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Your Baby at 18 Months

Growth, Development and Milestones


Keeping up with a baby at 18 months can prove challenging for even the most energetic parents. With so many developmental achievements and milestones coming up, it’s important to know what to look for and what shouldn’t cause concern during this phase of baby growth.

baby yelling out to his brother

What Your Baby at 18 Months May Be Doing

During this phase of your child’s development, he or she may start to:

  • “Parrot” or mimic sounds and phrases
  • Start referring to himself by name
  • Crawl up small steps or stairs and successfully climb down them going backwards

Beyond motor and verbal skills, your baby at 18 months is also rapidly increasing her cognitive abilities as well. At this phase of baby development, your little one may actually be understanding up to 10 times more than than she can put into words. Yes, 10 times! Additionally, as your child starts turning the corner toward two, you may find that he’s starting to shed his “baby” look; longer, stronger arms and legs as well as a leaner overall physique can all make your little one start to seem more toddler than baby during this time.

Sleep Problems Are Common for a Baby at 18 Months

Feel like your baby who was once easy to put down is now resisting her bedtime routine? It’s probably nothing to worry about. It’s not uncommon for a baby at 18 months to have a tough time maintaining a consistent sleep schedule. Some children may outright refuse to settle into bed, while others may suddenly stop sleeping through the night.

While many parents fear that this sudden sleep disruption may be a sign of a development or growth issue, it’s usually just a normal transitionary phase. Whether your little one is struggling with the idea of confinement or simply asserting some newfound toddler independence (or a combination of both!), consistency is the key to navigating through this phase of baby growth and development. Patiently, calmly, and firmly continue with your bedtime schedule until your child can readjust to the nightly routine.

Helping Your Baby at 18 Months Learn and Grow

Looking for ways to help with the development of your baby at 18 months? Try some of these tips and suggestions for fun ideas to engage with your child:

  • Piece together simple puzzles -- they are a great way to strengthen hand-eye coordination and build problem-solving abilities and motor skills
  • Move beyond crayons and introduce your child to drawing pictures with pencils -- you may be surprised how quickly he masters holding it between his first two fingers and thumb
  • Get messy! Children at this age love activities that use materials such as paints, sand, play doughs, and water; engaging with your little one using these items can deliver a well-rounded sensory experience as well as stimulate creative, imaginative and intellectual baby development

Concerned About Your Child’s Preference to Play Alone?

If you’re like most parents of 18-month-olds, you’ve probably noticed that she may enjoy solitary play over playing with others. While  you may prefer that your child engages with her peers, independent play is very common. In fact, many children often choose to play alone, starting from around 18 months until they near the three-year milestone.

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