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Keeping Track of Baby Milestones: 12-18 Months Old

Baby girl playing with toys on the floor.

by Kristen v.H. Middleton

Former School Teacher & Administrator

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I remember the developmental milestones my oldest was achieving by the time she turned 18 months, and how some things varied while others were the same for our second daughter. By and large, as you keep your eyes open for your little one’s milestones between 12-18 months, here is what you want to see happening by 18 months of age. Don’t be dismayed if you see setbacks. Sometimes your baby will progress in one area and then regress slightly depending on the circumstances. Baby Milestones: 12-18 Months Old Gross Motor Skills Milestones 12-18 months, your child should be able to: Walk on her own Walk sideways and backward Crawl upstairs Possibly walk… Read More

I remember the developmental milestones my oldest was achieving by the time she turned 18 months, and how some things varied while others were the same for our second daughter. By and large, as you keep your eyes open for your little one’s milestones between 12-18 months, here is what you want to see happening by 18 months of age. Don’t be dismayed if you see setbacks. Sometimes your baby will progress in one area and then regress slightly depending on the circumstances.

Baby Milestones: 12-18 Months Old

Gross Motor Skills

Milestones 12-18 months, your child should be able to:

  • Walk on her own
  • Walk sideways and backward
  • Crawl upstairs
  • Possibly walk up steps
  • Possibly run
  • Walk up and down steps with assistance
  • Squat to pick up a toy
  • Get herself into her own seat
  • May be ready to try toddler bed if climbing out of the crib

Fine Motor Skills

By 18 months, your child should be able to:

  • Drink from a cup
  • Eat using a spoon
  • Stack objects like blocks
  • Help take off her own clothes
  • Hold pencil or toddler paintbrush
  • Turn a few pages of a book
  • Drop small objects into a bottle
  • Place toy objects into slots or holes
  • Scribble or make marks with a crayon
  • Tries to wash hands or put on shoes

Cognitive Skills

By 18 months, your child should be able to:

  • Identify self in the mirror or camera phone
  • Play pretend like feeding a doll
  • Point to show you something
  • Enjoy books or print images with pictures
  • Follow basic directions or two-step commands
  • Know the names of some body parts
  • Match and sort objects by shape and color
  • Match animal sounds to pictures
  • Press a toy button to listen to music or hear a sound

Language Skills

By 18 months, your child should be able to:

  • Speak several individual words out loud
  • Say “no” and shake her head
  • Respond to questions
  • Babble and sing along in tones, if not words
  • Understand concepts of “in” and “on”
  • Repeat some words heard in conversation around her

Social-Emotional Skills

By 18 months, your child should be able to:

  • Explore on her own, with a caregiver close by
  • Show affection to people she knows well
  • Have temper tantrums
  • Stay close to caregivers in new situations
  • Show fear around strangers
  • May share an object during play
  • Engage in parallel play
  • Are very curious and may grab any object in reach

Milestones 12-18 Months & Developmental Delays

By 18 months, speak with your doctor if your child isn’t doing any of the following:

  • Pointing to show objects, animals, or toys to others
  • Walking on her own
  • Imitating others, especially the caregiver
  • Understanding the uses of common objects, like a brush or cup
  • Gaining new words or speaking at least six words
  • Noticing when you or another caregiver leaves or returns
  • Remembering the skills she used to have

In summary, your baby will develop at her own pace, but be aware if most or all of these 12-18 month milestones are being missed.

Finally, in recent years the American Academy of Pediatrics lifted its “No Screens Under 2” rule, saying that while no screens at all are still best, there is a notable exception in live video chats, like FaceTime or Zoom, which stimulate your baby’s social-emotional growth during live interaction with others.

Sources:
The University of Michigan, “Michigan Medicine: Milestones for an 18-Month Child.” Website: https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/ue5756
“Your Child At 18 Months” by WebMD. Website: https://www.webmd.com/parenting/child-18-months-milestones#1