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Your Child's Development: 1.5 Years (18 Months)

You may have noticed that your toddler's growth has slowed a bit since the first year of life. Babies grow at what seems like lightning pace, but toddlers grow at a much slower rate.

While it might look as if little has changed on the outside, your toddler is making strides each day in language development, learning, balance, and coordination.

Doctors use certain milestones to tell if a toddler is developing as expected. There's a wide range of what's considered normal, so some children gain skills earlier or later than others. Toddlers who were born prematurely reach milestones later. Always talk with your doctor about your child's progress.

Here are some things your toddler might be doing:

Communication and Language Skills

  • says 10 to 20 words
  • understands one-step commands ("Pick up the toy.")
  • can point to some body parts ("Where is your nose?")

Movement and Physical Development 

  • runs
  • walks up stairs with hand held
  • throws a ball
  • takes off some clothes
  • scribbles with a crayon

Social and Emotional Development

  • begins to engage in pretend play 
  • laughs in response to others
  • shows affection 
  • asserts himself or herself verbally or through angry tantrums

Cognitive Skills (Thinking and Learning)

  • knows the name of favorite toys
  • names objects or actions in a picture book
  • imitates household tasks, such as cooking 
  • can match pairs of objects

When to Talk to Your Doctor

Every child develops at his or her own pace, but certain signs could indicate a delay in development. Talk to your doctor if your child:

  • doesn't walk
  • doesn't make eye contact or gesture to items of interest
  • speaks fewer than five words
  • doesn't understand simple requests

Also, if you ever notice that your child has lost skills he or she once had or shows weakness on one side of the body, tell your doctor.

Date reviewed: June 2016

Note: All information on KidsHealth® is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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