18-Month Milestones: Your Baby's Development At 18 Months
Time sure flies! And now your baby is a curious toddler. Now, they’re becoming more independent and exploring the world around them. To help you prepare for this next stage in your child's development, let's discuss some critical 18-month milestones they will soon master.
Table Of Contents
- What Are Milestones?
- Important 18-Month Milestones To Watch For
- How To Help Your Toddler Reach Milestones
- Red Flags Concerning 18-Month Milestones
What Are Milestones?
Your child will reach several developmental milestones during their first five years. These milestones are physical, mental, and emotional markers that show how your child is growing and maturing.
You and your child's doctors can use these milestones to track their development and identify any potential delays.
But don’t worry if your child isn’t doing everything on this list. Most babies reach milestones within a few weeks or even months. This means you may see some of these skills a bit earlier or later.
Important 18-Month Milestones To Watch For
Now that you know what milestones are, let's take a closer look at some of the key ones your toddler will likely achieve in the coming weeks.
When your child was first born, their communication skills were limited. They could cry and coo but couldn’t yet say words. Then, between one and one and a half, their speech skills started progressing by leaps and bounds!
Here are some vital 18-month milestones you may notice:
Follows Basic Directions
By 18 months, your toddler should be able to follow simple commands, like “Come here” or “Point to your pajamas.” However, they may still use non-verbal communication skills to respond to you.
Says At Least Three Words
The majority of children at this age can say at least a few words. And by the time they celebrate their second birthday, most can say around 50 words and string two words together into a sentence. This means your child's vocabulary will be exploding in the coming months.
Understands Simple Questions
You may be surprised by how much your 18 month old understands as well. For example, they can probably comprehend simple questions like, “Where’s your nose?” or, “Do you want more milk?”
But, as we touched on above, they may not yet be able to respond in words. Instead, they may point, grunt, or use body language to answer your questions.
Gross Motor Skills
Your toddler's speech isn't the only area that's developing rapidly. Their gross motor skills are also advancing quickly.
Gross motor skills involve the large muscles in your child's arms, legs, and trunk. These skills allow your child to sit up, stand, walk, run, and jump.
At 18 months, you can expect to see the following gross motor milestones:
Most 18-month-olds can walk without help. They may still be wobbly, but they can usually make it across a room without falling.
Climbs Up And Down From A Chair
Your toddler will soon be able to independently get in and out of a chair. Typically, they'll use their arms to pull themselves up and their legs to lower themselves back down.
This is a significant milestone because it shows that your child is gaining strength and coordination. But it also means they'll be able to reach much more. If you still need to baby-proof your home, now's the time!
Attempts To Climb Stairs
At 18 months, your toddler may also be ready to tackle the stairs. Be sure to supervise them closely when they’re near any steps.
Keep in mind that going up steps is easier than coming back down, and your toddler may need help with their descent. They may also turn around and go down backward, feet first. This position can keep your child safe by preventing falls.
Pro tip: Keep Mustela Arnica Gel on hand for those accidents that are bound to happen! Designed to soothe boo-boos on babies and kids nine months old and up, our Arnica Gel provides a moisturizing and refreshing effect.
Fine Motor Skills
In addition to gross motor skills, your child is also developing fine motor skills. These involve the smaller muscles in their hands, wrists, and fingers and help with tasks like grasping a toy, taking off a lid, or turning a doorknob.
Here are some of the fine motor milestones your 18 month old may reach:
When you hand your toddler a crayon or pencil, what do they do? Typically, at this age, they'll start to make scribbling motions. This is an important milestone because it shows they're gaining control over the muscles in their hands.
At first, their scribbles may be large and uncoordinated. But with practice, they'll start making smaller, more precise strokes.
Stacks A Few Blocks
Stacking blocks is another excellent way to boost your child's fine motor skills. It can also help with their hand-eye coordination.
At 18 months, your toddler may be able to stack three or four blocks on top of each other. You may also notice them holding a block in each hand and clapping them together. While this can be noisy, it shows that they’re developing coordination between both sides of their body.
Tries To Use A Spoon
If you give your 18-month-old a spoon and some food, they may try to feed themselves. But instead of scooping the food up as you would, they might use one hand to pick up the food and plop it onto the spoon before putting it in their mouth.
As you probably already know, this milestone can be messy. So be patient as your child learns how to use a spoon correctly. And remember to keep some Cleansing Wipes nearby!
In addition to physical milestones, your 18 month old is hitting some social and emotional ones, too. These affect how your little one interacts with others and the world around them.
Watches To Make Sure You’re Nearby
Though most toddlers are excited to explore their independence, they aren't yet ready to tackle the world alone. You may notice your child checking in with you often to ensure you're close by.
Looks At A Book With You
Your toddler may start to show an interest in books at this age. They may bring a book to you and "read" it by pointing at the pictures and making noises.
Reading with your child is a great way to build their language skills and help them learn about the world. Plus, it's a bonding experience for both of you as you discuss what’s happening on the pages.
Attempts To Imitate You
Imitating others is a big part of how toddlers learn. When they see you do something, they want to try it themselves.
Your child may start trying to imitate the things you do. For example, if you brush your teeth, they may bring their toothbrush into the bathroom and start copying you.
How To Help Your Toddler Reach 18-Month Milestones
If you notice that your child isn't yet reaching some of these milestones, don't worry. Every child develops at their own pace. However, you can help your child achieve these milestones by:
- Providing opportunities to practice: Intentionally give your child opportunities to practice the skills they're working on. For example, if they're trying to learn how to use a spoon, give them plenty of chances to eat with one.
- Encouraging exploration: Create an environment that encourages your child to explore and try new things. This might mean setting up a few items, like blocks or balls, in an empty room.
- Being patient: As tempting as it may be to do things for your child, try to resist the urge. Instead, give them the time and space to figure things out independently.
- Keeping it fun: Toddlers have a short attention span, so don’t force them to practice the same thing over and over again. Mix it up and have fun to keep them engaged.
Red Flags Concerning 18-Month Milestones
While it's true that every child develops at their own pace, there are some red flags that may indicate that your child is potentially facing developmental challenges. If you're noticing any of these, it's time to chat with their healthcare provider:
- Not walking
- Avoids looking you in the eye
- Loses skills they once had
- Isn't adding new words to their vocabulary
And, of course, if there's anything that concerns you about your child's development, don't hesitate to reach out to their doctor. They'll be able to put your mind at ease or connect you with the resources you need.
Enjoy Your Toddler’s New Skills!
As your child grows and reaches these 18-month milestones, enjoy every moment. Watching them learn and grow is an exciting experience!
And since learning can be a bit messy sometimes, keep a pack of Mustela Cleansing Wipes on hand. They're perfect for quick clean-ups, whether at home or on the go.