From 18 to 24 Months - Your Developing Child

Pregnancy and Beyond

The 18 to 24 month old child's growth is continuing, but at a slower pace than before. He will have about 16 teeth including his first molars. He should be sleeping 10-12 hours a night and taking a nap during the day.

Development of Large Muscles

By now your toddler has learned how to run. He may need to stop before he can change directions. He is learning how to walk up and down stairs, but not yet alternating feet. He can throw a ball, seat himself in a child's chair, and climb everything-keep a close watch.

Development of Small Muscles

This is a time for your child to refine new skills. His scribbling will mature into lines and attempts at circles. He will build toy block towers easily and can operate some of his toys without your help.

Development of Self Help Skills

Your toddler is a busy person. He has little interest in food. He will gradually improve cup and spoon use so he spills less. Remember that his rate of growth has slowed greatly so he may eat well at only one meal each day. Don't worry about his changing attitude toward food. Dressing may be an area of interest to him now and he will take off some simple clothes by himself. With some help from you, he may be able to take his shoes off if they are untied.

Development of Social Skills

Your toddler is becoming an individual with a unique personality and strong likes and dislikes. You can expect more negative behavior from your 18 to 24 month old. He may now resist foods and activities he once enjoyed.

Giving him a choice between the red cup or the blue one, or the dog book or the tree book, will help him to feel some control over his world. However, don't give him a choice if it is something he must do. For example, don't ask him if he wants to go to bed; tell him it is time for him to go to bed.

He is impulsive and very curious, but will try to understand your explanations if you keep them very simple and short.

For more information on child development, you may contact Parents as Teachers by calling your local school district office or by visiting the National Parents as Teachers website. Another resource is ParentLink at 1-800-552-8522 or the ParentLink website.