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Your Child's Development (12 to 18 months)

This information describes skills your child is likely to develop between the ages of 12 and 18 months

Movement and Physical Development

  • Can stand alone
  • Takes steps
  • Pulls or pushes toys such as a grocery cart or stroller while walking
  • Climbs on furniture
  • Plays in a squatted position
  • Drinks from a cup and eats with a spoon
  • Can scribble with a crayon, pen, or pencil on his or her own
  • Takes off socks

Social-Emotional and Self-Help Skills

  • Shows independence and does not like adult control
  • Begins to show sense of humor
  • Plays ball with others
  • Enjoys being the center of attention
  • Plays simple pretend games, such as feeding a doll
  • Cries when diaper is dirty
  • Will sleep 10 to 12 hours at night
  • Can hold and drink from a cup
  • Can bring a spoon up to his or her mouth without help

Learning, Thinking, and Problem Solving Skills

  • Likes to hand toys back to adults
  • Points to show others something of interest
  • Recognizes several people in addition to family members
  • Places round and square pieces into a puzzle
  • Turns pages of book
  • Matches objects
  • Can identify self in mirror
  • Can identify different body parts
  • Copies gestures
  • Can follow simple spoken directions

Speech, Language, and Communication Skills

  • Says several single words
  • Says and shakes head “no”
  • Points to show someone what he or she wants

What can I do to help with my child's development?

  • Support and encourage climbing and exploring.
  • Give your child blocks, puzzles, and shape sorters.
  • Put toys at different heights (e.g., on furniture, behind the child ) and position them around the room to encourage your child to move and change positions.
  • Give your child toys that have buttons to push, sounds, and lights.
  • Have your child practice pointing and moving his or her fingers.
Talk to your child's doctor if you notice that your child:
  • Falls often
  • Can't walk by 18 months
  • Does not copy others
  • Doesn't notice or mind when a caregiver leaves or returns
  • Loses skills they once had
  • Does not like to change position
  • Does not like changes in environment (such as noise level or lighting)

Although your child is undergoing cancer treatment and may not feel energetic, it is still important to encourage movement, communication, and play as part of his or her daily routine.

If you have questions about your child's development, ask your child's doctor if a referral to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) Physical and Occupational Therapy team would be helpful.

MSKCC Physical and Occupational Therapy
(212) 639-7833
Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 6:00 pm