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Your little bundle of joy is now 18 months old! All you can see him doing is roaming around in the house all day long. This is a very confusing time for both the toddler and the parents because for you he is still your little baby, but as far as your toddler is concerned, he thinks himself to be independent and all ready to explore the world. Here in the following article, we shall discuss what is going on in terms of growth and development in your 18-month-old baby.
18 Month Old Toddler’s Development
You may have noticed that your toddler may not be growing at a lightning-fast speed in comparison to his first year. The growth is happening but at a slower pace and here are some common 18-month milestones that your baby may achieve:
There are many physical changes that are happening with your baby. Your 18 months baby weight can range from 22.4 to 26 pounds in boys and 20.8 to 24.5 pounds in girls.
- Your baby is able to run.
- Your baby is able to catch and throw a ball.
- Your baby is able to climb up and down the stairs by holding your hand.
- Your baby is able to scribble with colours and crayons.
- Your baby may even remove his own clothes.
- Your baby is able to sip from his drinking cup and may even feed himself.
- Your baby is able to pull out toys for playing while moving around.
Social and Emotional Development
Your toddler is feeling and experiencing various emotions at this age and here are some of the skills that your baby may have developed by 18 months of age:
- Your baby is able to express love and affection.
- Your baby may throw tantrums when upset or anxious.
- Your baby is all curious by this age and wishes to explore everything around him.
- Your baby may become too attached to you and exhibit separation anxiety symptoms.
- Your baby may show his annoyance and displeasure.
- Your baby may laugh and giggle as a response to others.
Cognitive and Language Development
You will notice the following cognitive and language developmental skills in your 18-month-old baby:
- Your baby understands and responds to one-word verbal commands.
- Your baby is able to speak 10 to 20 words.
- Your baby can relate to his body parts and can even point at them when asked to do.
- Your baby remembers his favourite toys.
- Your baby is a copycat and may imitate your actions such as talking on the phone, etc.
- Your baby can match up similar objects.
- Your baby may identify actions or objects in a picture book.
Your toddler is becoming more aware and adamant by this age, and he knows how he can get his way through. Your baby has a stronger will by this time and may fuss and throw tantrums if he does get what he wants. He also knows how to gain your attention. You may still be using a diaper for your baby, but this is the right time to start toilet training. He may even want to copy elder siblings by wanting to sit on the potty seat.
Food and Nutrition
Your toddler is growing and so are his nutritional needs. You can make him sit on his baby seat and have meals with the rest of the family members. Even if your baby does not eat much on his own or plays with food at the family mealtime, he is learning that he has to eventually do this as he grows up. Try not to pay attention or heed if he is not eating while sitting with the rest of the family members and appreciate when he finishes his meal. This way he will know what is he expected to do.
Make sure you include all food groups in your baby’s diet plan. By this age, your baby requires three main meals and two to three snacks in a day. It is also advisable to include full-fat milk for better brain development. If your baby resents certain food items, do not force-feed. But make sure you introduce that food item after a few days in another form.
If your baby is still on a bottle, now is the time to switch to the Sippy cup. Also if your baby is lactose intolerant, you may try giving soy milk to your baby. Be careful about food allergies and therefore it is recommended to try one food item at a time to see how your baby reacts to it.
Some parents may find it extremely difficult to put their toddler to sleep. This is because he is so excited to explore everything around him that sleep holds last priority. Your baby may be tired and exhausted but still, deny going to sleep. Under such circumstances, the best thing that you can do is to remove or reduce the distractions at the time of sleep. Also, make a sleep schedule and stick to it, so that the baby knows what time every day he is expected to rest and sleep. Do not put TV, loud music or have other siblings to cause any kind of distraction.
All said and done, the sleep pattern of your baby is not that bad, it is just how you perceive and plan it. Your baby may be sleeping for approximately 10 to 11 hours at night and maybe taking two to three short naps during the day. Make sure you stick to your baby’s sleep schedule so that your baby gets in the habit of sleeping on time.
Play and Activities
All your toddler wants to do by this age is play all day long. He wants to play with you, his siblings and even your pet. But the concern here is that your toddler gets bored too soon and then fusses over it. How can you engage your child in a manner that he is happy and cheerful? Here we have some exciting and fun activities that you can engage your toddler in:
- Be on the Line: Make a line using duct tape or coloured chalk on the floor and ask your baby to walk straight on it. If he fumbles say few words to pep up his confidence. This is a very good game to help your kid work on his muscle control and balance.
- Throw the Ball in the Bucket: This is a great activity to enhance your toddler’s fine motor skills and also keep him occupied fruitfully. You may play this game indoors or even outdoors. Make a line and make your baby stand behind the line. Place a bucket (preferably with a wide mouth) approximately 3 feet away from your baby and help him throw the ball into the bucket.
- Passing the Ball: Kids of all age groups love to play with a ball. Your baby can never get bored or tired of playing with a ball. You may sit on the floor with your baby and keep passing the ball to each other. You can bring in variations in this game by tipping the ball on the floor or by throwing the ball at different heights.
- Treasure Box: This is a very exciting activity to help your toddler work upon his memory skills. You can place his favourite toy in a box with other toys and ask him to go and find it. This game will be extremely exciting for your baby.
- Make Some Music: You may buy various musical instruments such as a drum, xylophone, rattles, etc. for your baby and play the instruments with your baby. Rather it will be more fun if the whole family comes together and enjoy this activity together. Your baby will learn about music, coordination and rhythm with this activity.
There are many games and activities like this that you can plan with your toddler.
Tips for Parents
Here are some tips for the parents of 18-month-old babies:
- It is very important to take care of the nutritional needs of your baby. If your baby is a fussy eater or he is not gaining weight, seek your doctor’s advice on the same.
- Make a comfortable and cosy sleeping place for your baby and remove all possible distractions. Your baby is exerting too much during the day and thus requires a peaceful night’s sleep to be able to start afresh the next day.
- Make your baby wear shoes whenever he steps out of the house.
- Do not miss any of your baby’s routine check-ups with the doctor and get all his vaccinations on time.
- It is very important to toilet train your baby by this age, however, do not force or embarrass your baby.
- It is important that you try and instil some simple rules and discipline for your toddler. Do not succumb to all his demands and tell him NO, once in a while. If he throws tantrums, try and ignore.
- Be careful with your kid around pets. He is not old enough to handle animals and may cause harm to the animal or himself.
- If you are still breastfeeding your baby and both you and your baby are comfortable with it, then there is no reason to stop.
Consult a Doctor If
The above-mentioned parameters are some commonly achieved parameters by the toddlers of this age. However, it is not necessary that every kid follows the same time and pattern. It is absolutely normal for your baby to achieve these milestones sooner or later than this. But sometimes you may notice your baby lagging way behind, such as:
- Your baby is not able to speak or speaks less than five words.
- Your baby is unable to walk, even with support.
- Your baby is not able to understand simple requests and commands.
- Your baby seems disinterested and does not make eye contacts.
If you notice any of the above-mentioned symptoms or any other unusual symptoms in your baby, it is recommended that you consult your doctor as soon as possible for the same.
Also read: 10 Moral Values You Must Teach Your Kids