20 Months Old: Baby Growth, Development, Food & Activities

20 Months Old Baby Growth and Development

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Gunjan Baweja (Paediatrician)
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Your toddler becomes a copying machine and mimics every move you make when he turns 20 months old. From mimicking the tone and pitch of your voice to re-enacting your favourite gestures, he is slowly but steadily absorbing a multitude of hearing and gross motor skills through the art of imitation.

Video: 20 Month Old Baby’s Growth and Development

20-Month-Old Toddler Development

Some signs of separation anxiety are displayed amongst toddlers of this age. However, your young one will slowly get used to your daily routines such as leaving for work and returning home in the evenings. It’s important to shower love and affection before leaving and after returning so that they feel safe and realize that a little bit of quiet or alone time at home is healthy and not bad for them.

Physical Development

The following are the physical 20-month-old milestones for toddlers-

  • The ideal weight for boys at this age is 11.3 kg while for girls it is 10.7 kg. According to WHO standards, boys should reach 84.2 cm of height while girls are expected to be 82.8 cm tall.
  • Your toddler should experience 20/20 vision by now and be able to observe the world around him. Hand-eye coordination will go hand-in-hand with their vision development as they’re able to stack blocks and throw things around with accuracy.
  • Your munchkin will slowly show interest in drawing and doodling. Drawing and doodling are a sign that their fine motor skill development is on track. Gross motor development takes place too as they practice how to walk, crawl, sit and move around like you.

Social and Emotional Development

The social and emotional milestones found in 20 months old kids are-

  • Parallel play is a common characteristic amongst toddlers of this age. Your young one may not play along with others but won’t mind sharing the room and being in his own world.
  • Biting and pushing others away are common at this age. Your little one’s sense of impulse control has not fully matured yet which may make it difficult for her to share and be giving to others.
  • Your young one will constantly love saying ‘no’ to you. This isn’t an act of defiance but of affirmation, since it means that she trusts you and is just testing your boundaries.
  • Your toddler will enjoy symbolic play activities such as bathing the doll and mimicking others.
  • Your toddler may enjoy playing with others and slowly show signs of sharing and interacting with other kids. This is an evolution from parallel play as he learns how to socially bond with others.

Social and Emotional Development

Cognitive and Language Development

Your toddler will start exhibiting signs of intellectual and linguistic development. Here’s a 20-month-old development checklist-

  • Your toddler will slowly stop babbling and start taking, so it’s time to get your gears running. Slowly transition to teaching him how to talk or pronounce words. Point him to different objects and label them individually.
  • Your toddler will understand what you say and have a vocabulary of 12 to 15 words or more.
  • Your toddler will be very curious about everyday tasks and will most want to lend a helping hand. Assign her simple tasks like setting spoons on the plate or dismantling toys and trying to put them back together.
  • Ask your toddler to get you a pair of pyjamas from the living room, and she’ll exactly do just that. Your toddler will understand simple instructions and learn more complex ones as her vocabulary expands.


Your toddler may crave a lot of affection at this age and mimic you. He may try feeding his stuffed animals with bananas and snacks or mimic you wearing your shoes. You’re his role model at this age and imitating your actions shouldn’t be so surprised at this point. Some kids may ask for cuddles and hugs often, and that’s normal. Be sure to give him adequate attention too and interact with them. Some kids may not be as angelic as they sound and may throw temper tantrums or sudden fits of anger. This is known as the ‘Terrible Twos’ which is described as below.

Terrible Twos

The terrible twos is a rite of passage every, if not, most parents, go through. The terrible twos manifest in the form of assertive or dominative behaviour. For instance, your toddler may straight-up lying down on the middle of the road if you don’t buy him his desired toy or push you across your mental edge by refusing to eat what you give him. He may ask you for things he may not even want just for the sake of testing his authority and its limits over you.

Terrible Twos

Food and Nutrition

As a parent, it’s important to make sure that your toddler doesn’t suffer from “Nature Deficit Disorder.” Spending time outdoors, going camping and picnics or grilling vegetables outdoors is an amazing mood-lifter and learning activity. Show your toddler where vegetables come from and how seeds are planted/harvested. Introduce them to the gist of farming and teach them how to fish. Link what they are eating on their plates to where those foods come from. Teach them about water too and how to check its quality. From turning on taps to putting food on their plates, establishing healthy eating habits begins from building a foundational understanding of food and nutrition, in general. Your toddler will be less hesitant to eat 20-month-old baby food once he understands its importance a little.


Establishing proper bedtime routines is a cornerstone for a 20-month-old. Your toddler will likely begin to establish a proper sleeping routine, and if he hasn’t already, then we suggest you begin to incorporate it. Try to wean them off of rocking and cradling them off to sleep. Show them how to settle themselves on their own during bedtimes by using a blanket or singing lullabies. We don’t quite recommend allowing them to watch TV 30 minutes before bedtime since it may disrupt sleep patterns and interfere with having a restful sleep.

Play and Activities

Some games and 20-month-old baby activities you can try with your toddler are-

  • If you are a visual artist, you can teach your little one how to sketch, paint and doodle. Your toddler will be able to draw a straight line by now, and this is the perfect age to start honing their sense of fine motor control through drawing and painting.
  • If your toddler hates the concept of sharing or playing with others, play ‘kick the ball’ with him or get the two siblings to play together. Your kid will surely notice the benefits of sharing a game/activity and will want to join in on the fun.
  • Take an object (or toy) in your hand, slowly close it and bring your hands behind your back. Now bring them to your front and ask them which hand has the object.

Tips for Parents

Here are some tips you can incorporate to make a positive impact on your toddler’s growth and development-

  • Set boundaries, period. If an older sibling sets a bad example and the younger one copies him, dissuade the older one from repeating it again and explain how it hurts/harms others. If there are no siblings, be gentle with your little one and explain how aggressive behaviour is not acceptable in general since it is hurtful.
  • Play games with your little one. Teach your young one to play games, both indoors and outdoors. This will stimulate his brain, give him a new experience and foster cognitive and emotional development.
  • Ensure that your little one is fed on time and also that he doesn’t skip any meals.
  • Establish a proper bedtime routine and make sure other daily routines are kept in place (like playtime, going to daycare, visiting the park, etc.)
  • Clean up in one go at the end of the day. This will save your sanity and make de-cluttering a lot easier.
  • Praise your toddler when appropriate to reinforce positive behaviours and diminish negative ones.

Tips for Parents

Consult a Doctor If

You should consult a doctor if-

  • You notice any signs of developmental delays, especially physical ones.
  • Your toddler is silent all the time and doesn’t talk.
  • Your toddler doesn’t play with others or by himself and displays a lack of interest in games and fun activities.
  • Your toddler has a lack of appetite and refuses to eat anything you give him and doesn’t crave foods either.
  • Your toddler is still babbling or is not able to understand simple instructions given by you.
  • Your 20-month-old baby weight is not according to WHO standards/guidelines.

There are no fixed ways of bringing up a child. Every toddler is unique, and every child grows at their own pace. But this is a very important age as any red flag sign noticed can be a marker to some major problem and early intervention will lead to a better prognosis. The key is to be positive, patient and give them ample of time, love and nourishment. Set healthy habits in place and aim for moderation and balance in every aspect of their lives. You’ll surely notice your young one starting to be healthy and that, in itself, will foster growth and development in every area of their lives.

Also Read: 10 Common Toddler Behaviour Problems & Their Solutions

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