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Developmentally Appropriate Behaviors for an 18-Month-Old-Child

by Karen Hellesvig-Gaskell

The behaviors of an 18-month old seem to be changing on a daily -- if not hourly -- basis, as the 18-month old becomes less "babyish." During the second year of life you can expect your toddler to strive for and reach a number of significant developmental milestones. One thing is certain -- your18-month old's progress will be a delight to watch.

Gross and Fine Motor Improvement

Now that an18-month-old has been walking for at least six months, she'll repeatedly take a stab at running. Running often ends with a fall, since her confidence is greater than her coordination. An 18-month-old child can stand from a crawling position without support from a wall, furniture or your hand. An 18-month old can proudly sit down by himself, assuming that the chair is small enough. By 18 months, a toddler's fine motor skills have improved. She can use her hands and fingers with greater proficiency, and building a tower of two to four blocks is no problem. Self-feeding is underway now that your tot knows how to use a spoon and a cup. She can turn a knob, push a button and move a handle; she can take off her own socks, hats and gloves, and is able to turn three pages of a book at a time.

Cognitive and Language Skills

The typical 18-month-old sees herself as separate from others, and has acquired a sense of ownership; she lets you know she recognizes objects and people with the word "my." The word "My" is one of about 10 words in the typical 18-month-old's vocabulary. She shakes her head "no" and points to an object she desires, explains the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Your tot can probably find an object you've hidden if she saw you move it from one spot to another. For example, you may hide a letter block under her pillow; once she uncovers it she will find it again when she sees you sneak it under a blanket on the sofa. An 18-month knows what a comb, telephone, bowl and other common household items are for. She can also follow a one-step request such as, "Come here" or "Sit down."

Social and Emotional Strides

An 18-month-old isn't particularly interested in interacting with other kids, but he does enjoy "doing his own thing" while alongside other children. Toddlers at this age are not shy about showing off something they're proud of, whether it's a line drawn on a piece of paper or finishing the last drop of juice in his cup. A fear of strangers tends to erupt during this stage of development, as do temper tantrums. At the same time, an 18-month-old can be very affectionate toward the people he knows and loves.

Considerations

By 18-months, morning naps are shorter or are a thing of the past. An 18-month-old has the ability to control muscles used for bowel movements and urination, but he may not be ready for potty training. Emotional readiness -- a positive attitude and a desire to give up the diapers -- is essential for successful toilet training, which may not occur until at age 2 or later.

About the Author

Karen Hellesvig-Gaskell is a broadcast journalist who began writing professionally in 1980. Her writing focuses on parenting and health, and has appeared in “Spirituality & Health Magazine" and “Essential Wellness.” Hellesvig-Gaskell has worked with autistic children at the Fraser School in Minneapolis and as a child care assistant for toddlers and preschoolers at the International School of Minnesota, Eden Prairie.

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