Developmental Milestones 18-24 months

by Barbara Hillary, PhD.

Between 18 and 24 months of age, toddlers seek independence and want to be in control. No wonder that their favorite words are ‘me’ and ‘mine!’

Toddlers do not understand the concept of sharing, so instead of expecting your child to share, set a good example. Toddlers are very observant and soon your child will follow your suit.

Toddlers love to be active. Practicing climbing and running helps them to develop coordination. Provide your child with a safe environment to be active.

Also, toddlers do not yet understand the consequences of their actions. So do not punish your child for spilling water on the floor. Instead, take her to the bathroom and show her that spilling water in the tub is O.K. Once again, set a good example!

Although toddlers between 18 and 24 months learn new words daily and begin to be able to build sentences, they still have difficulties expressing what they want and how they feel. This inability to express themselves often causes toddlers to throw temper tantrums, which is a normal part of growing up. The best way to deal with tantrums is to ignore them or distract your child, especially if she is hurting herself (i.e. hitting her head on the floor).

Things to do to enhance your child’s development:

- Give your toddler a sense of control by offering choices that are all acceptable to you. For example, “Do you want to wear a yellow or red shirt today?”

- Expand on what your child says. For example, when she says, “Doggie bark,” you say “Yes, doggie barks loudly at the squirrel.”

- Read daily

- Provide toys that promote imaginative play: drawing materials, play dough, etc.

- Turn a trip to the grocery store into a learning activity: point and name things that you see, talk about colors, etc.

Sometimes children do not learn certain skills by an expected age. When you notice a delay in achieving certain developmental milestones as stated below, consult your health care provider as soon as possible.

- Lack of imitative play by 18 months

- Lack of hand dominance before 18 months

- Lack of pointing by 18 months

- No 1st word other than “mama” or “dada” by 18 months

- No 2-word sentences by 2 years

- Not understanding simple commands by 2 years

- Loss of speech, babbling, or social skills at any time

Dr. Hillary is a pediatric nurse practitioner with a doctoral degree in health promotion and risk reduction. She works as a pediatric clinician and writes for Plugged in Parents. Plugged In Parents provides up-to-date info on pediatric health, safety and nutrition along with movie reviews, recipes, tech-savvy tips, and a parent’s only forum. You can also contact Dr. Hillary for personal questions related to health and nutrition.

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