Developmental Milestones at 18 Months

By now, your child has likely either started walking or gotten a little better at this skill. If walking has not happened yet, talk with the healthcare provider. Some children are late walkers, but it’s wise to make sure nothing else is interfering with this milestone. 

As a novice walker, expect occasional tumbles for a while longer as your child practices getting from here to there. Here’s a look at what a child typically does at 18 months:

Social / Emotional Milestones

  • Moves away from you, but regularly checks to make sure you’re close by
  • Points to show you something interesting
  • Puts hands out for you to wash them
  • Looks at a few pages in a book with you
  • Helps you dress him or her by pushing arm through sleeve or lifting up foot

Language / Communication Milestones

  • Tries to say 3 or more words besides “mama” or “dada”
  • Follows 1-step verbal directions, such as giving you the toy when you say, “Give it to me.”

Cognitive Milestones (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

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

Movement / Physical Milestones

  • Walks unsupported
  • Scribbles
  • Can drink from a cup without a lid and may spill sometimes
  • Uses fingers to feed himself or herself 
  • Tries to use a spoon
  • Climbs on and off a couch or chair without help

Concerned About Your Child’s Development?

All children are different and develop at their own pace. If your child has not yet reached some of these milestones, it doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong.

Still, you know your child best. And developmental delays or disorders are most successfully treated when caught early.

If you have concerns, don’t wait. Talk with the healthcare provider if you think your child

  • Is not meeting milestones for his or her age
  • Has lost skills he or she once had, or is not doing something you’d expect him or her to be doing

Or if you have concerns about:

  • How your child plays, learns, speaks, acts or moves
  • Other things your child does

SOURCE: These developmental milestones, established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics, provide a general idea of what most children (75% or more) do at this age.

This message is not intended to provide individual medical advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have about your health or medical condition, your breastfeeding issues and your infant's health. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you have read in our emails, webpages or other electronic communications.

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