Development at 18-24 months

Personal and Social Skills       GirlGlobe

  • Likes being read to
  • Shows more independence by putting on clothes, feeding self, washing and drying hands
  • Exhibits curiosity and is “into everything”
  • Has special relationship with each parent or caregiver
  • Enjoys playing next to another child, but does not interact much with other child
  • Enjoys touching and hugging
  • May experience fear when separated from caregiver


  • Encourage gentle play; discourage violent play.
  • Encourage child to dress and undress self.
  • Encourage child to help with household chores (carry napkins to table, pick up and put away toys).
  • Encourage child to use both a spoon and a fork.
  • Give child time to get used to new situations and new caregivers.
  • Encourage child to play near other children by providing two of the same toy for them to use.
  • Follow through with appropriate expectations and discipline. (Don’t change “no” to “yes” because child has a tantrum.)
  • Show an interest in your child’s play.

Language and Understanding Skills

  • Chooses among toys to play with
  • Imitates another child’s play
  • Begins to ask questions
  • Puts two or more words together (“Go out,” “Get up”)
  • Asks for items by name (ball, doll, cookie)
  • Follows one- or two-step directions


  • Give simple directions for child to follow (“Get your shoes.”)
  • Play a simple game of Simon Says.
  • Read to child five to ten minutes each day; develop a bedtime book-reading ritual.
  • Do not allow child to watch many television or videotape programs. If child does watch television, watch with child and do not allow child to view violent or sexually explicit programs.
  • Answer child’s questions simply.
  • Label toy boxes/bins with picture of toy.
  • Give child enough time to finish an activity.

Small Muscle (Fine Motor) Skills

  • Scribbles and imitates simple strokes (vertical line, horizontal line, circular stroke)
  • Takes off socks and shoes
  • Takes things apart and puts them back together


  • Help child put objects through an opening in a container and then dump them out again.
  • Give child simple nesting boxes or plastic measuring cups to arrange.
  • Give child simple insert puzzle to complete (two or three pieces).
  • Allow child to finger paint with pudding.
  • Provide chalk, markers, pencils, paint, and brushes for use on sidewalk, large paper, newspaper.
  • Let child handle nontoxic modeling clay and shaving cream.
  • Provide paper for child to tear.

Large Muscle (Gross Motor) Skills

  • Jumps with both feet
  • Moves body in time to music
  • Walks up and down stairs with help
  • Runs
  • Attempts to kick a ball


  • Help child learn to jump with both feet by holding child’s hands while you jump.
  • Listen to music and swing, clap, and dance to the music with child.
  • Have short running races on soft surfaces (grass, carpet).

Play kick the ball.