Toddler development - 12+ to 18 months

Parentree-editors 2008-08-15 00:26:08

Your baby is now 1 year old. The period between 12 and 18 months is an age where toddlers show a lot of development but there is also very wide variance in when they reach certain milestones.  Some toddlers will exhibit certain behaviours early in the period, and some by the end. Remember that every child is unique and that is what we love about them.Do bring it to your doctor's attention if there is an abnormal delay in reaching a developmental milestone. Regular visits to the paediatrician are required to ensure that your toddler is progressing normally.

From the mouths of toddlers

  • I like to be hugged, and kissed, and cuddled.
  • I can show emotions or at least pretend to show emotions and facial expressions for feelings like anger, sadness, and happiness
  • I will gladly smile for photographs when you say "smile" or "cheese"
  • I may start stringing together words and may be babbling away in babytalk
  • I may start imitating some of the words you say
  • I can name some of the toys and objects around me,  like a car, or a ball.
  • I can understand simple instructions like "Push the car" or "Get the ball"
  • I can start sorting shapes


  • As a one-year old your toddler will be taking slow, steps with his legs spread wide for better balance.
  • By 18 months he will walking easily and independently. His balance would have improved and so he will bring his legs closer together.
  • He will start climbing things like chairs and small stools, and then start propelling himself up and down the stairs with help or by holding on to the side of the stairs.
  • Your toddler will learn to ride a tricycle by pushing her feet on the ground (not by pedalling)
  • Your toddler will start stacking things on top of one another to build a tower
  • Your toddler with her newly found ability to walk and explore, may start looking into desk drawers and kitchen cabinets
  • Your toddler will be able to hold a cup and drink from it


  • Your toddler will show more clinginess towards parents and other family members he lives with. He may get upset at the sight of strangers, and anxious if you leave. When you come back, expect a very effusive welcome. This is often called "separation anxiety" and will typically go away at 18 months.
  • As your toddler's walking increases, she will explore more. But she will always return to parents or grandparents frequently. Let your baby explore. It teaches her not to fear new things. Don't restrain her from walking away from you as long as it is safe. The common area in your apartment complex or a beach or a local park are great places to do this.
  • Your toddler may try and do things that imitate what you do, like talking on a telephone, clean with a cloth, brush their hair etc. Play along with her.


  • Large, sturdy toys to push or pull on the floor
  • Toys that can be pushed or pulled along as baby's walking increases
  • Tricycle that can be pushed along without pedalling or even one without pedals
  • Large truck toys (dump truck, fire truck) that have storage space to load other smaller toys into
  • Simple train sets and small planes
  • Construction toys like stacking blocks. Blocks that use interlocking mechanisms maybe too difficult to use
  • Puzzles with 2 to 4 large pieces
  • Stacking cups, rings
  • Activity boxes (or busy boxes) where doing something makes something else happen
  • Shape sorters
  • A lightweight multi-coloured beach ball or other soft, light, large balls
  • Large crayons that are easily held in baby's tiny fingers and paper
  • Dolls and some simple accessories for the doll like a bottle or a blanket or a bed for the doll
  • Mid-size stuffed toys
  • Toys that help children imitate adult activities like a toy telephone, a wooden or plastic tool set with large easily liftable tool replicas
  • Nursery rhyme CDs maybe a good way to help your child go to sleep
  • Cloth books, board books with pictures or objects to touch


1. Toy Safety Publications of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission


Child development - Baby, Toddler & Preschooler

Developmental milestones
Age appropriate toys
Physical development
Tips to nurture your child



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