18 Month Old Baby Development Milestones

At 18 months, your child is well into her toddler phase, growing and changing in so many ways. Let’s have a look at the 18 month old baby development milestones you should expect in your child.

In this article:

  1. Physical Development Milestones
  2. Cognitive Development Milestones
  3. Social & Emotional Development Milestones
  4. Language & Communication Milestones
  5. What You Can Do As Parents?
  6. 18 Month Old Toddler Behaviour
  7. Baby Care for Your 18 Month Old
  8. When to Be Concerned?

Physical Development Milestones

  • Walks confidently, independently and is seldom wobbly while walking.
  • Loves to climb stairs.
  • Will try climbing up and down the stairs.
  • Can eat with her fingers and is adept at using a spoon, as she can turn her wrists better.
  • Climbs on and off furniture and may do so to get things that are out of her reach.
  • Likes to push, pull and throw things around her and is busy moving all the time.
  • If given a new toy, will try to figure out how to play with it or make it work.
  • Is capable of performing fine movements with her fingers and hands, like turning knobs left or right, opening and closing taps, etc.

Cognitive Development Milestones

  • Your toddler can identify objects, animals and even actions in a picture book.
  • Will try to match objects in a book with those at home and outside.
  • Closely observes and copies things you do.
  • Remembers where her toys are usually kept, including those places where you sometimes hide them while playing.
  • Can follow simple instructions like, “Give me your ball“.
  • Loves playing simple puzzles.
  • May be able to stack 2 to 3 or sometimes even 4 large blocks.

Social & Emotional Development Milestones

  • Looks at you with the intent to gain your attention and points at pictures in a book.
  • Can sometimes get anxious when separated from you or even when you are in another room.
  • May throw tantrums when upset, angry or anxious.
  • Gets frustrated only if she’s unable to do something, is restricted from doing something, or is feeling helpless.
  • Laughs, giggles and claps when she sees something fun or exciting.
  • Will try getting your attention when she sees something fun or exciting.
  • Even if she is engaged in an activity, will often check to ensure that you are around her.
  • When with other children, will often compete and try taking possession of a toy she likes.
  • Enjoys dresses herself up wearing a hat, socks or shoes.

Language & Communication Milestones

  • Learns new words almost every day.
  • Though sometimes mispronounced, can speak 5 to 10 words apart from ‘mama’ and ‘dada’.
  • Understands up to 8 times the number of words she can speak.
  • Most words she uses are names of people, toys or pets.
  • Will understand and respond to one-word verbal commands.
  • May convey something by saying two words together to form a sentence. For instance, she might say “Go out” if she wants to go outside and play.
  • May say “Hi” and “Bye Bye” with some prompting.
  • Understands instructions like “Put the ball in the box.
  • If she wants an object, she will first try to get your attention, point and look at it, and then look at you again to get your approval.
  • Will try echoing some simple words you say.

What You Can Do As Parents?

  • Whenever she is frustrated or overwhelmed, just help her take a break by giving her a change of place and involve her in a new activity.
  • Make sure you supervise or assist her when she’s on the stairs, especially when she is climbing down.
  • Children learn what they see. So, remain calm even when your toddler is going crazy, as you are the one from whom she will be learning her first lessons on self-control.
  • If she pulls away from you, try ignoring her behaviour and let her go. If she finds you giving her (undue) attention and getting sad or vulnerable, she’s only going to repeat it too often.
  • Give your child a lot of room to move about and provide her with safe and interesting things to explore.
  • Expand your baby’s words and sentences by doing simple things. For instance, when she says: “More milk”, you can ask, “Do you want some more milk?
  • After reading a story from her book, ask her questions about the pictures and few aspects about the story.
  • Introducing her to potty training during this month is an ideal time to start. However, never push her to adopt it immediately.

18 Month Old Toddler Behaviour

As your child is still limited in the way she can use her words, an outburst of emotion is common, as it is one of her ways to communicate frustration or helplessness. Don’t worry too much about it.

Teaching discipline for a toddler is less about reprimanding and more about teaching and guiding to behave in an acceptable manner.

She might sometimes throw objects or repeatedly bang on something when she is frustrated. These are situations when you are expected to ignore her, stay calm and ensure you never go harsh on her.

Be patient and just let the moment pass, first. After a while, with a little love and care, explain to her clearly but very firmly; that her behaviour during temper tantrums are not acceptable.

Remember that it is critical you have the conversation with her well after the tantrum moment has passed, say 30 minutes or an hour. Of course you will not see a change in her behaviour overnight. However, when told on a consistent basis, it enables her to understand slowly and prepare her to behavior better in due course.

Last but never the least, it is critical that both you and your spouse are on the same page about what your toddler’s acceptable behaviour is and what is not. This requires both of you to have a discussion, clarify and decide on the approach you will be adopting to handle your toddler – together.

Baby Care for Your 18 Month Old Toddler

  • Make a sleep schedule for her and stick to it. It helps her know what time every day she is expected go to bed and be prepared for it.
  • Ensure you include all foods in your baby’s daily diet plan that provides her with the daily dose of nutrition she needs.
  • Keep hot drinks and hot food out of your child’s reach.
  • You can make child-proofing your home fool-proof by looking at your home from your little one’s point of view (from her eye level), and understand what could be dangerous to her or potentially harm her.
  • Always make it a point to appreciate her whenever she gets something done or does something right.
  • Try saying “That’s so good. Thank you dear.” whenever she hugs you out of affection.
  • Distract her by smiling and hugging whenever she is frustrated and try telling her “It is okay” or “Everything is alright”. It can potentially ease the situation a bit.
  • Your smile is more powerful than you can imagine, especially from your toddler’s perspective, as it can have a calming and soothing impact on her.
  • Make her walk barefoot as much as possible, as it helps her gain better balance and strengthens her leg muscles. Let her wear shoes only when she steps out of the house.
  • Do not miss any of her check-ups with the doctor and get all his vaccinations done on time.
  • Always be watchful when she is around pets, as she is too young to know how to behave with animals.

When to Be Concerned?

  • Unable to walk or climb stairs even when holding another person’s hand.
  • Is yet to speak even 4 or 5 words.
  • Not pointing to show things.
  • Doesn’t show adequate interest in playing with her toys or exploring things around her.

This phase of development and growth may sometimes be kind of a confusing time for your toddler, as from her perspective, she is ready to take care of herself but she often finds she doesn’t get to do things her way. This is where your intervention in the form of understanding, care and communication becomes key, so that your little one can have a smooth sail through this important phase.

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.