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Your Child's Development (18 to 24 months)

This information describes skills your child is likely to develop between the ages of 18 and 24 months.

Movement and Physical Development

  • Kicks a ball
  • Runs
  • Walks backwards and sideways
  • Begins to jump
  • Climbs up and down from furniture without help
  • Walks up and down stairs
  • Can draw or trace straight lines and circles
  • Throws a ball and tries to catch
  • Can put large beads on a string

Social-Emotional and Self-Help Skills

  • Shows love
  • Shows different emotions such as jealousy, fear, anger, and joy
  • Can get easily frustrated and likes control
  • Copies others
  • Can play alone for a few minutes
  • Has difficulty with sharing
  • Can remove shoes if laces are undone
  • Can zip and unzip large zippers
  • Plays with food
  • Can wash hands with help
  • Knows the difference between things that you can eat (edible) and things that are not edible

Learning, Thinking, and Problem Solving Skills

  • Like to play with Play-Doh® and paint
  • Can put glue on paper
  • Points to clothing items when they are named
  • Explores cabinets and drawers
  • Matches sounds to animals
  • Begins to sort shapes and colors
  • Builds towers of 4 or more blocks

Speech, Language, and Communication Skills

  • Begins to use sentences
  • Will try to sing to music
  • Will express feelings by using more complex sounds like “uh-oh” or “yeah”
  • Has a vocabulary of up to 20 words
  • Will talk and point at the same time

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

  • Practice catching, throwing, and kicking a ball.
  • Play a game of follow the leader.
  • Have your child draw using different colored crayons and markers.
  • Encourage your child to play with blocks, shape sorting games, and puzzles.
Talk to your child's doctor if you notice that your child:
  • Does not walk with ease
  • Does not follow simple instructions
  • Does not use 2-word phrases (for example, “drink milk”)
  • 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