Toddler development and milestones: your 18 month old

Toddler development and milestones: your 18 month old

Isn't he an adorable little mummy's helper? It's all hugs and kisses and big smiles at this stage of toddler development! Enjoy it to the max, because tantrums and "no" are waiting just around the corner...

Your toddler is now one-and-a-half years old, or 1 year 6 months old! More active and adorable than even, your little one is your own little shadow and loves to join you in whatever you are doing. But be aware, patience is a virtue your little one does not yet possess. He/she firmly lives in the present, or even more immediate: in the right now (think, instant gratification). When it comes to toddler development at  1 year 6 months, what else should you expect? Let’s find out.

18 Month Old Development and Milestones: Is Your Tot on Track?

Toddler development and milestones: your 18 month old

Physical Development

By now, your little one is walking, and possibly running, and you can see that he/she is surer on his/her feet now. Your toddler walks upstairs if you hold his/her hand and is able to crawl down backwards. He/she might even be starting to jump!

Your child will probably have developed a preferential hand, so you finally know if he/she is right-handed or left-handed. It really doesn’t matter which one your child is, but if it is not clear yet, don’t worry. As part of your toddler’s 1 year 6 months old development, he/she will be anyway be grabbing everything in sight with both hands!

Your toddler has also discovered how to stack blocks and might be able to build a tower of two to four blocks high. He/she will really enjoy knocking them down to build them again!

Other fine motor skills are showing themselves too. Your little one likes to scribble on paper, especially if he/she often sees you write notes or lists. His/her scribbling is mostly marks and patterns, so do not expect any sort of drawing to emerge!

All this activity means that your tiny toddler has a hard time slowing down. Nap times can be a struggle. A lot of children switch to one nap around this time, and some even drop their nap, though that is a little earlier than usual.

Disrupted sleep and changing sleeping patterns may also mean early wakings. Pay a little extra attention to your little one’s sleeping habits, and if you need to, adjust the schedule. The schedule your toddler gets on now will probably last him/her through the rest of his/her toddlerhood.

18 month old development and milestones

18 month old development and milestones: Your little one loves to play!

At this stage, your child’s median length and weight* should be as follows:

  • Boys
    – Length: 82.2 cm (32.4 inches)
    – Weight: 10.9 kg (24.1 lb)
  • Girls
    – Length: 80.7 cm (31.8 inches)
    – Weight: 10.6 kg (23.4 lb)

And your child’s head circumference* should be:

  • Boys: 47.4 cm (18.6 inches)
  • Girls: 46.2 cm (18.2 inches)

Tips:

  • String large wooden beads together with your child.
  • Consider potty training if your child shows interest in going to the bathroom. However, don’t force your child to be potty trained if he/she is not ready for it. Most children do not gain full bladder control until after their second birthday.
  • Continue to take your little one outdoors. This not only helps to burn off all that extra energy but also gives him/her more space to practice physical motions.

When to Talk to Your Doctor

If your child,

  • Is extremely poorly co-ordinated or clumsy.
  • Shifts quickly from one activity to another with no focus on either one.
  • Loses skills he/she once had.

Cognitive Development

At 18 months there is so much fun to be had with your little one!

Your bub loves to sing, and he/she loves it when you sing for him/her. Your little one adores clapping along and making the movements. Rhythm sticks or little drums are also great favourites at this age, although a sense of rhythm is still lacking.

Listening to stories and pointing at pictures is another lovely, educational activity. Your tiny tot might be able to put together large puzzle pieces into all the correct places, especially if you two have been practising together a few times.

Watch your child copy your actions during pretend play, like making a call, working on a computer, reading a book or doing random chores. He/she loves to make animal sounds to his/her cuddly toys and is usually able to match the sound to the animal.

At times, you might find a stray sock on the floor, or – we pray it never happens to you – a stray diaper! Your toddler is learning how to take off his/her clothes, so do check on your little one when all is too quiet!

Tips

  • Continue doing simple puzzles with your toddler. Of course, you might need to help in the beginning, but do let him/her figure it out alone as well.
  • Crank up a favourite tune and boogie to it! It’s fun and really great for rhythm and coordination.
  • Try making a paper hat for your little one. Show him/her how to put it on his head. You’d be surprised that even something as simple as that can keep your toddler fascinated for hours!

When to Talk to Your Doctor

If your child,

  • Is unable to concentrate or pay attention for even very short periods of time.
  • Has problems following routines and schedules.

1 year 6 months

Social and Emotional Development

They don’t call them mama’s little helper for nothing! Your tiny tot loves to help you with tidying, or other chores during his 1 year 6 months period. It makes him/her feel proud and accomplished when you praise him/her for his/her efforts.

But remember, your little one’s attention span is still very short! So if he/she has had enough, let him/her quit and get on with another game. Praise your child for his/her efforts, and correct without anger when he/she gets it wrong.

Model the behaviour you want your bub to show as he/she learns by example. This can be anything, from doing chores to social norms like sharing!

Your little toddler can say about ten words right now, and one of them is definitely “Mine!” He/she is marking his/her territory, which is part of normal toddler development. In the same way, your child expects you to set the boundaries for him/her as well.

Get ready to deal with tantrums! He/she might refuse to get into the stroller, be finicky about food or interrupt you endlessly when you’re out with friends or occupied. It is still mostly about your child.

Try to be firm with your little one; clear rules make for a predictable environment and this, in turn, makes him/her feel safe.

Make sure you tell your little one you love him/her. He/she does not automatically know this and will thrive on your cuddles and kisses.

Tips

  • There are plenty of ways to involve a 1 year 6 months old toddler in the daily chores. He/she could help you to prep the beans, or put the carrots you cut into a bowl. Your toddler could put laundry into the machine, or help you sweep up stray crumbs after snack time. He/she loves to watch you, so take the time to show him/her what you’re doing.
  • Show your toddler how to share during play dates and teach by showing him/her how to take turns playing with a toy. Do not be discouraged if your child continues to be selfish, just be consistent, and he/she will get the hang of it soon.
  • If your child starts to play more independently, let him/her be. There is no need to feel guilty when your child is playing alone and quite happy at that.

When to Talk to Your Doctor

If your child,

  • Has poor interactive play.
  • Shows severe repeated tantrums due to interruption of routine, interruption of repetitive behaviour or unknown reasons.

Speech and Language Development

Listen closely! As part of your toddler’s 1 year 6 months old development, your bub can probably say an average of 10 words at this point even if he/she is able to understand more words than he/she can say. These include words for mummy, daddy and the names of other caregivers.

Other words early words could be “no”, “mine”, “don’t want”, and favourite things or objects, like “milk”, “ball” or “cat”.

Your toddler can point to common objects if you name them and identify body parts. He/she can also recognise people in pictures and on screen.

Some toddlers may begin forming two-word sentences, but most are still soaking up vocabulary by listening attentively.

Tips

  • An ongoing commentary of what you’re doing at the moment really helps your child to learn new words and their usage.
  • Read and sing nursery rhymes. Songs with actions or that require him/her to point to parts of his/her body, are an added plus.
  • Describing what you see when you take a walk together, or reading to your child are good ways of expanding his/her vocabulary.
  • You will notice your child’s growing memory when he/she begins to protest if you skip pages! Yes, your toddler does recall the story, and he/she wants you to read it properly.

When to Talk to Your Doctor

If your child,

  • Is unable to say even a couple of words.
  • Does not respond consistently to his/her name or instructions.

Health and Nutrition

18 month old development and milestones

18 month old development and milestones: Can your toddler feed himself? Image source: File photo

Your child should be offered four small meals per day (¾ to full cup/bowl of food, per meal), plus breastfeeds, and one to two snacks if needed. Typically, the calorie intake for boys and girls of this age are as follows:

  • Boys: 890.1 Kcal/day
  • Girls: 863.4 Kcal/day

To meet daily nutrition needs, your toddler’s diet should be composed of the following:

Protein

To maintain healthy growth and development, your child needs approximately 25 grams of protein every day, along with other nutrients. What does 25 grams of protein look like? A piece of chicken, turkey or fish the size of your own palm, or a piece of red meat or pork the size of a 10 year old child’s palm, or four to five tablespoons of dry beans or peas, or one egg, or five to size cubes of tofu. Opt for lean red meat and avoid processed meats like sausages and ham whenever possible. 

Fruits

Your child needs about three cups (100g/cup) of fruits every day. The best way to offer fruit is in variety and cut into small chunks or cubes so your baby can eat them easily and without choking. Some favourite (and healthy) options are avocado, bananas, papaya, pears, apples and berries. Avoid canned and dried fruit if possible as they are high in sugar. 

Vegetables

We can’t stress how important a good mix of vegetables are to ensuring your child’s optimum health and development. At this stage, your child requires 1.5 cups (25g each) of vegetables every day. Offer a “rainbow on a plate” when it comes to vegetables. Pick vegetables that represent different colours like orange (carrot, sweet potato, pumpkin), purple (purple cabbage), red (beetroot, tomato), yellow (squash), and green (spinach, brocolli, kale, bok choy). If buying canned or frozen vegetables, look for options lower in sodium.

Grains

Grains are important in maintaining your child’s healthy digestive system. Your child now needs around  3 ounces of grains every day. One ounce of grains equals one slice of whole grain or whole meal bread, or one cup of ready-to-eat cereal, or half (1/2) cup of cooked pasta or cooked oatmeal, or half (1/2) cup of brown rice. 

Limit refined grains such as white bread, pasta and rice as they offer little in nutritional value. 

Toddler development and milestones: your 18 month old

Milk/Dairy

Your child should drink a minimum of 400-700 ml (16-24 ounces) of milk a day. If this is breastmilk, even better. Otherwise, your child is now big enough to drink fresh, fullcream cow’s milk. Other good sources od dairy are full-fat yoghurt and cheese (but watch the salt content). 

In a nutshell, here’s what your child needs every day (refer above for what the amounts look like):

  • Fruits: 3 cups for boys; 3 cups for girls 
  • Vegetables: 1.5 cups for boys; 1.5 cups for girls
  • Grains: 3 ounces for boys; 3 ounces for girls
  • Proteins: 25g for boys; 25g for girls  
  • Milk: 16 to 24 ounces for boys; 16 to 24 ounces for girls
  • Water: 1200 ml for boys; 1200 ml for girls

Tips

  • As your child is exploring his/her boundaries, you could be facing struggles around food and meal time. A good rule of thumb is: You decide what and when food is served, but the child decides how much to eat.
  • As long as you provide your toddler with a variety of wholesome, nutritious foods at meals and snacks, he/she should be fine. If  eats little one day, he will usually make up for it the next!
  • While toddlers can be notoriously fussy especially when it comes to veggies, don’t be disheartened! Keep offering a variety of vegetables. Add a mix of veggies to recipes like home-made fried rice or noodles, fritters and even pancakes and waffles.
  • Avoid juices and fizzy drinks. While you might think juice is healthy, it can actually contain a lot of sugar, especially if shop-bought. Whole, fresh fruit is best.
  • If you child is eating on his/her own, prevent choking risks by making sure his/her food is not too hard, and is cut into small chunks or pieces.
  • Avoid food high in salt and sugar. Of course, it is perfectly okay if once in a while your little one eats along with you at a restaurant or outside of home.
  • Save the sweets, cake and ice cream as special treats or rewards.

When to see a doctor

If your child,

  • Throws up after each or most meals.
  • Refuses completely to try new foods.
  • Is losing weight.

Vaccinations and Common Illnesses

To find out what vaccinations your child should have gotten up to now, and check if this schedule is up-to-date, click here.

These are the immunisations to introduce to your child this month:

  • DTaP – 1st booster: Immunisation against Diphtheria, Pertussis & Tetanus
  • IPV – 1st booster: Immunisation against Poliomyelitis
  • Hib – 1st booster: Haemophilus influenza type b vaccine
  • MMR – 2nd dose : Immunisation against Measles, Mumps & Rubella ( can be given between 15-18 months)

Even with a complete vaccination record, your child might still catch colds, the flu and other common illnesses like hand, foot and mouth disease , or throat irritations.

Getting sick is an inevitable part of growing up and serves to strengthen your child’s immune system. And while you can’t completely stop him/her from falling sick, you can help prevent many common illnesses by following basic hygiene practices, like hand-washing or covering the mouth when sneezing/coughing.

You should not medicate your child yourself unless you are a doctor. It’s best to check in with a paediatrician even for common illnesses in your little one and stick to the instructions given by the doctor. This includes medication dosages. You could, however, ease certain symptoms in your child with gentle home remedies.

For fever control, apply a damp washcloth or spong to your child’s armpits, forehead and groin area. To help ease a congested nose, elevate your little one’s mattress from below (the side where his/her head is) or use a saline spray. A warm chicken broth is a good pick-me-up for most common illnesses.

Tips

  • In any illness, it is important that your child stays hydrated to prevent dehydration.
  • Don’t over-dress or over-heat your child for a fever. Instead, dress him/her in light, cotton clothing and keep the room cool.
  • If antibiotics are prescribed for your toddler by the doctor, ensure you finish the whole course, even if your child seems to be better.
  • Breastfeeding can offer lots of comfort and nutrition to a sick child.
  • If your child hits his/her head, immediately apply an ice pack (wrapped in a clean cloth) to the affected area. This will reduce bruising and help prevent a bump.

When to Talk to Your Doctor

If your child,

  • Has a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or above.
  • Breaks out in an unusual rash.
  • Hits his/her head very hard.
  • Seems listless or very quiet.
  • Has dry, parched lips or does not urinate at least two to three times a day.
  • Has diarrhea or vomiting for more than two days.

*Please note that development milestones vary from child to child. If you have any concerns regarding your little one’s growth, do not hesitate to consult your paediatrician. 

 

*Disclaimer: This is the median length and weight, and head circumference according to WHO standards.

 

Source: Toddler Development and Milestones: Your 1 Year and 6 Months Old Child

Reference: Kids Health, WebMD, FDA

READ: Hindi nakakatulong ang baby talk sa development ng bata

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