Child Developmental Milestone Guide
-18 Months -

The first half of a child’s second year is a challenging time. There are a lot of new developments that present new experiences and opportunities for toddlers to manage. During this time most children master walking, and though speech may be starting to advance, many toddlers primarily use gestures and posture to communicate. Children at this stage possess a growing curiosity. They’ll point to things and give a questioning look, and will gladly participate in observing something interesting with you. Once they’re speaking, they learn new words at an increasing rate, and on top of all of that, are starting to recognize and sort through various emotions, both positive and negative.

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Sensory Development

Your one-year-old’s senses are sharper than ever, and he’s drawn to various interesting sights and sounds. He’ll most likely pay attention to music, and spend time watching objects and people that capture his interest. Take the time to experience these things with him – he’ll be eager to share the things he sees and hears, learning about them from how you react.

Fine Motor Skills

Pinching, gripping, poking, and letting go – your little one will be getting better and better at using her hands and fingers. Don’t toss out the sippy cup yet, though; she’s still getting the hang of all the new things she can do with her hands and she’ll make plenty of mistakes and fumbles. But don’t worry, that’s all part of the learning process!

Gross Motor Skills

At some point between one year and a year and a half, your little one is probably going to start walking with confidence with no help from you or the furniture. This new skill is really going to open up his ability to explore his environment and he’ll want to roam! He can’t run yet, but he might try, so be ready to pick him up and dust him off every once in a while – there will be booboos.

Curiosity & Discovery

Your little one wants to learn about everything. He’s got an inquisitive mind and the heart of an explorer. With new mobility, he’s more focused in his exploration, and will rely on you to help him make sense of the things he discovers. He may point to things, making inquisitive gestures and sounds. He’ll continue to play in an experimental and exploratory way, shaking and banging and turning objects, learning their properties and qualities. Remember, so much of the basic knowledge we take for granted (hard things make loud noises when struck together), he’s just figuring out for the first time!

Imagination & Creativity

Your one-year-old is becoming more creative as the months pass. She still likes plenty of attention from you, but she’s likely able to entertain herself under the right circumstances. She’s also becoming more interested in the arts! She’ll soon be happy to spend time experimenting with crayons and pens, making marks on paper (and other things like walls and furniture so watch out!), and she may even take to exploring the sounds musical instruments make. Invest in some fat, easy to grip, crayons and couple of toy instruments.

Academic Development

Ready for a good chat? If your toddler started talking early he’s now got a vocabulary of anywhere from 50 to 200 useful words. He’s acquiring a new word every other day or so, and you can help by pointing things out to him and naming them. Pretty soon, he’ll be pointing to things, near and far, and asking what they’re called! Though he knows the words, his pronunciation isn’t exactly fantastic; don’t be offended if your family and friends don’t understand him as well as you. If your little one isn’t quite talking yet, it doesn’t necessarily mean he doesn’t know the words. Some kids jump right into using language to communicate, others take time to get used to the idea before they try it out.

Listening & Communication Skills

Your little one likely has a firm grasp of several of the common words and phrases you use throughout your day to communicate with him. He will soon be able to follow your simple instructions and change his behavior to match what you say. For example: holding still when you ask. He’s comfortable using his body to communicate when he doesn’t know the right word – and may favor non-verbal cues over speaking for a while. He may also express himself by changing his tone when he babbles.

Developing Self-Expression & Confidence

Your one-year-old cutie is learning how to express how she feels about you. She’ll share her affection for you with kisses, snuggles, and hugs. She’s getting to know her full range of emotions, and that’s a big challenge. It’s during these months that she first starts having tantrums, lashing out physically. She might find her emotions clouding her communication. For instance she may say “no” to an offer of help out of anger or frustration, when really she does want you to intercede. Understanding that she’s sorting through these feelings without fully understanding them herself is key to your patience at this time.

18 Month Old Recommended Toys

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