May 17, 2023

18 to 24 Months: What to Expect

Jane Magnani
Jane Magnani
18 to 24 Months: What to Expect

You may notice that your little one has suddenly had a huge physical growth spurt! This is the time when your toddler will start to show more independence and explore their environment with a sense of curiosity. So, this means that they’ll be climbing up and all over your furniture and be all the more studier on their feet. It might feel like yesterday since your little one was born and it’ll soon be their second birthday! It will be great to see how things change in the next six months!

Remember that each child is unique, and they all develop at various times and at different rates. So, if your baby isn't doing the same things as your friend's kid, don't worry!


As your toddler's skills grow by leaps and bounds, they might have even more fun participating in family dinners. They might be able to use words such as "more" or "done," and begin to learn how to use a spoon. 


Your little one may now sleep for 10 to 12 hours at night, with a two-hour nap during the day. Although they may still prefer to have two shorter naps per day, that’s fine!

Personal, Social, and Emotional development

Making relationships

  • They may play mainly beside other children but may begin to include other children more

  • Your little one may have a familiar person as a secure base when exploring new environments and unfamiliar situations

  • Your baby may show empathy by offering comfort to others

  • Your baby may play alongside others and enjoy playing with other children 

  • Your baby may follow, imitate and interact with others during play

  • Have their own ideas and preferences and is aware of people's responses

  • Your little one may have long periods of social engagement may feel overwhelmed and may have tantrums

Sense of Self

  • They may begin to understand their own and other's physical features, points and names of body parts

  • Set themselves physical challenges, e.g. picking up a large block

  • Your little one may begin to use me, you and I in their talk

  • They may begin to understand their own gender, ethnicity and abilities

  • They may share likes, dislikes, choices, decisions and ideas

  • Have the confidence to say no to adults or peers

Understanding Emotions

  • Your little one may begin to express feelings through actions, behaviour and words, strong feelings, and may feel overwhelmed resulting in tantrums

  • Your baby may show empathy by offering others comfort and sharing their own toys

  • Your baby may have their own feelings and may find it hard to follow changes and boundaries.

Physical Development

Moving and Handling

  • Your baby may show confidence in walking and running short distances 

  • Your baby may walk upstairs holding the rail or hand of an adult 

  • They can use both hands, with each hand doing something different

  • They may enjoy dancing and singing, imitating other’s moves

  • Your baby may look at small objects and creatures from close and far distances 

  • Your baby may use gestures and body language to express needs and interests 

  • Your baby may make connections between their movement and the marks they make 

Health and Self care

  • Your baby may be highly active for short periods of time

  • Seeks comfort from familiar adults when needed 

  • Uses physical expression of feelings to release stress

  • Helps adults with brushing their teeth 

  • Beginning to show own likes and dislikes in food and drink

  • Willing to try new food textures and tastes

  • Shows interest in clothing and shoes

  • Communicates wet or soiled nappy or pants

  • Helps with un/dressing and care routines

  • Begins to feed themselves and drink from a cup without spilling

Girl drinking from a tea cup

Communication and Language development

Listening and attention

  • They may enjoy rhythmic patterns in rhymes and stories

  • Your little one may enjoy listening by joining in with actions and sounds in stories and rhymes

  • Your little one may be able to focus on their own choice of activity 


  • Your little one may begin to follow routines and activities using nonverbal cues

  • Your little one may be able to find objects by name if asked

  • Your little one may begin to understand simple sentences


  • Your baby may copy familiar expressions

  • Your baby may begin to use different types of everyday words

  • Begin to put two words together and ask simple questions

  • They may talk about people and things that are not present

  • They may use gestures, with limited talk

What to look out for:

Remember that each child is unique, and they all develop at various times and at different rates. So, if your baby isn't doing the same things as your friend's kid, give your little one time! Your little one may be finding the following skills challenging:

  • Unable to walk or walk steadily.

  • Doesn’t point.

  • Doesn’t try to copy others.

  • Is not learning new words.

  • Loses skills they once had.

  • Can only say a maximum of six words.

  • Doesn’t notice when a parent leaves or returns.

  • Doesn’t know how to use common objects.

  • Doesn’t use two-word phrases.

  • Doesn’t copy actions or repeat words.

  • Doesn’t follow basic directions. 

If you are concerned about your little one, seek help from your GP or health visitor. No matter how small your concern is don’t let it linger in your mind, ask for help.


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