18 Months

What Most Toddlers Do by This Age


  • Brings things to “show” other people
  • May have temper tantrums
  • Reacts to changes in daily routines
  • Shows affection to familiar people
  • Plays simple pretend, such as feeding a doll
  • May cling to caregivers in new situations
  • Points to show others something interesting
  • Explores alone but with parent close by

Problem Solving

  • Knows what ordinary things are for; for example, telephone, brush, spoon
  • Points to get the attention of others
  • Shows interest in a doll or stuffed animal by pretending to feed
  • Points to one body part
  • Scribbles on his own
  • Can follow 1-step verbal commands without any gestures; for example, sits when you say “please sit down”

Language and Communication

  • Says several single words
  • Says and shakes head “no”
  • Points to show someone what he wants
  • Can find familiar toy when you ask them to find it


  • Walks alone
  • May walk up steps and run
  • Pulls toys while walking
  • Can help undress herself
  • Drinks from a cup
  • Eats with a spoon

What Families Can Do

  • Encourage your toddler to have empathy – for example, to hug or pat another child who is sad
  • Set limits that are firm, fair and consistent.
  • Describe your toddler’s emotions – “You are mad when we have to leave the park.”
  • Give your toddler lots of hugs and kisses, and praise for good behavior.
  • Hold your toddler on your lap, read aloud and talk about the pictures in the book.
  • Repeat the words your toddler says; say the words clearly and correctly.
  • Ask your toddler simple questions.
  • Talk about what you and your toddler are doing together.
  • Sing songs and repeat rhymes together.
  • Encourage pretend play with dolls, toy phones or stuffed animals.
  • Have your toddler play with books, balls, puzzles and toys that teach cause and effect, and problem solving.
  • Give your toddler crayons and paper, and let him/her draw freely.
  • Play games naming objects in pictures and body parts.
  • Provide toys your toddler can push or pull safely.
  • Provide balls for your toddler to kick, roll and throw.
  • Encourage your toddler to drink from a cup and use a spoon, no matter how messy.
  • Blow bubbles and let your toddler pop them.

Developmental Milestones