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Your Child's Development From 12 to 18 Months

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

Movement and Physical Development

  • Can stand alone.
  • Can take steps with and without help.
  • Can pull or push toys such as a grocery cart or stroller while walking.
  • Climbs on furniture.
  • Plays in a squatted position.
  • Can drink from a cup and eats with a spoon.
  • Can scribble with a crayon, pen, or pencil on his or her own.
  • Can take 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 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.
  • Can place round and square pieces into a puzzle.
  • Can turn pages of book.
  • Can match objects together.
  • 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 You Can Do to Help Your Child's Development

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. Here are some things you can do:

  • 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 lights, sounds, and buttons to push.
  • Have your child practice pointing and moving his or her fingers.

Call Your Child's Doctor If Your Child:

  • Falls often.
  • Can't walk by 18 months.
  • Doesn’t copy others.
  • Doesn't notice or mind when a caregiver leaves or returns.
  • Loses skills they once had.
  • Doesn’t like to change position.
  • Doesn’t like minor changes in environment (such as noise level or lighting).

Contact Information

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

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