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Baby Development: 18-24 Months

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

He or she made it to 18 month and well on their way to 2 years old.  The terrible twos are just around the corner.  They may be already upon you depending on the child.  Stranger anxiety has hopefully been replaced by the need to explore and meet or greet new people.  There might still be some stranger anxiety present but this is a good thing.  We do not want your child to just go with any one in a van offering them candy or a new puppy.  The major milestones that we all have to go through are for good reasons.

Your child should be walking pretty good by now and probably getting into everything.  This is quite normal, but I know that does not make you feel less nervous about the environment.  Make sure you are even toddler proofing your home now.  Doors will have to be closed.  Things put up. Pets will have to be watched for pulling of the tail and dressing up as dolls.  I feel sorry for the pets and the parents, but as long as it is playful and not hurting too much this will be a great teaching moment to help them understand that other things hurt when they are pulled, pushed, or hit. 

Physical Development

If the development is normal, your child will weigh between 20 and 32 pounds.  There is not a lot of weight gain because the mobile child is being more active.  He or she will be at a height between 30-37 inches. 

baby development

Your toddler can walk well by now.  They can even run but will fall.  They will have trouble stopping and making turns.  Pets have the advantage here. Door frames and furniture also have the advantage and many will probably be the cause of bumps and bruises on the head, arms and legs. 

The baby will be able to bend over and pick up things without falling. They can talk steps backwards but not too fast and will still fall.  They will also be able to walk up steps with help from someone.  Crawling up steps will be a better way for the independent child. 

The fine motor skills are getting better.  At the dinner table, the baby can hold and feed themselves with the spoon.  Forks are still a little tricky for this child, but they may try. They are able to drink from straws and may request McDonald’s more often.  The Golden Arches have been shown to be the most recognized advertisement symbol by kids across the world.  After dinner, the baby can wash their own hands with help from the caregiver with soap. 

 They are able to throw balls in a general direction.  It still may not make it unless you have a little Nolan Ryan on your hand.  If so, buy a baseball or softball glove today.  They can stack 4-6 blocks without them falling and other objects they will attempt.  They really enjoy playing with boxes, cabinets, and drawers that the parents do not want them to be in.  It sometimes seems the parents could save money at Christmas and Birthdays by just giving them the boxes.

They enjoy sitting on and riding wheeled equipment even though they may not know how to peddle it, yet.  There is something else they are starting to prefer to sit on.  That is the toilet.  The child at this age is starting to learn how to control their bladder and bowels, but still will have accidents.  Boys are a little tougher with this but there are techniques to help boys along with the process. 

Mental Development

Speech is the major mental development during this time.  They should have a vocabulary of several hundred words.  They should be able to name certain toys, things in the environment, and people they know.  Your baby should be talking in two or three word sentences instead of the single words they have been using up until this time.  He or she should be talking to themselves.  We all do this, but they will do it out loud.  They will “jibber jabber” and you might not be able to make any sense out of it, but they can. 

They can be taught “Please” and “thank you” for responses of things they want.  However, the parent must reinforce this verbally response at first.  They will see they are getting what they want when they do this.  They will repeat words that are presented to them.  For instance, if you said “say ball” they could repeat the word, “ball.”

baby development

Singing and using a “sing-song” type voices will become important to the baby at this time.  They will hum or sing things.  They will have favorite songs. They will have favorite toys.  The child will be able to choose between two things they are presented with. 

One of their favorite games and parents to is the pointing game.  Point to your ear.  Point to your nose.  Point to your knee.  The parents will get a kick out of showing this to their friends and family. 

Social Development

Again, we are still in the range that Erickson intentionally left for the previous stage to have some fluff area.  However, as before there is a lot of social development going on during this stage.  Verbal communication has improved and therefore, social development is vastly improved. 

They like to imitate others.  They will start to repeat things they hear without even knowing what is meant by the word.  I tested a 20 month old child, who kept calling me, her, mother and her sister a “bitch.”  She knew it meant a negative connotation, but I do not think she knew the meaning of that word. 

During this time of social development, there are some very negative behaviors that start to emerge.  The terrible twos just do not start when the two candles are lit on the cake.  The problematic behaviors are already being established. 

Baby development

“No” has become one of their favorite words and they know what it means.  They will even get an attitude to match the word.  Body language, intonation, and the word “no” can bring thoughts of a time out or butt whipping to the mind of the parent.  I am not condoning the behavior of the child, but remember part of becoming more independent is to learn to say “no.”  We are raising adults, not children.  We want to teach them to be viable adults in society.  Parents may feel they child knows the rules and will just not follow them.  However, during this time the child really does not remember the rules for more than a minute or two. 

These children are very possessive and do not like to share.  They are still very ego centric and everything is “mine.”  They find it very difficult to wait.  They want everything and they want it NOW!  This will usually lead to temper tantrums.  Up to five a day is normal at this age unless they last more than five minutes and/or happening more than three to four days a week.  They may become aggressive and will hit or slap people who tell them “no” or does not do or understand what the child feels they need to have. 

Sometimes the child will socially withdraw.  They prefer to play and spend more times with themselves.  They will still act shy around strangers, but not the anxiety that they previously experienced in the Stranger Anxiety phase.  They will try to help if someone they are familiar with is experiencing emotional pain such as crying.  They will become visibly upset when their caregiver is truly upset. 

The child will start to learn that they are a part of a whole.  They are still very ego centric, but they understand they are part of a greater system.  They will start to call themselves by name, when asked and sometimes when they want something.  However, sometime during this period they will develop the use of pronouns “Me” and “mine” and will use them to get things they want and to take when not wanting someone else to have something. 

The baby is starting to enjoy many more activities.  He or she will enjoy playing dress up and will even like wearing the clothes, hats, and scarves everywhere.  They enjoy the company of adults a lot of the time but still like to be alone at times too.  They love the attention and will do things to get the attention, especially if the adults applaud or laugh. They will respond with hugs and kisses when shown affection first. 

They are getting into everything by now.  They are really enjoying exploring and will venture farther from parents to do so.  They require constant supervision and will need to be redirected away from things that will cause them harm.  In addition to becoming attached to people, they will start to develop an attachment to a favorite toy or other object. 



They terrible twos are approach and the precursors to that time is starting to happen.  The baby is becoming more independent but is still selfish and self centered. They are ego centric, which means they believe the world revolved around them and everything in this world is here for their pleasure. They will go to great measures to show you this is true. 

Temper tantrums are not uncommon and most of the time just normal resistance to the rules they are having to start following but may not understand.  Take care to keep your anger under control, because this can be a trying time for parents and caregivers.

Take care of yourself and others.  Make today and everyday a great day.   


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