Your 18 month old - what to expect

A guide to the major milestones...

At 18 months, your toddler is soaking up information like a sponge and striking off milestones at speed.

Here’s a guide to this stage of development.

At a glance

  • Key milestones
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Solo playtime

What your child is doing

All children develop at different speeds, reaching various milestones at varying times, but here’s a guide to what your child might be doing around now:

  • Referring to themselves by name

  • Crawling up stairs and coming down backwards

  • Echoing what people say - especially you and other children

  • Understanding 10 times more than they can put into words

  • Starting to lose the ‘baby’ look and develop a leaner frame

  • Actively seeking praise from you and other caregivers.

Sudden sleep problems?

At around eighteen months your child may start to fight you on the sleep front. They might be refusing to go to bed and sleep at night, then waking up horribly early and refusing to go back to sleep. As painful as this is for you, it is completely normal (sorry!). It might be happening because they don’t want to be confined – in which case you might be having problems trying to get them into their car seat and the pushchair too. Or might be a simple, hot-headed determination to get their own way. The only answer is to take a deep breath, stay calm and stay firm with your routine. Remember, it won’t last for long!

How you can help your child at this age

There’s a lot you can do to nudge along your child’s development at this stage:

  • Get them drawing and colouring and help them get used to holding a pencil - most kids of this age will hold a pencil in their whole hand or between the thumb and first two fingers

  • Play with simple jigsaw puzzles - help them develop basic problem solving skills as well as hand-eye coordination

  • Encourage messy play with sand, water and paint – this helps with young children's cognitive and creative development as it involves using all the senses.

Playing alone

Toddlers don’t tend to play with other children until they’re around 3 years old. Instead they like what’s known as ‘parallel play’ where they play quite happily next to each other, but don’t actually interact. This is very normal and they’re perfectly happy!

You can also see more about your toddler's development with our milestones chart

Care to share? To talk to other mums, visit the Bounty Community.

At a glance

  • Key milestones
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Solo playtime
At around eighteen months your child may start to fight you on the sleep front

Your toddler's milestones