18-Month-Old Baby's Milestones Chart And Development Tips

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An 18-month-old isn’t a baby anymore. Rather, they are toddlers who can say several words, scribble on their own, walk alone, eat with a spoon, and drink with a cup. There are several such 18-month-old-baby milestones that a baby achieves at their age, thus preparing them to grow and develop healthily and enter childhood.

Here, we give you a list of physical, socio-emotional, language and communication, and cognitive developmental milestones that an 18-month-old achieves and provide you with tips on helping your toddler achieve these milestones smoothly. Read on.

18-Month-Old’s Milestone Chart

ACHIEVED DEVELOPMENTAL MILESTONESEMERGING DEVELOPMENTAL MILESTONES
Remembers names of a few objectsWill remember names of several objects and familiar people
Walks aloneCan walk tiptoe and also run
Throws temper tantrumWill show defiant behavior
Starts having pretend playWill spend a lot of time with imaginative play
Loves social play with familiar facesWill accommodate new individuals
May walk up a few stairsCan climb over small and short furniture
Speaks single wordsCan string words together to form simple sentences
Follows one-step instructionsCan follow two or even three-step instructions
Throws balls albeit randomlyCan throw ball overhand and with more precision
Scribbles randomlyCan draw straight lines and circles

An 18-Month-Old’s Developmental Milestones

A baby displays development in three primary areas – cognitive, physical, and social, and emotional. Each developmental area has its individual developmental milestone checklist.

Cognitive Developmental Milestones

These are milestones about an 18-month-old’s cognitive abilities, brain development, and thinking prowess.

      • Remembers the purpose of several objects: The little one now understands the functions of several household objects. For instance, the baby knows that a telephone is for talking. When you hand them a spoon while eating, they know that it is used to feed themselves.
      • Matches pair of objects: Identical toys will be placed together, and they will always carry their shoes in pairs. The toddler remembers that two identical objects form a pair (1).
      • Follows one-step commands: When told to ‘sit down’ the baby sits, when said ‘come here’ they get up and walk towards you. The baby can now interpret instructions and respond promptly to them.
      • Knows the name of objects or parts of the body: When asked to point to their nose, the baby points correctly to the body part. They can also identify a particular object among several items. A good object-noun association helps facilitate this ability.
      • May imitate complex actions: An 18-month-old will imitate chopping a vegetable if they see their mom cooking or pretend to shave when they see their dad shaving. The baby keenly observes actions and imitates them often.
      • Points at something that he wants: If they want you to fetch their toy from the shelf, then they will point towards the toy. Babies now know that pointing at something indicates an explicit interest.
      • Scribbles when handed a crayon: The 18-month-old scribbles and attempts to draw on paper when given a crayon. They cannot make meaningful drawings yet scribbles quite ardently (2).
      • Displays interest in toys and pretend plays: The baby picks up a stuffed animal and caresses it with care or pretends to talk to it. This form of pretend play leads to richer imaginative play later in life.

Physical Development Milestones

Baby lets go of support, 18 month baby milestones

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These milestones are about a baby’s physical growth, motor skills, and general muscular abilities.

      • Walks alone without support: For the first time, the baby lets go of support and walks alone correctly (3). There is a better body balance with the strength to enable this significant landmark. Since the baby can ‘toddle’, which is walking with a slight wobble, they are also called a toddler.
      • Pulls toys while walking: They do not just walk but also pull stringed toys, such as a toy car while walking.
      • May run and walk up the steps with support: Some toddlers may even run albeit in short bursts or at a slow pace. The little one may also walk up and down the stairs using the support of the handrails. Stronger leg muscles can facilitate this milestone.
      • Can throw a ball: The aim could be incorrect, but at least they know how to throw a ball. Better musculature and increased strength of the shoulders help to do this action.
      • Can help undress: The 18-month-old can help dress or undress themselves.
      • Drinks from the cup and eats with a spoon: The 18-month-old puts aside the sipper to drink from an open cup instead. They will also be able to hold a spoon properly and guide it to their mouth.
      • Will have at least ten teeth: The ten teeth will be the lower and upper central incisors, lower and upper lateral incisors, and the lower first molars. Some babies may even have the upper first molars by 18 months, and then the total teeth count will be 12 (4) (5).

Social And Emotional Developmental Milestones

Engages in social play

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These are milestones about the baby’s social skills, emotional temperament, and the ability to use language.

      • Throws temper tantrums: Behold the first temper tantrums! The baby got fussy earlier, but this time it is a real tantrum. For instance, if earlier you took away a toy from them, they would cry and act fussy. But now, they will pretend to cry loudly, roll down on the floor, and even throw their hands up in the air.
      • May respond to a greeting with “Hi”: A toddler may pick up some greetings from parents or caretakers. As a result, the next time you say “Hi”, you may get an enthusiastic “Hi” back.
      • Laughs in response to someone laughing: During a social gathering, when everyone laughs, the 18-month-old joins the roar. There is now an understanding that laughing is essential for social bonding, and the 18-month-old will practice it often.
      • Gets nervous around strangers: When around new faces, the baby may seem a bit nervous and wary of their presence. If the stranger attempts to come close or touch the baby, they may start crying.
      • May become clingy to parents in new situations: The 18-month-old will cling to their parents when visiting a new place, when around unknown faces, or when they are just unsure of what is happening.
      • Displays affection to familiar people: Those close to the baby will be rewarded with adorable hugs and smiles. The toddler would display ardent fondness, especially to the primary caretakers and siblings.
      • Has social play: The 18-month-old will be happy to play with close ones such as siblings and grandparents.
      • Can speak some single words: The toddler now knows about 10-20 single words that help communicate their feelings or thoughts. These words would be basic, and the pronunciation would be gibberish, but still, the baby makes a discernible sound of the word.
      • Shakes head from side to side to say “No”: The baby moves their head from side to side to convey “No.” Therefore, when you ask them if they want a bottle and if they are not hungry, they will shake their head from side to side.

Each baby is unique and may develop at a pace different from his peers. However, some red flags are definite indicators of delay.

When To Be Concerned?

Take your baby to the doctor if they do not walk

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According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the following could be the signs of developmental delay in an 18-month-old’s growth.

      • Does not walk
      • Does not point at objects or persons of interest
      • Makes no effort to imitate actions
      • Does not seem to recognize and recollect familiar objects and people
      • Knows less than six words
      • Does not seem to acknowledge the presence of a stranger.
      • Loses skills they once had

Take your baby to a doctor right away if they show any of the above signs. The American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) recommends screening a baby for developmental delays, including autistic spectrum disorders, at the age of 18 months (6) (7). However, if the baby does not have any disorders, then parents can ensure that their 18-month-old grows the healthy way.

How Can Parents Help In The Development Of An 18-Month-Old?

Have meaningful conversations, 18 month baby milestones

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Here are five tips to help your baby grow better:

      • Give adequate opportunities to walk: Your baby now likes to stand on their feet and walk rather than crawl. You could indulge in activities or games that encourage them to walk.
      • Have meaningful conversations: Babies understand “No” and also several other single words. Keep your conversations purposeful and cut down on baby talk. Ask the baby questions, give them options such as “Yes” or “No.” This will help hone the communication skills of an 18-month-old.
      • Set some rules: Remember, the toddler’s temper tantrums would greet you often around this time. So, set some rules. For instance, no play and straight to bed after 8pm and no high-sugar candies, but can have some extra fruit. Rules help set order and mitigate the chances of a stormy tantrum.
      • Social play is important: Interaction with other toddlers and family members helps baby learn to forge social bonds. Therefore, social play is crucial.
      • Let the baby be independent: The 18-month-old will love to eat on their own, drink water from the cup, and perhaps tie their shoelaces once they see you do it. They may not always get it right, but it is good to let the baby give a try at these things while you keep a watch.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What skills should an 18-month-old have?

An 18-month-old should be able to walk without holding, drink from a cup, and eat themself. They can copy what you are doing and play simple games. They can point at something with their hands and show their hands to wash them. They may also begin to say a few words (2).

2. Is babbling normal at 18 months?

An 18-month-old can babble and say a few words in between. The babbling reduces gradually as the baby learns words. Usually, babies begin to learn one or two words per week. However, a few can be fast learners and learn a word daily (8).

3. How do I know if my 18-month-old has autism?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends screening for signs of autism from 18 to 24 months. However, the diagnosis of autism is only made after four to five years of age. Babies with autism can significantly delay age-appropriate social, cognitive, and skills development. They may have noticeable and repetitive movements such as knocking, rolling over, or spinning. Avoiding eye contact can also be an early sign of autism (9).

4. How many words should an 18-month-old have?

According to the US Centers For Disease Control Prevention (CDC), an 18-month-old begins to say three or more words other than “mama” or “dada”. They can also follow simple instructions without gestures (2).

Walking and using basic words are major 18-month-old baby milestones. However, each baby achieves these growth landmarks at a different pace depending on the stimulation and motivation they have from their surroundings. Do not force your little one to achieve any milestone. Instead, allow them to grow at their own pace by exploring and comprehending the world around them. Love, care, and encouragement could stimulate achieving milestones in babies. You may ignore slight delays but seek pediatric consultation if your baby has clear signs of delay in developmental milestones.

Have any activities to aid the development of an 18-year-old? Then share them with other parents in the comments section below.

Infographic: Tips For An 18-Months-Old’s Safety

An 18-month-old has increased mobility and dexterity, but their sense of safety is not developed as much. Save this infographic to learn the important tips to ensure your 18-month-old baby’s safety.

how to ensure your curious and wobbly 18 month old safety [infographic]
Illustration: MomJunction Design Team

References:

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
1. Your Child’s Development: 1.5 Years (18 Months); Kids Health (2016)
2. Important Milestones: Your Child By Eighteen Months; Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (2017)
3. Your Child at 18 Months; Centers For Disease Control And Prevention
4. Teeth development in children; Better Health; Victoria State Government
5. Eruption Charts; American Dental Association
6. Developmental Monitoring and Screening for Health Professionals; Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (2018)
7. L. Zwaigenbaum, M.L. Bauman, et al., Early Screening of Autism Spectrum Disorder:Recommendations for Practice and Research; American Academy of Pediatrics
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Rohit Garoo

Rohit Garoo did MBA from Osmania University and holds a certificate in Developmental Psychology from The University of Queensland. The zoologist-botanist turned writer-editor has over 8 years of experience in content writing, content marketing, and copywriting. He has also done an MBA in marketing and human resources and worked in the domains of market research and e-commerce. Rohit writes topics...
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Dr. Fadel Husrom

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Dr. Fadel Husrom is an Arab Board licensed pediatrician in the UAE. He possesses a degree in Pediatrics and master degree in Pediatric Cardiology from Damascus University. He has more than 10 years professional experience in Pediatric and Pediatric Cardiology disciplines. Dr. Husrom is also affiliated with the American Heart Association as a PALS instructor in Zulekha hospital advanced life...
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