The typical 18-month-old child will demonstrate certain physical and mental skills. These skills are called developmental milestones.

Information

All children develop a little differently. If you are concerned about your child’s development, talk to your child’s health care provider.

PHYSICAL AND MOTOR SKILL MARKERS

The typical 18-month-old:

  • Has a closed soft spot on the front of the head
  • Is growing at a slower rate and has less of an appetite compared to the months before
  • Is able to control the muscles used to urinate and have bowel movements, but may not be ready to use the toilet
  • Runs stiffly and falls often
  • Is able to get onto small chairs without help
  • Walks up stairs while holding on with one hand
  • Can build a tower of 2 to 4 blocks
  • Can use a spoon and cup with help to feed self
  • Imitates scribbling
  • Can turn 2 or 3 pages of a book at a time
  • SENSORY AND COGNITIVE MARKERS

    The typical 18-month-old:

  • Shows affection
  • Has separation anxiety
  • Listens to a story or looks at pictures
  • Can say 10 or more words when asked
  • Kisses parents with lips puckered
  • Identifies one or more parts of the body
  • Understands and is able to point to and identify common objects
  • Often imitates
  • Is able to take off some clothing items, such as gloves, hats, and socks
  • Begins to feel a sense of ownership, identifying people and objects by saying “my”
  • PLAY RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Encourage and provide the necessary space for physical activity.
  • Provide safe copies of adult tools and equipment for the child to play with.
  • Allow the child to help around the house and participate in the family’s daily responsibilities.
  • Encourage play that involves building and creativity.
  • Read to the child.
  • Encourage play dates with children of the same age.
  • Avoid television and other screen time before age 2.
  • Play simple games together, such as puzzles and shape sorting.
  • Use a transitional object to help with separation anxiety.
  • Alternative Names

    Growth milestones for children – 18 months; Normal childhood growth milestones – 18 months; Childhood growth milestones – 18 months; Well child – 18 months

    References

    American Academy of Pediatrics. Recommendations for preventive pediatric health care. Updated October 2015. www.aap.org/en-us/Documents/periodicity_schedule.pdf. Accessed January 12, 2017.

    Feigelman S. The second year. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St. Geme JW, Schor NF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 11.

    Marcdante KJ, Kliegman RM. Normal development. In: Marcdante KJ, Kliegman RM, eds. Nelson Essentials of Pediatrics. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 7.