18-Month-Old Baby Milestones: Independent and Assertive

At around 18 months, toddlers become more and more independent and a little feisty, too. Now, you may have noticed your 18-month-old saying “no” more often to something you ask him to do. He would have gotten better at climbing and getting down the stairs and at coordinating his hands and fingers.

Know what else is in store now that your little one is one and a half years old by reading below. This article will also help you with some developmental insights and advice for this month.

18-month Baby Milestones

As every child is unique and develops at his own rate, your toddler may reach these 18-month-old milestones either this month or a little earlier or later:

  • Declarations of independence:

Around this time, your toddler may be getting more independent and assertive. As he gains confidence, he may start saying “no” when you ask him to do something he doesn’t want to do. It may even become his new favourite word, so watch out!

  • Confident stair climbing:

Up until this point, getting up and down stairs might have been tricky for your little one, but it may be getting easier now as he learns to climb stairs while holding onto the railing. Around this time, he may also be able to turn corners without falling. Make sure that you supervise him when he's around stairs.

  • Increased self-awareness:

At around 18 months old, your toddler may be more self-aware. He may be able to say his own name, identify himself when peering into a mirror, and generally be more interested in self-care activities like combing his hair. How exciting to see your little one starting to grow up in this way!

Here’s how you can support your 18-Months Baby’s Development

These are some ways you can help support your 18-month-old’s development. Here's a small 18-month-old development checklist that you can follow:

  • Encourage activities that improve hand and finger skills:

Around this time, your little one may pick up small objects and move them around with control. For example, he may be able to put the pieces of a wooden peg puzzle in place, scribble with a pencil, finger-paint, build basic towers with toy blocks, and more. Provide plenty of opportunities to do arts and crafts, which will allow him to express his creative side as well as boost his fine motor skills.

  • Play with your toddler:

Try a game of hide-and-seek or toss or roll a ball back and forth. He may want to bring you a toy and tell you what to do with it; let him be the director. Given your child is at the stage where he will want to explore, keep an extra-close eye on your toddler and ensure your home is babyproofed.

  • Take your child on outings:

Trips to the neighbourhood playground or park provide opportunities for your child to explore and play and to work off some of that manic toddler energy. If you have more time, consider heading to a children's museum or the zoo. Even riding the escalator or a glass-enclosed elevator in a shopping mall or a hotel is entertaining for an 18-month-old.

  • Get ready for potty training:

Typically, experts recommend potty training start after the second birthday, but some toddlers might be ready earlier. You can begin saying the words pee-pee and poop when you change your little one’s diaper, and help him become familiar with the toilet or the potty, perhaps by letting him help choose a potty chair and leaving it out for him to see.

  • Make up a story:

Find a picture book that has few or no words and help your 18-month-old make up a story. To get him going, ask questions about what he sees: Are there any people? What are they doing? What kind of scenery is there? You could encourage him to use a funny voice or facial expression for each character, too, as he "reads" his story. You and your toddler are on an imaginative journey—and he's also getting a big boost in language comprehension and vocabulary.

Mealtimes and Menus for Your 18-Month-Old

You may be noticing that your toddler’s eating habits are quite unpredictable. One day, he may eat everything in sight, and the next he may turn down anything you offer him, even a food that was his favourite. It might give you peace of mind to know that your toddler is not unique in this behaviour. Most toddlers around this age have fluctuations in how hungry they are depending on things like their level of activity that day, their metabolism, and whether they are in the middle of a growth spurt.

Most children do well with three small meals and two snacks per day. Serve a variety of nutritious foods and let your child decide what and how much of it to eat. You'll find that over the course of a few days his diet will naturally balance itself out so that he gets all the nutrients he needs.

Using a spoon, fork, and a cup is one of the 18-month-old baby milestones for your toddler this month. Although he may be comfortable using them, he might not always want to eat with them because for him, playing with his food might be more entertaining. So, be prepared for this type of behaviour when it comes to mealtime.

Limiting Sweets

It’s natural for your little one to be inclined toward sweets more than other foods. He may have gobbled up sweet options like carrots or sweet potatoes when you used to feed him baby foods. At around 18 months, he is most likely to pick a cookie over a piece of cheese when offered.

Remember, as a parent, you control the types of food served to your toddler. So, be sure to encourage healthy choices while limiting his intake of sugary food. If he is throwing tantrums to eat dinner, do not be tempted to allow him to eat sweets in order to have him eat something. 18-Month-Old Toddler

Sleep Schedule

At 18 months old, your toddler typically requires between 12 and 14 hours of sleep a day. Included in this number is about one nap per day, too.

If your toddler is in day-care, the facility often has one or two nap times scheduled each day. You may want to check in with the day-care staff to find out how well your child is napping. If you notice he’s overtired when you pick him up from day-care, it could be because these nap times are not productive. Ask the staff what could be done to improve the situation and how to better coordinate your toddler's sleep routine at home and at the day-care facility.

A Day in the Life of Your Toddler

Here’s a snapshot of what your one-and-a-half-year-old’s day might look like:

Your Toddler’s Health and Safety: In-Flight Safety

You might be planning to travel by plane with your 18-month-old, whether it’s to visit family who live faraway or for a vacation. Here are some tips to take into consideration when flying with your toddler:

  • Offer your child a pacifier to suck on during ascent and descent, which can help equalise the pressure in her ears and help prevent discomfort.

  • Think about protecting your child’s ears from cabin noise with small earplugs or cotton balls. Noise-cancelling headphones, if she can tolerate them on her head, can also work well.

  • Choose a seat closer to the window, as an aisle seat can put your child at risk of getting bumped by a food service cart or by someone walking in the aisle.

  • Dress your child in layers that are easy to remove, as the temperature on your flight can vary.

  • Consider a diaper change before you board the airplane and be sure to pack plenty of supplies in your diaper bag for the journey.

  • Bring items that can help occupy your child’s attention, such as her favourite stuffed animal or blanket, books, and toys.


During this month, or sometime soon, your toddler may be able to do things like:

•   Scribble and draw

•   Follow simple instructions that you give to her

•   Point to familiar objects that you name

•   Speak using simple phrases

•   Sort shapes and colours.

Your Life as a Parent: Setting a Good Example

You may soon notice your toddler trying to imitate you and your partner day by day. Whether you are talking on the phone or driving the car, she’ll try to do the same by talking on her toy phone or driving her toy car. As she becomes more inclined to imitate you, make sure you are on your best behaviour so that you can set a good example.

You can try the following ways to set a good example for your toddler:

  • When you or your partner share something with each other, speak it out to your child, by saying something like, “Dad is sharing his piece of cookie with Mom. That’s really nice of him, isn’t it?”

  • When you’re feeling frustrated, let your child know that you’re frustrated and then show her how you calm down.

  • Always try to express your feelings, as these moments will help teach your child know that it’s OK to express her own feelings to you.

  • Praise your child on a better behaviour; for example, if she puts all her toys in the box, say “Good job!”