18-19 Months

Follow these milestones to see how your baby aligns with these stages of development.

Click on the ‘+’ next to each week to see the descriptions

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Fine motor skills

• Picks up small objects with a pincer grip
• May start to grip and open a clothes peg by holding it in both hands
• Drops small objects through a tiny hole, for example, dropping a toothpick through the holes of a strainer
• May start to thread large beads with a shoelace

Gross motor skills

• Is walking confidently
• Needs to hold onto parent’s hand while climbing down stairs
• Enjoys pushing large toys or small chairs
• Enjoys climbing on the sofa
• Kicks a ball from a standing position
• Enjoys an obstacle course with elements of climbing and crawling

Communication and language development

• Vocabulary of approximately 20 words
• May start to say two-word phrases
• Starts to sing along to familiar tunes

Social and emotional interaction

• Cries hysterically when hearing loud noises, especially when parents are not around
• Anxious and emotional when parents leave

Cognitive development

• May sort 2 different colours in separate boxes
• May sort toys in different colours
• Names more than 5 body parts
• Stacks a tower with more than 5 blocks

Self-help and imitation skills

• May start imitating outfits and accessories of parents
• May insist on doing some self-help activities independently such as washing hands and putting on socks

19-20 Months

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Fine motor skills

• Can hold a bucket in one hand while picking up and dumping objects into the bucket with the other hand
• Enjoys screwing off small lids
• Draws finger scribbles in lotion or instant pudding on a tray

Gross motor skills

• Enjoys running activities
• Can sideways with limited assistance
• Enjoys throwing beanbags at a target
• May be able to balance on a ball in a sitting position while bobbing up and down
• Is able to do wheelbarrow walking for 2-3 metres

Communication and language development

• May understands as many as 200 words
• May start to put 2 words together
• Has a speaking vocabulary of 10-20 words
• When reading familiar books, allow toddler to fill in the missing words
• Enjoys listening to descriptive words when you explain familiar concepts like function, size, texture, etc.

Social and emotional interaction

• Enjoys imitating household chores
• Work = play, so allow toddler to help
• Loves to be included in household tasks like preparing meals, for example, handing veggies from the drawer
• Thrives on adoring adult affection

Cognitive development

• Is able to correctly identify familiar sounds that can be heard but not seen
• May enjoy playing with a shape sorting box
• May start to match toys that are the same shape or colour

Self-help and imitation skills

• Washes and dries hands
• Is aware of the urge to pee/poo and may start to experiment with the potty
• Points to corresponding picture in a book when you name an object

20-21 Months

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Fine motor skills

• Enjoys scribbling with crayons on paper
• Threads smaller objects like fruit loops into a skewer stick or toothpick
• May stack toys in arms and carry it around

Gross motor skills

• Starts to throw a ball overhead
• Starts to kick a ball forward
• Enjoys jumping activities
• Is able to walk backwards with assistance
• Enjoys pushing and pulling activities, for example, pushing a large box or doll pram around
• May participate in wheelbarrow-walking activities

Communication and language development

• Can use 2-word sentences – very understandable
• Loves imitating words and sounds
• Understands more than it seems; therefore, use plenty of descriptive words when communicating
• Can follow instructions, for example, fetching shoes or a toy in room
• Enjoys listening to mom or dad’s voice on the phone and may start to communicate with someone on the phone

Social and emotional interaction

• Starts imitative play by taking care of toys (feeding/cuddling/putting them to bed)
• May start to engage in fantasy dress up games

Cognitive development

• Knows what items are without being able to say the corresponding word
• Is becoming aware of sounds that cannot be seen like a dog barking/car hooter
• Is able to sort 3 colours
• Understands the concept of large and small and may start to stack rings or cups correctly with larger ones at the bottom and smaller ones at the top

Self-help and imitation skills

• Likes to be involved in simple chores
– Cleaning the table
– Putting blocks in basket
– Dusting
• Can use spoon and fork
• May start to potty train (girls usually master potty training first)
• Enjoys choosing own outfit for the day (give 2 options to choose from)

21-22 Months

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Fine motor skills

• May start to draw on paper (scribble)
• Copies a simple shape like a circle
• Uses blocks to build a tower (4 blocks)

Gross motor skills

• Balances on a log or balance beam
• Jumps on the trampoline (2 legs)
• Jumps from one block to the next
• Carries small chairs around
• Kicks a ball independently while standing

Communication and language development

• Sings songs with movements
• Uses 2 to 3-word sentences
• Pronounces words accurately
• Is able to find a familiar object with verbal instruction

Social and emotional interaction

• Likes things done their way – allow choices to accommodate, but make it clear that some behaviour will not be tolerated
• Sharing is not something that comes naturally at this age – “mine” is the norm
• Can incorporate the concept of taking turns – “my turn, your turn”
• Seems like a ‘revved-up’ ball of energy
• Encourage independence by letting toddler do things for himself/herself
• Can identify self on a photograph

Cognitive development

• Can name body parts on a doll
• Builds 2 to 3-piece puzzle
• Can find objects (pictures) in a book and point to them
• Can memorise 3 objects and identify them accurately when presented along with other objects
• Sorts blocks into colour and shape categories

Self-help and imitation skills

• Eats independently but still messy
• Drinks independently from a cup
• Uses a spoon and fork but still likes to eat with hands
• Shows interest in and may even start to use the toilet
• Starts with imaginative play
• Is able to partially dress, and undress a doll

22-23 Months

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Fine motor skills

• Loves to build towers with blocks
• Threads string through holes in a stable board like polystyrene or hardboard
• Enjoys poking and pinching playdough
• May be able to correctly position and paste stickers on paper

Gross motor skills

• Kicks a ball while standing and is able to maintain balance
• Is skilled at running but not stopping or turning corners
• Enjoys climbing over obstacles

Communication and language development

• Has a 20-word speaking vocabulary but understands much more
• May start using familiar phrases like “thank you” or “please” with the correct intonation and in the proper context
• Encourage speech by using rhymes or start with continued repetition of the same phrase and let toddler fill in the missing words, thus improving listening skills
• Enjoys stories that are personalised using toddler’s own name

Social and emotional interaction

• Is possessive of parents
• Likes to observe your reaction to their demands
• Likes to give plenty of love and affection; likes giving hugs
• May have feelings they cannot express; try to voice what he/she feels

Cognitive development

• Can name at least 5 body parts when prompted
• Recognises when a book is upside down
• When reading, allow toddler to point and name what he/she sees
• May be able to identify 3 shapes when asked to point at the correct one

Self-help and imitation skills

• Can ask for help when struggling with a task
• Can assist with household tasks
• Is able to put on socks and shoes with limited assistance
• Enjoys imitative fantasy play like nurturing or rocking a doll to sleep or pushing toy cars on the floor while making engine noises
• Enjoys packing own bag with toys and treasures

23-24 Months

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Fine motor skills

• Clips clothes pegs on a line
• Draws circular patterns
• Imitates simple shapes or drawings like a straight line on a piece of paper
• Can pour water from one cup to another

Gross motor skills

• Makes somersaults independently
• Likes to jump, run, twirl, tumble
• Can stand on tips of toes
• Can bend down without squatting
• Climbs up and down stairs by holding on
• Is able to hit a ball on the floor with a wooden spoon
• Can start riding a tricycle

Communication and language development

• Follows simple, 2-step instructions
• Has a vocabulary of at least 20 words
• Can make needs known with simple, 2 to 3-word sentences
• Start to progress to books with detailed pictures and ask more questions while you read
• Repeats words heard in conversation

Social and emotional interaction

• Wants to test limits but also wants to please you
• Teach the words that go with emotions; this will aid in the development of emotional intelligence
• May be clingy; talk about fears and explain the daily routine, for example, when dropping him/her off at school, give assurance that you will be back at a certain time
• Likes to entertain others by making funny faces

Cognitive development

• Is confident in sorting shapes
• Can remember well after several hours, for example, if something was left behind in the car
• Is confident in stacking a tower in the right sequence, for example, large to small
• Completes a 2 to 3-piece puzzle
• Knows that he/she is a separate entity when starting to name himself/herself or talk about “I”

Self-help and imitation skills

• Puts on own shirt head first
• May undress pants
• Mimics adult behaviour like drinking tea
• Is able to feed self
• Keep playdates short; 30-60 minutes
• Enjoys imitating self-help tasks like bathing a doll

These Developmental Milestones, ranging from birth to 36 months, are a combination of my own experience and knowledge as well as guidelines from THE BABY CENTER.