Toddler Development – 12 to 18 Months

Every stage is an exciting one for baby and the whole family, and this stage after the first birthday is no exception. In fact, this is a stage when you will see some of the biggest changes in your baby’s development. All babies develop at different rates so the following are simple guidelines to help you understand what you can look forward to during this exciting stage.

Moving around

We all know babies who walked before the first birthday, and those who didn’t walk until long after the 18 month point. For the vast majority of children, they will be crawling or shuffling along the floor when they are a year old and walking before they reach 18 months. They may or may not crawl; some little movers go right from sitting to standing and walking while many find their own unique and creative ways to shuffle, wriggle and bounce around to get to where they want to be. You can encourage and help your baby along, but they will reach these important milestones in their own time. If you feel that your child is not able to walk for some reason, or they seem particularly reluctant to get mobile at all at 18 months, then speak to your doctor or health visitor about your concerns.


At 12 months your baby, who is fast becoming a toddler, will be vocalizing and should be able to babble and make a range of different sounds. By 18 months, your little one will be much more vocal and confident with sounds and most likely able to say simple sentences or two or three words. Moving from ?Mama? and ?Dada? to asking for things and communicating emotions is an important development and one of the most exciting.

Play and Co-ordination

At 12 months, your little one will be showing major interest in everything around them, reaching out for objects and showing enthusiasm for toys ? communicating with toys and wanting to show them off to others. This will develop quickly; at 14 months your little one will be playing more complicated games ? they will be able to show you parts of the body when you ask, and will have fun matching shapes together or spend long periods of time emptying objects out of a container and then refilling it. They will scribble without much focus but enjoying the colours. By 18 months they will be able to doodle with purpose. They will enjoy stacking containers or blocks, rolling and throwing a ball and hiding things for you to find. They will love to repeat successful games and find fun in the simplest of places.

This is a truly enjoyable stage for your child and for you; they are really reaching out and exploring the world around them ? moving around and playing with real enthusiasm. At this stage, it is important you give them scope to play, to explore and to have fun so make the most of their natural curiosity by giving them plenty of stimulation.

The HSE have more information on their ‘Caring for your Baby and Child’ page