Your Child at 18 Months (1 ½ years)

What Most Children Do at this Age:


  • Likes to hand things to others as play
  • May have temper tantrums
  • May be afraid of strangers
  • Shows affection to familiar people
  • Plays simple pretend, such as feeding a doll
  • May cling to caregivers in new situations
  • Points to show others something interesting
  • Explores alone but with parent close by


  • Says several single words
  • Says and shakes head “no”
  • Points to show someone what he wants

Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

  • Knows what ordinary things are for; for example, telephone, brush, spoon
  • Points to get the attention of others
  • Shows interest in a doll or stuffed animal by pretending to feed
  • Points to one body part
  • Scribbles on his own
  • Can follow 1-step verbal commands without any gestures; for example, sits when you say “sit down”

Movement/Physical Development

  • Walks alone
  • May walk up steps and run
  • Pulls toys while walking
  • Can help undress herself
  • Drinks from a cup
  • Eats with a spoon

The Milestone Child Development Chart is shown Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

What You Can Do for Your 18-Month-Old:

  • Provide a safe, loving environment. It’s important to be consistent and predictable.
  • Praise good behaviors more than you punish bad behaviors (use only very brief time outs).
  • Describe his/her emotions. For example, say, “You are happy when we read this book.”
  • Encourage pretend play.
  • Encourage empathy. For example, when he/she sees a child who is sad, encourage him to hug or pat the other child.
  • Read books and talk about the pictures using simple words.
  • Copy your child’s words.
  • Use words that describe feelings and emotions.
  • Use simple, clear phrases.
  • Ask simple questions.
  • Hide things under blankets and pillows and encourage him/her to find them.
  • Play with blocks, balls, puzzles, books, and toys that teach cause and effect and problem solving.
  • Name pictures in books and body parts.
  • Provide toys that encourage pretend play; for example, dolls, play telephones.
  • Provide safe areas for your child to walk and move around in.
  • Provide toys that he/she can push or pull safely.
  • Provide balls for him/her to kick, roll, and throw.
  • Encourage him/her to drink from his/her cup and use a spoon, no matter how messy.
  • Blow bubbles and let your child pop them.