What Does Child Development Look Like At 18 Months?

May 10, 2022

Hello again beautiful friends!

Today I want to cover the most essential 18-month milestones. 

While there are a lot of milestones at every age, these are the ones that I feel are most important to have at the forefront of your mind. I do want to mention that it’s okay if your 18-month-old has not done all of these things yet. 

What I’m sharing are milestones that most 18-month-olds reach. If your little one isn’t there yet, that’s okay! My daughter is 18 months old and she isn’t doing all of the things on this list, but that’s alright. She going to be just fine. 

Always know that if you feel like you need support either from an occupational therapist, physical therapist, or speech language pathologist, don’t be afraid to reach out. I also have a completely free developmental milestone chart that can be found here: https://www.nekoleamber.com/pl/83925. This is going to give you all the major milestones from zero months to 18 months so you can see what’s happening in fine motor, gross motor, language, and cognitive and social-emotional skills. 

So when it comes to social-emotional skills, there are a few things that stand out to me. 

  1. When your little one wants something, they’ll try to communicate it by words or by pointing to indicate, “Hey, I’m interested in this item”. 
  2. They really enjoy stories and will take the time to sit with you to either flip through pages of a book or listen to a story and really become engaged in the storytelling process.
  3. They’ll anticipate certain activities. Maybe your little one will put their hands under the faucet when they know it’s time to wash their hands, or they could even be helping a little with getting dressed by pushing their arms through shirts or helping to straighten their legs when pants or shorts are going on. This is them starting to really anticipate the routine and activities of the day. 

The next important milestones are in language. 

For me, when it comes to language, the really big thing that happens at 18 months is that your little one is able to follow a one-step command without any gestures. 

So, I could simply say, “Tonia, go get the little blue truck book”, and she would know what the little blue truck book was, she’d know where it is and she’d go grab it and give it to me. 

Or at least, she would try to go look for it to bring to me. So we’re not pointing at things or making gestures. 

They really have receptive language skills and the capacity to understand our language through words, and to follow through with that one-step command.

Next up are cognitive milestones.

This would be learning, thinking, and problem-solving. What really stands out to me here is that at 18 months, your little one is starting to play with toys appropriately. 

So if they have a car, maybe they’re pushing it back and forth and going “vroom, vroom”, or they see a hairbrush and they’re bringing it to their hair and pretending to brush their hair.

They may also imitate chores or activities that take place around the house. So if they see you cleaning up, suddenly they really wanna be engaged in the process. 

Maybe they’re pretending to sweep. Maybe they’re pretending to wipe down the table. They’re learning that this is something that the family does, and they take an interest in imitating that. 

Lastly, we have fine and gross motor skills. 

Your little one is likely able to scribble. If you were to give them a crayon and a piece of paper, they’re making scribbles on their own. 

They’re also likely able to drink from an open cup (spilling is fine). They’re pretty proficient at eating themselves with their fingers but they’re also likely attempting to use a spoon or fork. 

They are probably walking independently without holding onto anyone or anything and they’re likely good at scaling your furniture, so climbing on or off of the couch is easy for them. 

Remember that if something feels off for you, don’t be afraid to reach out for support. Whether that be your pediatrician or therapist, you can always get a developmental evaluation for your child to make sure that everything is moving smoothly. 

Again, if your little one’s not doing one or two of these things, they’re more than likely okay. Every kid has their own developmental timing, so we have to trust in that and breathe. Remember, they’ve got this, and so do you.