In those foggy earliest days of parenthood, time seemed to slowly crawl by. Each hour presented its own set of wonders. With each day, and night, came new sets of challenges. The hours were slow and the days seemed infinite. Yet the weeks and months go fast. One day, you wake up and you have an 18-month old. Your little baby is now looking a lot less like a “baby” and a lot more like a real “kid”. With toddlerdom on the direct horizon, you will find your child developing their own personality, complete with quirks, voices, and movements. Of course, every kid is different, but here are 11 things to expect now that your baby….or, rather, your child, is 18-months-old.
By 18-months of age, most children are fully able to stand from a crawling position without any assistance. They can walk by themselves and are moving faster and exploring more. Some may try to jump – either on the spot or from relatively short heights. Others may move fast enough for it to be considered a trot, or even run. Most will suffer bumps and bruises from moving quicker than their little legs can carry them.
Toddlers will now acknowledge that they have grown out of certain “baby” toys. They may push them away. They may also ignore toys that are too challenging. Many will engage in parallel play with other children the same age. Some are able to stack at least 3 blocks together, or even more. They enjoy imagination games and like to play copy cat games. Continue to challenge your child at this age to keep playtime fun and exciting.
By this age, many children have already “cut” their first teeth. Kids and adults alike have experienced teething by this stage. But it’s not over yet! Around 18-months of age, the first molars will start to appear. Generally the top and bottom molars will come in at around the same time. Kids may also get their canine teeth, or “eye teeth”. Teeth usually emerge in pairs on each side. These baby teeth are not only smaller than permanent teeth, but brighter and whiter too!
Those crazy growth spurts have slowed down, but rest assured, your child continues to grow every day. No longer measured by length, your kid is now measured by height, just like the big kids. Expect your child to gain 3-5 lbs between the first two years of life, and grow 3-5 inches. Their head circumference will also increase, with their head continuing to seem large in proportion to the rest of their body.
Many toddlers this age have already given up their morning naps. And for many more, the afternoon nap is about to go too. Sleep regression, wherein a formerly fabulous sleeper suddenly resists being put down to sleep or nap is common at the 18-month mark. Unlike earlier sleep milestones, the 18-month regression can be the most difficult, as it is at this age that your child will show more willfulness and defiance. Naturally, less sleep can also lead to more crankiness. Rest assured, you and your child will get through it.
An 18-month old can now join in and eat the same foods as the rest of the family. However, be aware of certain choking hazards such as grapes and popcorn. Cut portions into smaller sizes so your child can feed him or herself. Your toddler’s fine motor skills have developed enough for them to be able to use a spoon or maybe even a fork. They will also be able to hold their own cup. Do not force feed your toddler. It is at this age that they try to exert their independence and one way of doing so is by refusing certain foods.
At this age, children have developed a sense of self and are able to see themselves as totally separate entities. Some may develop separation anxiety, become nervous around new people or even be afraid of strangers. They are now able to find items that may have been moved to a different place, and to understand where things “belong”. They will also understand how to use things for the correct purpose, such as a brush or comb for hair, holding a telephone to the ear, etc.
By 18-months, your sweet baby has turned into a full-blown, high-energy toddler. Kids this age are often impulsive and almost always unpredictable. They are governed by emotion, rather than reason. They may have tantrums because either they cannot tell you what they want or need, or because they’re over-tired. They may try to exert their independence, or become defiant when it comes to meals and bedtimes.
Your child understands a lot more than you think. In fact, many children will now understand 10-times more than what they are able to put into words. They may point to what they want, or use grunts and gestures to communicate. They may know the names of people or objects. Many children have their own language, a mix of made-up jargon and “real” words. Continue to name things, read and sing songs to enhance language and assist with verbal communication.
Fine motor skills continue to improve, and children this age will get into everything! They can now remove and replace lids, and can often be seen using their senses to explore by sight, touch and taste! They will pull pots and pans out of cupboards and put things in their mouths that perhaps they should not. If you haven’t child-proofed your home, be sure to do so. They can get into everything at this age – and they will!
1. New tricks
Toddlers are great at mimicking behavior. Don’t be surprised to see your child trying to act just like Mom or Dad. Some may understand the concept of numbers and counting, and many will be able to follow two-step instructions or requests. Colors will be clearer and most will be able to point out and differentiate between colors in books and in their environments. Many will know the parts of the body and be able to point them out.