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Your Child's Development From 18 to 24 Months

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

Movement and Physical Development

  • Can kick a ball.
  • Can run.
  • Can walk backwards and sideways.
  • Begins to jump.
  • Can climbs up and down from furniture without help.
  • Can walk 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 different emotions such as jealousy, fear, anger, joy, and love.
  • Can get easily frustrated and likes to be in 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 and things that are you cannot eat.

Learning, Thinking, and Problem Solving Skills

  • Likes 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.
  • Tries to sing to music.
  • Expresses feelings by using more complex sounds like “uh-oh” or “yeah.”
  • Has a vocabulary of at least 20 words.
  • Can talk and point at the same time.

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:

  • 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.

Call Your Child's Doctor If Your Child:

  • Doesn’t walk with ease.
  • Doesn’t follow simple instructions.
  • Doesn’t use 2-word phrases (for example, “drink milk”).
  • Loses skills they once had.
  • Doesn’t like to change position.
  • Doesn’t not 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