18 months


DTaP | HAV | Influenza


These skills tend to be quite variable. But at this age the typical child:

  • Walks fast, walks up stairs with one hand held and walks backward.
  • Sits in a small chair, climbs onto an adult chair.
  • Kicks and throws a ball.
  • Stacks three or four blocks, puts rings on a cone and dumps them then tries again.
  • Turns pages in a book, looks selectively at pictures and names some objects.
  • Uses a vocabulary of four to ten words with specificity.
  • Understands and follows some simple directions.
  • Points to body parts on request.
  • Pulls a toy.
  • Feeds self, uses a spoon and holds/drinks from a cup.
  • Dumps a raisin from a bottle without being shown how to do it.
  • Holds and shows affection toward a doll or stuffed animal.
  • May use a household toy (telephone) appropriately.
  • Puckers lips and kisses parent.


Injury prevention is proactive. Consider the following:

  • Use appropriate car restraints.
  • Ensure stair and window safety.
  • Supervise all play near street or in driveway.
  • Never leave child unattended in car or alone in house.
  • Guard against falls.
  • Never leave a toddler unsupervised near water (pools, bathtubs, wells or bathrooms).
  • Guard against electrical injury by using socket covers, cord retracters.
  • Knowing how to "swim" does not make a toddler "water-safe."
  • Avoid serving food that your child can choke on (nuts, gum, popcorn).


These activities provide good examples for modeling important skills and encourage your child to grow in a healthy and happy way:

  • Read with your child and discuss picture books.
  • Talk at the table during meals.
  • Have your child play with interactive toys such as ones they can push or musical toys.
  • Provide age-appropriate peers for playing.
  • Provide space and encouragement for physical activity.
  • Limit television.
  • Offer praise.
  • Show affection, affirm your child with both words and touch throughout the day.
  • Establish a bedtime ritual.


Health maintenance is essential to a child's well-being:

  • Brush teeth twice a day with water. Avoid fluoridated toothpaste at this age.
  • Perform frequent hand washing.
  • Don't share cups, toothbrushes or eating utensils.


Good nutrition is essential to a growing body. Tips include:

  • Encourage regular family gatherings and conversation at meals.
  • Discourage unhealthy snacks.
  • Likes and dislikes change rapidly and dramatically.
  • May eat one good meal a day.
  • Mealtime should not be battle time.
  • Continue fluoride supplementation if appropriate.


  • Childhood behavior may go from one extreme to another. This age is no exception:
  • Allow your child to make some simple choices.
  • Parents should agree on expectations and management.
  • Set limits.
  • Follow through consistently.
  • Reinforce self-care and self-expression.
  • Praise good work and independence.
  • Self-comforting behaviors such as thumb-sucking, masturbation or use of a favorite toy is a natural way of handling tension and stress.
  • Night fears occur.
  • Naps may decrease.


The following items may be useful:

  • Clark, Jean Illsloy. Self-esteem, A Family Affair
  • Ginott, Chaim G. Between Parent and Child
  • Gordon, Thomas. Parent Effectiveness Training. McKay, 1970.
  • Mitchell, Grace. A Very Practical Guide to Discipline With Young Children. Telshare Publ., Inc. MA, 1982.
  • Sears, William. Creative Parenting. Dodd, 1983.

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