Developmental Milestones

There are things most children can do by a certain age.

It’s helpful to understand the important clues in your child’s development, like how your little one moves, acts, speaks, learns, plays, and interacts.

Let’s review the milestones which your child reaches during the eighteenth month. These milestones are as defined by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Join us as we check out these first-time actions which are called developmental milestones.

What can most babies do by Month 18?

First up, let’s look at emotional and social milestones. Your baby:

  • Moves away from you, but checks that you are nearby
  • Points to show you something he’s interested in
  • Puts hands out to be washed
  • Looks at pages in a book with you
  • Helps you dress him by placing his arm through sleeves or lifting his foot

Second, communication and language milestones. Your baby:

  • Tries to say three or more words apart from “mama” or “dada”
  • Follows one-step directions without any gestures. For example, when you say, “Give it to me”, he gives you the toy.

Third, cognitive milestones. These include thinking, learning, and problem-solving. Your baby:

  • Copies you doing chores, like sweeping with a broom
  • Plays with toys in a simple way, like pushing a toy car

And the fourth, movement and physical development milestones. Your baby:

  • Walks without holding on to anyone or anything
  • Scribbles
  • Drinks from a cup without a lid and may spill sometimes
  • Feeds himself with his fingers
  • Tries to use a spoon
  • Climbs on and off a chair or sofa without help

You know your baby best.

If you might feel that your baby is not meeting one or more milestones, has lost skills he or she once had, or if your child might have special healthcare needs, please see your pediatrician as early as possible.

It’s time for developmental screening!

At 18 months, your child is due for general developmental screening and an autism screening, as recommended for all children by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Ask the doctor about your child’s developmental screening.

During the visit to your pediatrician, it’s important to discuss these things:

  • Has your baby lost any skills he or she once had?
  • Does your baby have any special healthcare needs or was he/she born prematurely?

Please don’t be alarmed if your baby hasn’t quite hit some or all of these milestones by the end of month 18. Human beings are a varied bunch, and we all develop at different rates.

These milestones are “averages”, and some babies will cross them earlier or later than the herd.

There’s no need for worry about milestones in month 18 but there’s no harm in discussing things with your pediatrician if there is anything of concern.

You Play a Great Role in Your Baby’s Learning and Brain Development

You are your baby’s first and best teacher, and it’s you who can help him or her the most with this learning and brain development phase.

Here are some simple activities to try with your baby:

Use positive words and give more attention to behaviors you want to see (“wanted behaviors”).

For example, “It’s great how nicely you put the toy away.”

Give less attention to behaviors you don’t want to see.

Encourage “pretend” play.

Give your child a spoon so he can pretend to feed his favorite stuffed animal. Take turns pretending.

Help your child learn about others’ feelings and about positive ways to react.

For example, when he sees a child who is sad, say “He looks sad. Let’s bring him a soft toy like Teddy.”

Ask simple questions to help your child think about what’s around him.

For example, ask him, “What’s that?”

Allow your child to use a cup without a lid for drinking. Let him practice eating with a spoon.

Learning to eat and drink is messy but fun!

Give your baby simple choices.

Let your child choose between two things.

For example, when getting dressed, ask him if he wants to wear the blue or green shirt.

Establish steady routines for sleeping and eating.

For example, sit at the table with your little one when he’s eating meals and snacks.

This helps your family to set mealtime routines.

Limit screen time (TV, tablets, phones, etc.) to video calling with loved ones.

Screen time is not recommended for children younger than 2 years of age.

Children learn by talking, playing, and interacting with others. Limit your own screen time when you are with your child, so you are able to respond to his words and actions.

Ask your pediatrician and/or teachers if your child is ready for toilet training.

Most children are not successful at toilet training until they are 2 to 3 years old.

If your child is not ready, it can cause stress and setbacks, which can cause training to take longer.

Tips and Activities for Baby’s 18th Month

Expect tantrums.

These are normal at this age and should become shorter and happen less often as your child gets older.

You can try to distract your child, but it’s okay to ignore his tantrum. Give him some time to calm down and move on.

Face your child as you talk with him. Get down to his eye level whenever possible.

This helps your little one to “see” what you’re saying through your eyes and face, not just your words.

Start to teach your child the names for body parts by pointing them out and saying things like “Here’s your nose, here’s my nose,” while pointing to her nose and your own.  


Keep in mind that it’s not exactly when your baby gets to sit up by himself or utters his first words. What’s more important is that they’re progressing with their development.

In our next article, we’re going to discuss baby milestones for 2-year-olds. We look forward to seeing you then!

How’s your 18-month-old doing?

We’d love to hear from you! Let us know in the comments below.

Thanks for stopping by!