20 Month Old Baby Development Milestones

At 20 months, your little one will depend less on sounds and gestures to communicate, as she has added more words to her vocabulary. Here are the 20 month old baby development milestones you should expect in your toddler.

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. 20 Month Old Toddler Behaviour
  7. Baby Care for Your 20 Month Old

Physical Development Milestones

  • Will climb on furniture or any stable object or platform.
  • Walks well and seldom trips or falls.
  • Can run on flat surfaces without tripping or falling.
  • Without showing how, she may be able to kick a ball with forward leg motion or walk to the ball with the intention of kicking it.
  • Can walk down the stairs when held by her hand. She may climb down the stairs on her own by holding the rails or the wall. She may also be able to climb up 2 or 3 stairs without holding anything.
  • Since her fine motor skills are developing fast, she will show more interest in drawing and doodling.
  • Can turn the pages of a book by herself (sometimes more than one at a time).
  • Will be able to perform a turning motion with her fingers and wrist to unscrew a lid, open the door knob or wind up a toy.
  • Can drink from a glass with little or no spilling.

Cognitive Development Milestones

  • Can stack 3 or more blocks one on top of another.
  • Without being shown how, can scribble with a marker or a pen.
  • If you give her a spoon or pen upside down, she will flip it and hold the right side up to use it.
  • Will try to imitate things you say which she finds interesting.
  • When shown how to, she can line up toys or objects next to each other.
  • If unable to reach something, she may try to find things around her that can be used like a tool to fetch it.

Social & Emotional Development Milestones

  • Will copy your actions like blinking of the eyes, holding the chin or tapping the nose.
  • Your little one will be very curious about everyday tasks you do and may want to join and help you.
  • May exhibit assertive or dominative behaviour now and then, sometimes throwing tantrums at the drop of a hat.
  • If she wants to show you something, will try to pull your hand or clothes to get your attention.
  • Will copy some of your actions like sweeping, brushing of hair, wiping the mouth, mopping the floor or cleaning the table.
  • When playing with a stuffed toy (like a baby or animal), she may try to rock it, feed it, change its clothes or put it to bed.
  • Though she might spill a little, she can eat with a (baby) fork too.

Language & Communication Milestones

  • Will imitate 2-word sentences by you, like “take it”, “go up”, “stand up”, etc.
  • Can say 8 to 10 words other than ‘mama’ and ‘dada’, which includes animal words and words that are uttered partially but said with intent.
  • When asked and without being shown how, she may point out to the correct pictures in a book (of animals, birds, etc.).
  • Can understand short instructions and perform them correctly, like “hold my hand”, “bring the ball” or “get your shoes”, etc.
  • May be able to say 2 or 3 words representing different ideas, like “more banana”, “ball gone”, “go out”, etc.

What You Can Do As Parents?

  • If you don’t have stairs at home, you could help your child practice at the local park, neighbourhood store or a mall.
  • If a family member sets a bad example and your baby copies that behaviour, never hesitate to dissuade the person from repeating it again. Tell that person clearly that children learn what they see, and should therefore be conscious about how to behave in front of your child.
  • Ensure that she is fed on time and doesn’t skip any meals.
  • Establish a proper bedtime routine and make sure other daily routines of her like playtime, going to day care, visiting the park, etc. are in place.
  • Never miss out praising your toddler to reinforce positive behaviours and tactfully tone down and/or ignore negative ones. Remember that ignoring is a highly tactful and powerful behaviour that can be honed well over time.

20 Month Old Toddler Behaviour

While it is important that your child behaves in a disciplined manner, never get too obsessed or anxious about the temper tantrums she may display now and then, which is normal for a toddler.

You can do away with your anxiety if you look at discipline not from the point of making your child do what you want her to do, but rather from teaching her what acceptable behaviour is and where her boundaries lie. This is an effective way not only to set expectations, but to also lay the foundations to help her grow into a responsible and independent person.

Try replacing commands or instructions with normal yet healthy conversations, and you will find her respond to you amicably rather than reacting impulsively, at least in most if not all situations.

For instance, if it’s time for her afternoon nap but if she wants to go out, instead of saying “No, you’re not going out now. It’s time for your nap“, you may choose to say “Come let us first read a nice book together, take a nap and then go outside later.

While it is indeed necessary to establish norms for behaving well, it is also important that you keep them as few and as simple as possible. After all, your child is still only a toddler and there is only so much she can remember.

Even when she’s doing something that’s not acceptable, make it a point to assure her that you still love her and that she means so much to you. For instance, if she did something once again that could’ve harmed her, you may say “I already told you not to do that. Remember?” and then gently reassure her by saying “Please do not do it again. I love you”. It’s that simple.

Baby Care for Your 20 Month Old

  • It’s absolutely fine to be subtly animated while interacting with your toddler, especially while reading a book, so that he can learn how to talk and pronounce words properly.
  • Do not be surprised if your child asks for cuddles and hugs all of a sudden, which is normal.
  • Be sure you interact with her giving adequate attention. From her perspective, getting your attention means 3 things: (a) she is important to you (b) you care for her and (c) you love her.
  • Read books to her that carry pictures of vegetables, fruits and grains. When she is eating, show the picture of the vegetable or fruit she is eating from the book. By teaching her about food and nutrition at an early age, you are laying the foundations for her develop healthy eating habits and grow into a healthy adult.
  • Allow her to practice turning her wrists as much as possible. Let her turn the door knob, twist and open a pen cap or a water bottle. Alternatively, you may give her toys that needs winding to function or give her 2 or 3 empty bottles and ask her to close or open the cap.
  • Teach your little one to play games both indoors and outdoors. Playing outdoors can further stimulate her brain (than indoors) and can give her new experiences that foster better cognitive and emotional development.
  • This is the ideal time to introduce her to potty training.

By now, you should be well aware that every toddler is unique in his or her own way. The key is to be positive, practice patience and calm on an ongoing basis (as it takes work), and give your child ample time, attention, love and nourishment.

Most of all, make sure you enjoy this journey and make the most of it. These are times that not only happen too fast, they will never come back. Looking back, you’ll feel it went in a blink!

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.