mouth without much spilling.
  • Will try helping himself to get dressed, like wearing his shoes for instance.
  • Since his fine motor skills are getting much better, you will see him carrying toys or dolls around (sometimes in both hands) and holding them by their limbs, clothes or hair.
  • Can pick up things from the floor without sitting. For instance, he will be able to walk, stop in the middle of the room, bend down and pick up an item and put it in a box or bring it to you.
  • Can climb up and down the furniture, sometimes without support.
  • Though he may not be able to actually throw an item, he will still try and may be drop it from his ear/shoulder level.
  • The first molars may start to emerge through his gums.

Cognitive Development Milestones

  • Your child will be able to understand more words than he can speak and will be able to use simple words, though not perfectly, such as ‘ball’, ‘dog’ and ‘cat’.
  • Can make a small two or three level tower with building blocks
  • Can hold a crayon and scribble.
  • Will try to imitate the activities he sees you perform, like mopping or cleaning the table.
  • Can open and close the lid of a container or even a pen.
  • Understands the dropping an object is not the same as throwing it.
  • Can turn pages of a book.
  • Will be able to follow simple commands.

Social & Emotional Development Milestones

  • Your little one can recognise people around him well and may therefore smile and wave at those who are familiar.
  • Enjoys the presence of and the company of babies and young kids.
  • Will demonstrate his affection with hugs and kisses.
  • Expresses empathy and can get sad, upset or even cry when he sees someone cry.

Language & Communication Milestones

  • Utters four to eight words other than ‘mama’ and ‘dada’.
  • Loves to hear and imitate animal and bird sounds.
  • Will often seek you out for help or assistance. For instance, if she’s unable to open a box to take something or put something in it, he will turn to you to get your attention or even bring it to you.
  • May say his own version of ‘words’, like ‘Ba’ for banana.
  • Will frequently use gestures along with sounds and/or words to indicate or ask for something.

Sleep Milestones

  • Your little one will sleep anywhere between 12 to 15 hours every day.
  • The number of naps may go down from 2 to one, lasting for about 2 hours.
  • This is a phase when he does get dreams, which you can make out from his REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. This could make him twitch or jerk his arms and legs due to the activity in his brain, which may also wake him up at night.
  • May not want to go to bed when it is time, as he doesn’t want to miss out being with ‘mama’ and ‘dada’.

Eating & Feeding Milestones

  • Will enjoy exploring a variety of foods. This is the right time to encourage him to have different foods, especially fruits and vegetables.
  • May sometimes become picky about eating and demand only for his favourite food.
  • Avoid giving him unhealthy snacks that have excessive sugar or oil, as this can become a habit and have an adverse impact in the near future.

What You Can Do As Parents?

  • Read lots of books to your little one. A good way to support him with his communication milestones is to read books repeatedly (in addition to new books). Repetition breeds familiarity and this helps him identify patterns and learn new words quickly.        
  • Encourage him to walk as much as possible, as it helps him balance better and walk without stumbling.
  • When it comes to large books and big pages, instead of turning the whole page, just lift the corner and encourage him to turn it. This improves his fine motor skills further.
  • If your little one is unable to open something (something safe), make sure you first teach him how to open it. Help only if he is unable to do it on his own.
  • Maintain a daily routine so that your toddler observes a pattern and knows what to expect across the day. This is an excellent strategy to minimise tantrums.
  • Always keep the bathroom door shut/latched and supervise him whenever he is close to water.
  • Distract him quickly whenever he throws tantrums by introducing him to an interesting activity, game or a toy (preferably in that order, as toys shouldn’t become the default go-to item for him to stop crying/throwing tantrum).

Foundations for Discipline

Fifteen months is an ideal time to start teaching discipline to your toddler. Always remember that discipline is far more about teaching and guiding, and less about reprimanding. During the coming months, your little one will be discovering his developmental boundaries and will also be testing his physical limits. This can often result in your patience being tested.

These are times when you need to stay calm and cool and never go harsh on him. With a little love and care, explain to him clearly, but firmly, about what is acceptable and what is not. Doing this on a consistent basis over the next 24 to 48 months can lay the foundation on which he can build his discipline for the rest of his life.

For this to work well, it is important that both you and your spouse are on the same page about what acceptable behaviour is, what is not, and where the boundaries lie. This would call for both of you to have a crucial conversation to clarify and decide on the approach you will be taking together.

Baby Care for Your 15 Month Old

  • Feed different textured food to your toddler so that he can learn to use his molars and chew his food well.
  • Create a routine before bedtime and start regularising the same so that your baby can fall asleep at the same time every day. Wind things up before his bed time like switching off TVs and gadgets with screens. You may choose to include a soothing warm water bath before bedtime.
  • Make sure you monitor him closely when he’s scribbling with pens and crayons, as 15 month old toddlers still put things in their mouth.
  • While travelling, especially long distances, have a separate baby seat for your child where he can be strapped in securely. Never leave your toddler alone in the back seat.
  • Take efforts to keep your toddler engaged through the day with small activities, games and toys, especially in the evening. This will make him tired and help him fall asleep easily at night.
  • Always keep cool when he throws tantrums.

When to Be Concerned?

  • If your toddler is not eating enough or not eating at all.
  • Doesn’t express himself either through gestures or with his voice.
  • Is not enjoying or is not interested being in the company of other kids.
  • Doesn’t smile or never shows the need to get hugged.

Baby milestones during each month are all interconnected. For instance, feeding him and making him go to bed at the same time will make his day more predictable for him.

This can help keep him engaged and play throughout the day will less frustration and tantrum. Most of all, this makes your day predictable too, with far less anxiety and stress for you to deal with. Life is in the details.

Note: Each baby is different and therefore tends to grow at a different pace. Chances are that your little one may have crossed certain milestones already, or is probably a little behind on a few others, which is normal. If you still feel there is something of concern, do speak to your paediatrician/registered professional child healthcare provider.