Your 18-month-old likely keeps you on your toes; after all, the whole world looks like a playground to an inquisitive toddler. As she develops, you might wonder if she is keeping pace with her peers. Knowing what characteristics are normal for this age range can put your worries to rest. Keep in mind that every child develops at her own pace, so your toddler may be slightly ahead or behind -- and that's perfectly fine. If you suspect that you're seeing serious delays in your child, however, consult with your pediatrician.
Walking, Running, Throwing
Compared to a year ago, your toddler has mastered many new gross motor skills. The typical 18-month-old is fully proficient at walking and is moving on to new challenges. She can run, although she falls often, and can make it up the stairs if she holds on with one hand. If she has access to child-sized chairs, she can sit on them independently. At this age, many toddlers can roll a ball and some will begin to throw it, too.
Eating, Stacking, Scribbling
Your toddler's fine motor skills are progressing as well. Most 18-month-olds are beginning to feed themselves and use a cup. They can also make block towers with two or more blocks. While reading and writing are still out of reach, your 18-month-old is mastering important skills that will lead to later success at school. She likely can scribble with a marker on a paper -- and turn the pages of a book, several at a time.
A child is typically surrounded by language from birth, but at 18 months, she's likely beginning to express simple concepts verbally. According to the National Institutes of Health, the average 18-month-old can say 10 or more words. Some children also begin putting words together to form short phrases at this age, such as "want milk" or "bye-bye Mommy." You can encourage your child's continued growth in this area by reading books with her, teaching her silly songs and nursery rhymes, and naming the things you see and do throughout the day.
As your toddler becomes more independent, she begins to interact with the world in new ways. At 18 months, she begins to use the dreaded "No!" -- and starts having trouble sharing her toys. When frustrated, she might throw a tantrum or lash out physically by hitting or biting. At the same time, however, she also begins to show affection and might try to comfort a friend or sibling who is sad. She is watching the adults in her life and imitating simple activities such as talking on the phone or putting on a hat.