16 Month Old Baby Development Milestones

Watching the 16 month old baby development milestones your toddler will achieve can be an extremely satisfying and captivating process to say the least.

The fact that she won’t be growing as rapidly as she did during the first 12 months (but growing fast nevertheless) gives you that little additional space and time to better cherish her growth under your caring and watchful eyes.

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. 16 Month Old Toddler Behaviour
  9. Baby Care for Your 16 Month Old
  10. When to Be Concerned?

Physical Development Milestones

  • Your toddler will always walk and seldom crawls or falls.
  • Can stand from the floor independently and take several steps forward confidently.
  • Will put her fine motor skills to use into almost everything. She will try opening and exploring drawers and cabinets to see what is in them and how they work.
  • Will be able to climb furniture or large stable blocks/platforms and may sometimes use them to reach things.
  • Can bend over while standing, squat, pickup an object and stand again without support.
  • Can turn the pages of a book fully from one side to another.
  • May be able to throw a small ball with a forward motion of her arm.

Cognitive Development Milestones

  • If she’s done something which she’s not sure if it is okay, she will observe you closely and wait to know if your reaction is going to be praise or reprimand.
  • Behaves independently and enjoys being in and taking control of her situations.
  • May be able to stack two or three blocks.
  • Can use a stick or similar object as a tool and get objects/toys that are out of her reach.
  • May scribble when given a paper and a crayon, even if you haven’t shown her how to.

Social & Emotional Development Milestones

  • Your child will be highly expressive with her emotions.
  • Will always try to find ways to succeed, all by herself. Having said, she sees you as an extension of herself and will seek for your assistance or support as and when required.
  • May try to dress up herself, like wearing a sock, shoe or a hat.
  • May push a chair inside the kitchen to sit or to keep it next to you, stand on it and see what you’re doing at the countertop.

Language & Communication Milestones

  • Your toddler will be able to speak 4 to 8 words apart from ‘mama’ and ‘dada’.
  • Will rely mostly on non-verbal communication but can understand 5 to 6 times the number of words she can speak.
  • Will point at and pat on pictures in a book.
  • If she wants to have something and needs your permission, she’ll pat on it and look at you.
  • Can follow and respond to simple instructions. For instance, if you tell her “Bring your ball”, she will go fetch it and bring it to you.
  • May copy the way you scribble on a paper and imitate it.
  • If you show her how to, she can pick up her toys from the floor and drop them into a box or container.
  • If she doesn’t get your attention from a distance, she will make loud noises or even come and pull your hand or clothes to get it.

Sleep Milestones

  • Your child will require lesser time to sleep during the day.
  • Will give up her morning nap and settle down only for a mid-day or afternoon nap lasting for about 2 hours.

Eating & Feeding Milestones

First things first, food preferences usually get formed and set early in life. It therefore becomes critical to guide your child to develop tastes and preferences for healthy and nutritious food pretty early.

  • Though she may spill a little, she can feed herself with a spoon. This is the right time to give her the opportunity and space to practice feeding herself, so that she gets better.
  • Since your toddler has a small tummy, giving her meals containing small portions at regular intervals could work well for her (check with your pediatrician).
  • Strictly avoid foods that contain sugar or sugar substitutes like fructose or sucrose. There are more than a dozen substitutes for sugar that are found in packaged foods. Check the label on the packaging for ingredients that ends with the letters ‘ose’. It will almost certainly be a substitute for sugar.
  • Also avoid foods that are empty in calories (little or no nutritional value).

What You Can Do As Parents?

  • Look out for signs of hunger, tiredness and sleepiness in your little one. Often, these are hidden reasons that lead to tantrums.
  • Try talking to your toddler slowly and clearly using short sentences. This can help her understand and comprehend the words better and learn faster.
  • Stick to a daily routine and try putting her to bed consistently at the same time. This not only makes her aware of what to expect across a day, it also helps minimize tantrums.
  • Make sure that she gets food containing daily dose of all nutrients her body needs.
  • Read lots of books to her, even repeatedly, as it helps her identify patterns and learn new words faster.       
  • Encourage her to walk, especially barefoot, as it develops her balance.
  • Always keep the bathroom door shut/latched and watch over her whenever she is close to water.
  • Keep practicing and hone your skills to distract her in an instant whenever she throws tantrums.

16 Month Old Toddler Behaviour

Children always want to have it their way and anything going against them can easily upset and frustrate them.

Temper tantrums can happen even to some of the best behaved toddlers and it usually peaks when they are around 2 years old. But they are fairly simple to handle, provided you take the effort to know the triggers.

If you were to take all the instances your child threw tantrums, in at least half the instances, there will be only 3 reasons for the triggers:

  1. She is tired.
  2. She is sleepy.
  3. She is hungry.

For the remaining half of the instances, you can find the triggers with a little effort.

For instance, children usually have a meltdown at the toy aisle/section of the supermarket/super stores. So the next time round when you’re visiting a supermarket, all you need to do is to make sure you completely avoid the toy section. If you’re going to a new store, just ask the assistant where the section is, and you know what to do.

Over time, if you are observant enough, you will be able to find a pattern to the triggers, the actual situations that created them and how to minimize those triggers arising again in the future.

Baby Care for Your 16 Month Old

  • Keep medicines and cleaning liquids/solutions (any chemicals) completely out of your child’s reach.
  • Keep a watchful eye on her whenever she is in the kitchen.
  • Try to use only the backburners as much as possible while cooking. Also, keep the handles of the pan away from you (towards the wall/to farther end).
  • Toddlers don’t have an understanding about what might hurt or harm them. It is therefore important that you’re conscious about never letting your child wander out of your sight.
  • This is a good time to introduce your child to washing her hands before eating and brushing twice a day.
  • If you haven’t child-proofed your house already, it is high time.
  • Give her the space and time, and allow her to just calm down after a temper tantrum. Over time, it can help her manage herself and bring her emotions under control.

When to Be Concerned?

  • Doesn’t try to climb furniture.
  • Is not enjoying the company of other kids.
  • Almost never hugs or doesn’t show the need to be hugged.
  • Is unable to eat with her fingers or hold a spoon.
  • Not eating enough or not eating at all.
  • Doesn’t express herself with her voice or through gestures.
  • Still crawls most of the time.

Parenting your 16 month old toddler who keeps you on your toes all day can indeed be challenging. But it is during this challenging phase you are laying the foundations for your child to grow not just physically, but also socially and emotionally.

It will all be more than worth it in the end, as she will be growing and thriving on those solid foundations you had built for her.

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.