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Developmental milestones record - 18 months

Skills and growth milestones of 18-month-old children describes the physical and mental development that is expected for this age.

Alternative Names

Growth milestones for children - 18 months; Normal childhood growth milestones - 18 months; Childhood growth milestones - 18 months

Information

All children develop a little differently. If you are concerned about your child's development, talk to your child's health care provider.

PHYSICAL AND MOTOR SKILL MARKERS

The typical 18 month old:

  • Has a closed soft spot on the front of the head (anterior fontanel)
  • Is growing at a slower rate and has less of an appetite compared to months before
  • Is able to control the muscles used to urinate and have bowel movements (sphincter muscles), but may not be ready to use the toilet
  • Runs stiffly and falls often
  • Is able to get onto small chairs without help
  • Walks up stairs while holding on with one hand
  • Can build a tower of two to four blocks
  • Can use a spoon and cup with help to feed himself
  • Imitates scribbling
  • Can turn two or three pages of a book at a time

SENSORY AND COGNITIVE MARKERS

The typical 18 month old:

  • Shows affection
  • Has separation anxiety
  • Listens to a story or looks at pictures
  • Can say 10 or more words when asked
  • Kisses parents with lips puckered
  • Identifies one or more parts of the body
  • Understands and is able to point to and identify common objects
  • Often imitates
  • Is able to take off some clothing items, such as gloves, hats, and socks
  • Begins to feel a sense of ownership, identifying people and objects by saying "my"

PLAY RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Encourage and provide the necessary space for physical activity
  • Provide safe copies of adult tools and equipment for the child to play with
  • Allow the child to help around the house and participate in the family's daily responsibilities
  • Encourage play that involves building and creativity
  • Read to the child
  • Encourage play dates with children of the same age
  • Avoid television time before age 2
  • Play simple games together, such as puzzles and shape sorting
  • A transitional object may help separation anxiety

References

Feigelman S. The second year. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 9.

Updated: 11/9/2012

Jennifer K. Mannheim, ARNP, Medical Staff, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, Seattle Children's Hospital. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.


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