Child Development at 18 Months

Posture & Large Movements

  • Walks well with feet only slightly apart, starts and stops safely.
  • Runs stifly upright, eyes fixed on ground 1–2 yards ahead, but cannot continue to run round obstacles.
  • Pushes and pulls large toys, boxes, etc., round floor.
  • Can carry large doll or teddy-bear while walking and sometimes two.
  • Backs into small chair or slides in sideways.
  • Climbs forward into adult’s chair then turns round and sits.
  • Walks upstairs with helping hand.
  • Creeps backwards down stairs.
  • Occasionally bumps down a few steps on buttocks facing forwards.
  • Picks up toy from floor without falling.

Vision & Fine Movements

  • Picks up small sweets, beads, pins, threads, etc., immediately on sight, with delicate pincer grasp.
  • Spontaneous scribble when given crayon and paper, using preferred hand.
  • Builds tower of three cubes after demonstration.
  • Enjoys simple picture book, often recognising and putting finger on coloured items on page.
  • Turns pages 2 or 3 at a time. Fixes eyes on a small dangling toy up to 10 feet. (May tolerate this test with each eye separately.)
  • Points to distant interesting objects out of doors.
  • Watches and retrieves rolling balls 2–1/2 inches at 10 feet.
  • Possibly recognises special miniature toys at 10 feet.

Hearing & Speech

  • Continues to jabber tunefully to himself at play.
  • Uses 6–20 recognisable words and understands many more.
  • Echoes prominent or last word addressed to him.
  • Demands desired objects by pointing accompanied by loud, urgent vocalisation or single words.
  • Enjoys nursery rhymes and tries to join in. Attempts to sing.
  • Shows his own or doll’s hair, shoe, nose (Possibly special 5 toy test. Possibly 4 animals picture test.)

Social Behaviour & Play

  • Lifts and holds cup between both hands.
  • Drinks without spilling.
  • Hands cup back to adult. Choose well.
  • Holds spoon and gets food to mouth. Takes off shoes, socks, hat.
  • Indicates toilet needs by restlessness and vocalisation.
  • Bowel control usually attained.
  • Explores environment energetically.
  • No longer takes toys to mouth.
  • Remembers where objects belong.
  • Casts objects to floor in play or anger less often.
  • Briefly imitates simple activities, e.g. reading book, kissing doll, brushing floor.
  • Plays contentedly alone, but likes to be near adult.
  • Emotionally still very dependent upon familiar adult, especially mother.
  • Alternates between clinging and resistance.

Source: Reports on Public Health and Medical Subjects No 102. HMSO 1960, revised 1975.