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12 Important Toddler Milestones To Reach By 18-Months Old

Unsplash / David Straight

As a parent, you’re on a very long journey with your kid marked by important milestones. That might not sound particularly fun considering long journeys with kids generally involve seat kicking, crying and constant questions about your ETA. And, it’s true, parenting will include tears and annoying times. But at least you get some comeuppance by being the one to always ask, “Are you there yet?”

So now your kid is a toddler, it’s time to see if they’re on the right track. Here are all the things they should be able to do around 18 months.

An Important Note

Milestones are important, but every kid develops at their own pace. Try not to panic if your kid doesn’t seem to have some of this stuff down. They will get there in their own time. Or they might be advanced with some of these while being behind in others. It’s totally okay.

The Physical

Toddlerhood is all about discovering movement and coordination. Here’s an easy way to tell if your toddler is on the right track for physical development: Are you completely exhausted from chasing them down before they kill themselves with some dangerous object they’ve found and are now gleefully brandishing? Yep. They’re good. Here are some other things they should be able to do:

  • Run: Better get a nice pair of track shoes. You’ll need them. If your kid is being a slow poke you can kick them into running mode by playing games like tag. Though why you want them in running mode is anyone’s guess.
  • Throw And Kick: They can launch a ball at your face. It makes them laugh! They can kick the cat. This also makes them laugh! You and the cat are now always commiserating about being bullied.
  • Undressing: They may not have the ability to put stuff on, but boy do they love to go au natural. Just hope they don’t do it in a parking lot.
  • Dance: It’s not Dancing With The Stars level rug cutting, but take at look at your own damn self at the next family wedding before you judge. Alright, Astaire?
  • Push And Pull: They can pull their poor stuffed animal around by a leg and they can push the door open while you’re trying to take a dump. Huzzah!
  • Independent Eating: They can sip from a cup and they can use a spoon. But being able to do something is not the same as wanting to. So, keep the tarp down.

The Mental

Your kid is finding out how their brain works. It’s tumultuous and weird. And you’re going to bear the brunt of all of it. So you better start getting good at managing your own emotions while they’re trying out theirs.

  • Following Directions: They should be able to follow simple instructions, though they probably often choose not to. Don’t take it personally.
  • Tantrums: Will probably start happening for totally dumb reasons. Try to nip it in the bud with “negotiation.”
  • Simple Sentences: “Poppa toots.” It’s not like it isn’t true!
  • Playing Pretend: It will be simple, but they will be able to do stuff like pretending to feed their stuffed dog. You’ll probably need to wash the stuffed dog more often.
  • Pointing: They’ll point to show you what they want, what they find interesting, and to judge with their toddler judginess.
  • Building Independence: They’re now learning that they are an individual. And that knowledge will lead them to want to do stuff on their own. Let them get into it, unless it’s something like driving a car or making a Baked Alaska.

A Note On Regression

Sometimes your kid might start doing something really cool and then suddenly seem to go back to babyhood. This is totally normal. Being a toddler can get really overwhelming. Hey, even you want your mommy sometimes when things get stressful.

When To See A Pediatrician

If your kid still can’t walk at 18 months, has no more than 6 words or seems to not care if your or your partner leave or return to the room they’re in, these can be signs of delays. If you are worried, there’s no harm in asking a pediatrician. You can also start by checking out this page from the Center For Disease Control.