Toddler development milestones – your grown baby 12 to 18 months

toddler development milestones

When babies reached 12 months of age they are considered to be “toddlers”. They can vary a lot in their shape, size, and what can do. Around 12th month your baby might: understand simple instructions like “come here” or “look here/there”, turns and look in the direction of sounds, try imitating sound, recognize words, say a few words like “mama” and “dada”, point things, push and throw everything down, resist taking nap and having just one nap a day, loving play with toys which make sounds and lights, take some small pieces of food and put them in his or her mouth. Toddlers need to sleep 12 to 13 hours over 24 hours. Spread over a long sleep overnight and one or two shorter periods of sleep during the day.

If you have any concerns about your child’s development within an expected period, speak to your pediatrician.

The development of your child depends on two factors– the traits with which he or she was born and what he or she experiences.

Listen and watch your child when you want to say or do something. Because toddlers can not talk a lot, they have to find a way to show you what they want. They are very creative in this. If you don’t understand what they want, they will let you know loudly. And this process helping them to use their intellectual ability to make a plan to get something they want, and also to use their motor and language skills. This way, your child will learn to count on you as someone who helps him or her. Those are signs of strong social and emotional development. Relationships are the foundation of the toddler’s healthy development. Everything that children experience, including how their parents respond to them, shapes their development in adapting to the world.

Usually, toddlers are very active and curious about the world around them.

They learn fast and develop many skills quickly. Once your baby becomes one year old you will notice that your baby is not such a baby anymore. Even if every child is different and develops in their own way, there are some milestones you can expect your child to reach from 12 to 18 months. Don’t be in a hurry to worry if your child doesn’t do everything, he or she will do it, maybe needs a little more time.


toddler development milestones


12 to 15 months your child may be able to:

Stand up without help from you or other support.

– Walk without any help. But if your child still isn’t walking, don’t worry, some kids start to walk on their own around 18 months.

Hug you more.

– Climb the stairs and furniture.

– Try to help you to put their clothes on or off.

– Use a spoon and drink from a cup. It will be with some mess of course.

– Drop objects into a container and dump them out of it.

– Use and play with books. Also “read” books independently.

– Give you a high- five.

– Wave “bye”.


– Pick up small objects from the ground without falling.

– Grasp small objects with their finger.

They point, grunting and nodding when they want to express their needs.

Saying “yes” and “no” mostly with shaking their head.

– Name a few familiar objects including “mom” and “dad”, and start to include real words in their babbling.

– Point at some favorite objects when you name them or point to body parts.

– Play independently for a short time, with just keeping an eye on you.

Possible to have temper tantrums.

– Follow simple instructions like “come here”, “look there” or “give me this”.

15 to 18 months your child may be able to:

Walk without your help, in case he or she hadn’t before.

– Run.

– Walk up and down stairs while holding your hand.

– Pull a toy while walking.

– Seat themselves in a small chair.

– Make a small tower of blocks.

– Throw, rearrange, pick up, drop, push, and pull toys.

– Turn pages of a book.

– Search for toys.

– Imitate you.

– Start to pretend play. For example, start using a toy as a phone or feeding a doll.

– Recognize themselves in the mirror, on а photo or video.

– Continue using body language to express their needs.

– Say several single words.

– Name objects in a picture book.

Follow more simple instructions.

– Sing some words to familiar songs and dancing.

– Play longer independently.

– Be afraid of strangers.

– Cling to you in new situations.

– Do new things to get attention.

– Say “yes” and “no” more understandable.

– Have temper tantrums when they are tired, hungry, or don’t get their way.

Embrace and kiss you.

– Understanding more when you talk to them and explain something.

– Point to their body parts or favorite toys when you name them.

– Use a spoon and drink from a cup a bit more confident.

– Try to help when you are putting clothes on them.

– Exploring more things which increase their self-confidence. Toddlers love to do it and you need to be around because this makes them feel safe.

When to see your doctor?!

Children develop skills at different rates, but you need to talk with your pediatrician if around 18 months your child have shown most of these signs: can’t walk on their own, uses one hand a lot more than the other, doesn’t make eye contact, seems to have trouble hearing or seeing, doesn’t have around ten words, doesn’t point or wave, doesn’t respond to sounds, doesn’t seem to understand you, doesn’t follow simple instructions, doesn’t copy others, doesn’t enjoy contact with you, doesn’t seem to notice when you leave or return doesn’t express their needs, doesn’t show their emotions.

Helping your toddler development – 12-18 months

Children are always busy, as you know! They explore the world and, as parents, we have to support them. We have to navigate them and to teach them so many things, but also we learn from them as well! Kids in their first five-six years are incredible. This period is amazing, but, in my opinion, the first three years are wonderful and magical. I love it! To help your toddler develop at this age you can do a lot of things together – talk, read, play with your little one, walk outside.

Here are some great things you can do to help your toddler’s development:
– Give your kid lots of hugs and kisses

As the children still learning how emotions work, empathy and positive attention and attitude are good for a child’s emotional development. Hugs and kisses make kids feel loved and secure.

Talk to your child

This can help you to develop your toddler’s language skills. Name objects that you are using every day like furniture, spoons, chair. Name and talk about everyday things- body parts, toys, weather, colors, people’s names. Describe your actions. Let your child know where you are going.

– Encourage your child’s communication skill

You have to listen and repeat what he or she says (for example – when your child points to a dog and says “dog” or something close to this word, you can respond “yes, that’s a dog”).

– Play with your kid

Playing is important for your child to learn and to find out how things work. Make time for indoor and outdoor play. Use open-ended toys that foster play, creativity, and imagination. Open-ended toys are those that can be used in a variety of ways:

Blocks a classic toy that can be played with in any way. Your child can create so many things with them or they can become accessories in other types of games. 

Playsetslike children’s tea set, grocery store, dollhouse. With them, kids practice roles and behaviors, that they are just learning about. Playsets and blocks will be used by your child for a long time.

– Read with your toddler.

Reading is one of the most important activities you can do with your toddler to develop their imagination and language skills and love of reading.

To support a toddler’s desire for independence

Let your child try to use a spoon, drink from a cup, brush their teeth, feed themselves with small pieces of food, taking off a hat.

Letting your child walk, climb, run, kicking balls, dancing, playing indoor and outdoor

This will help their physical development. Letting your child explore new things on their own helping them to build their self-confidence and independence. But stay close so they feel safe.

– Encourage your toddler to play with other children

Just have in mind that usually sharing is a challenge at this age.

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Two words for you too

Every parent makes mistakes and learns through experience, just do your best. As parents, we are always learning. Probably, you feel confident about many things already, but if there is something you don’t know always ask questions and search for information from different places, look for alternatives and get help if you need it.

It is normal and understandable to feel frustrated, tired, or upset sometimes. If you feel overwhelmed try to organize someone to stay with your kid for a while or a couple of hours. So, you can go out alone and do whatever you want, do something for yourself, read a book or drink a cup of coffee. But doing nothing or sleeping are also very good ideas. Often by focusing on caring for a child, we can forget to take care of ourselves. When looking after yourself physically and mentally will help you with the understanding, patience, imagination, and energy you need to be an adequate parent.


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