Understanding my 18 month old toddler’s development

Having a baby is often described as a life changing event for people.

No two babies are the same. Every baby develops in its own unique way and time. Some learn new skills faster than others. Some prefer to take their own time and can’t be rushed.

As a parent, it can be difficult to know what is ‘normal’ and what is not. That is why there are developmental milestones that assist in monitoring children’s development.

How can developmental milestones help me understand my child’s development? 

Milestones can help by letting you know the types of behaviours and skills your child may have developed by certain ages as they grow. They are typically grouped in categories. This article provides some of the milestones for an 18 month old toddler.

What are some movement and physical milestones my child may have developed? 

  • Uses spoon when feeding
  • Can help undress himself/herself
  • Can walk alone
  • Pulls toys while walking

Tips for parents

  • Encourage your child to participate in everyday routines like getting dressed

What are some brain development milestones my child may have developed? 

  • Recognises everyday objects
  • Points to get attention
  • Pretends to feed favourite stuffed animals
  • Can point to a body part when named
  • Can follow one step-commands without gestures

Tips for parents

  • Provide your toddler with toys for pretend play

What are some social and emotional milestones my child may have developed? 

  • May play alongside other toddlers, doing what they do but without seeming to interact
  • Points to show interest in something
  • Likes to play by handing things to people or playing simple pretend
  • Might cling to caregivers in new situations or explore alone but with parent close by

Tips for parents

  • Create joint play opportunities with your toddler
  • Praise your toddler when they show signs of empathy by sharing their toy, taking care of toys or giving a caring gesture to others. All these things help support social and emotional development

What are some language and communication milestones my child may have developed? 

  • Shakes head when means ‘no’
  • Can say several single words
  • Points to show what he/she means

Tips for parents

  • Pay attention to what your toddler is pointing to a make it a language development opportunity by naming the object he/she is pointing to

Remember, no two babies are the same and every baby develops in their own time. You as a parent often are the first to notice your baby is not behaving as other children or has not reached a developmental milestone.

Having a loving, stable and responsive relationship is fundamental to your toddler’s development.

The more experiences your toddler has with you there to support them, the more your toddler grows and thrives.

When your toddler feels safe and attached to you, your toddler is more likely to have the confidence to explore their world. Playing with your toddler strengthens your relationship and encourages your toddler to explore, observe, experiment and solve problems.

You as a parent often are the first to notice your baby is not behaving as other children or has not reached a developmental milestone. Seek advice from the Child Health Line on 02 – 419 4983 if your toddler:

  • Cannot walk
  • Does not point
  • Does not try to copy others
  • Is not learning new words
  • Cannot say at least six words
  • Does not notice when a parent leaves or returns
  • Loses skills he once had


If you have any concerns with your child’s development, you can find out more by accessing the Early Childhood Authority’s website at www.eca.gov.ae or contact the Child Health Line on 024194983. Operated by Mubadala Health (available 10:00 am -18:00 pm).


This initiative is a collaboration between the Early Childhood Authority, Mubadala and Mubadala Health

Did you find this helpful?

4 people found this helpful

Want to share your opinion?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *