Baby development milestones at 18 months

Aug 28, 2020

At this stage the development happens rapidly and your baby becomes a toddler. The title of 'toddler' is a milestone in itself, as this indicates that your baby can now walk unaided. As your baby reaches the 18-month mark, their abilities develop at faster pace and sometimes this makes you feel like you can't keep up with their ever-changing nature. It is also essential to understand that each baby is different, and they do things at their own pace. If your baby is not walking unaided like others are, there is nothing to worry about, it will eventually happen. But if your intuition says there is something to worry about, consult the pediatrician and they will assist you.

As a parent, it is exciting to watch your toddler learn new things and explore on their own, as this is part of the 'growing up' process. It's easier for us to help them through their development if we understand what to expect.

Here are some things your toddler might be doing at 18 months.

Language and Communication skills

  • They are able to say about 10 or 20 single words.
  • Says and shakes head to say 'yes' or 'no'.
  • Points to show things they want or points at body parts when asked to show them.

At 18 months, their language skills are vastly improved, and they know their name, whilst also understanding the concept of 'mine'. They are in constant learning mode and they understand or recognize a nursery rhyme or two for which they may try to imitate actions.

Social and emotional development

  • They may now start to engage in pretend play. Like play house, or tends to cook you pretend food.
  • Beware of those temper tantrums, the more they understand the more they want what they can't have.
  • Shows affection. Gives you plenty of hugs and kisses when asked.
  • Maybe weary or anxious of strangers
  • Plays along with other children
  • Laughs along with others

Physical development


  • Runs
  • Walks
  • Climbs
  • stairs with the aid of a parent.
  • Throws a ball.
  • Can take off their own clothes.
  • Scribbles with crayons or pen.

Cognitive skills (learning, thinking and understanding)

  • Understands most of what you are trying to communicate.
  • Knows what basic things are for. For example, things like toothbrush, hairbrush, spoon.
  • Understands and follows verbal commands.
  • Learns how to count and remembers colors.
  • Imitates everyday actions like talking on the phone.
  • Knows how to match and build objects, and knows how to operate their toys very well.

How can you as a parent help your 18 month old through their development?

  • Be there for them at anytime. Be close to them when they are playing . This helps your child with confidence and they can try new things, which in turn helps them become independent and confident when older.
  • Let your child play with other children. Playing helps them make new friends and how to be with other children. This also slowly helps them learn about sharing and taking turns which are essential social skills.
  • Encourage them to learn everyday skills, like feeding themselves, holding a cup, taking off their clothes.
  • Talk with your toddler as much as possible. Teach them every day things, like colors, number, fruits, animals. This helps develop your child's language skills.
  • Give meaning to their sentences and whatever they are saying. If you they say, "mamma water", ask them "do you want mamma to get you some water"? This helps them with their communications skills.
  • And lastly it is important to your toddler. This helps develop their imagination and language skills.

These are essentially most of what your child goes through at this stage. Follow your instincts and if you feel like anything is a miss, please consider contacting your pediatrician. They will guide you through what needs to be done.