18 month old milestones

moving your child out of their cot

The 18 month old milestones will surprise you by just how much your toddler is able to grow and develop in a matter of weeks.

Communicating with words and short sentences, and managing to move around and be independent, your little one is beginning to exert their independence and may even be willful at times. Here are some guidelines of what you can expect in your baby at 18 months:

18 month old milestones: Growth and movement

The 18 month old milestones are often largely physical, as little boys and girls begin to really understand and enjoy their capacity to play, climb, jump, and fall now and again. This month, your toddler is surer on his feel and will really like moving around with you; play music and dance, kick a ball back and forth, or do a hop skip and jump in the living room.

Sometimes toddlers' energy levels can be exhausting as he may not want to stop –even to sleep! Sometimes, frustratingly, your toddler will refuse to walk. This can be due to things like nervousness at being in a busy public place, or he may just be tired. Try to coax him into walking by holding his hand or try negotiating by setting a goal when you agree to carry him, until the next road for example.

18 month old milestones: Boundaries

Always try to set clear limits by telling him what is and isn't acceptable behaviour. Try to set a good example and show him kindness and respect, things you'd like to see him adopt with you and others. You will help him to choose the right thing to do and the way to behave in difficult situations.

18 month old milestones: Language and communication

Your baby's 18 month old milestones in language will be coming thick and fast at this stage. Your baby’s vocabulary will improve and he will begin to say his first single words, normally nouns, like cat, juice or tractor. Verbs tend to follow within a few months with short phrases like Me want or Go bye-bye.

If your child is relatively quiet, don't worry, it's still too early to worry about a late talker. However, if your toddler is no able to say 15 words by now, at least, it would be good to ask your health visitor or doctor. If he considers that there is actually a problem, he’ll recommend a speech therapist. 

18 month old milestones: Tantrums

At eighteen months, tantrums are an important part of development in toddlers helping to exert independence from their parents. If you are in a public place though, they can be an embarrassing ordeal.

To avoid watching red faced as your tiny toddler throws himself on the floor in the supermarket, here are some tried-and-tested tips:

  • Don't try to do too much in one trip with your toddler, especially as naptime or a mealtime approaches.
  • If you're somewhere that's filled with stimulation, like a supermarket, try not to extend your visit too much. Think dashing in and out, not slowly going through all through the aisles.
  • At the beginning of the trip, see if you can use the activity to keep him busy. Try asking him to count how many trolleys he can as you move around the supermarket for example. It may only last five minutes, but if you keep your visit short, a couple of games like this could be enough to get the shopping done and dusted.
  • If your child does become agitated and has a tantrum and you're finding it impractical, or just too stressful, pick him up and head for home.


18 month old milestones: Calcium

Dairy foods, such as cheese, cottage cheese, and yogurt provide your baby with much needed calcium. Sometimes at around 18 months, children may decide they don't want to drink milk. Don't make a big thing about it, this is just your toddler’s way of exerting control and showing his independence. You can disguise milk in moderation in puddings, cereal or milkshakes (your child will probably find it hard to refuse a chocolate soya shake). Continue to have milk around, but don't force your child to drink it.

18 month old milestones: Sleeping and beds

You may have started thinking about moving your child out of their cot and into their own big bed. There is no set time to do this but remember that once moved, your child can get up whenever he likes during the night. Because of this, many parents advise that you should keep your child in a cot for as long as possible. 

If you decide to make the move because a younger sibling is on the way, make sure you start the process several months before your baby arrives. Otherwise, your older child may feel they are being shoved out of their own bed and place in the family. 

18 month old milestones: Check-up due!

At 18 months a checkup is due at your GP. The tests and what you can expect are outlined below:

  • Weigh and measure your child
  • Check his heart and breathing.
  • Check his eyes and ears
  • Measure your toddler's head size
  • Give your child another round of immunisations (including DtaP, hep A, and any others he missed at previous appointments).
  • Solve any concerns about your child's health, including how to spot symptoms of ear infections, colds and the flu. 
  • Offering advise about toilet training or discipline.

You should also ask for a screen for anaemia and lead poisoning with a blood test if your child has any risk factors.


The 18 month old milestones proof that your little one is not so little anymore! Your toddler is quickly becoming a tiny person with his own personality and preferences. It doesn’t get easier, but that is actually a good thing: being a mummy is a never-ending road full of enriching challenges!