child development

10 Things to Know About Your Toddler’s 18-Month Development

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Having a toddler can feel a lot like having a pet badger. Sure, they’re calm sometimes. Even badgers need to relax a little, right? But then, out of nowhere, they revert to their natural state. And you just better hope you’re not home when it hits. The thing that’s so hard about toddlers is that they’re completely unpredictable! They love pancakes one day, then act like you’re trying to poison them with the delicious cakes the next. Add to their hot/cold personalities the fact that they can’t communicate very well, and well, you’ve got a perfect storm of toddler disaster. A lot of parents get the first glimpse of this around 18 months. That’s because a toddler’s 18-month development is BANANAS. It’s a major growth period, so here’s what you need to know to prepare.

A toddler’s 18-month development covers everything: language, cognitive skills, movement and physical development. EVERYTHING.

1.The thing that most parents struggle with is the sleep regression. It is brutal.

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Image: Giphy

Remember when you just, like, put your toddler to bed? And they stayed in bed? And they, you know, SLEPT AT NIGHT? Yeah. That’s … not happening much around this time. For whatever reason, toddlers decide that sleep is the enemy right around this age. The good news is, it doesn’t last forever. The bad news it, it lasts long enough that it will feel like forever. They want to stay up and have fun! Or party all night! And naps, who the hell needs those when there are toys to play with?? Toddlers are rude.

2. Super cute milestone alert: putting two or three words together to form sentences.

This is … disturbingly cute. Suddenly, instead of just saying, “Peese? Peese?” and pointing to what they want, one day they’ll bust out with, “Snack peese?” And you will cry, because it’s SO CUTE. Their language skills seem to grow every single day around this age, so brace yourself for little toddler sentences.

3. But, don’t celebrate too soon. While their language IS getting better, it still hasn’t quite caught up to their brains.

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Image: Giphy

So while your kid may be thinking, “I want goldfish crackers, please”, what you hear is, “asuywqhwfasckj peese”. And no, you aren’t going to understand that, why would you? But they won’t appreciate that you can’t understand it, especially since you JUST spent a full day praising them for the three new words they used. This will result in a tantrum. Apologies in advance.

4. Congratulations, your kid knows right from wrong now! Don’t get your hopes up.

Sure, they KNOW that hitting their sister is wrong. They know this, and still they hit. Because toddlers do not give a hot goddamn. But in all seriousness, this is a major milestone, and it’s the beginning of being able to redirect negative behavior.

5. “I DO IT!”

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Image: Giphy

Siiiiiiiigh. You sort of wait for the moment your kids can start doing things for themselves. But you forget that they have to go through this whole phase of wanting to do them but not being physically or mentally capable of doing them. During a toddler’s 18-month development, this really picks up. And before you know it, you’ve been waiting 45 minutes for your kid to put on his shoes because he won’t let you help him because HE CAN DO IT.

6. Mineminemineminemine!

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Image: Giphy

Parents often find that sharing becomes an issue in the 18-24 month age range. Toddlers suddenly develop a possessiveness that they had not exhibited before, and it can make for some pretty epic battles. Their toys are theirs. Their friend’s toys are theirs. The remote? Theirs. Your keys? LOL, not yours. It’s important to continue setting boundaries and to correct this behavior when it comes up.

7. Another really cute milestone in a toddler’s 18-month development: “reading” by themselves.

I absolutely adored this one. It finally clicks in their little toddler brains: mama looks at a book and says words and that’s the story in the book! So the first time they pick up a book and start to “read” independently is the cutest thing ever. Encourage it, and ask them to read to you!

8. Cute, but decidedly more messy than reading: self-feeding.

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Image: Giphy

Sure, your toddler has probably been feeding themselves snacks for a few months now. But a toddler’s 18-month development is when they REALLY get down. Instead of letting you feed them or picking up small pieces of food with their fingers, they’ll want to try their hand at a fork or spoon. You will find food in places you did not know existed, but luckily, this skill develops fairly quickly with practice.

9. Your kid can understand instructions now! Your kid will likely not follow them though.

At around 18-24 months, your toddler can understand simple instructions, like pick up a toy or put an item on a shelf. But, that doesn’t mean they are going to do as you ask. Quite the opposite, actually! It’s just the luck of the draw that all these milestones happen at the same time your toddler learns how to exert their independence. This really could have been planned out better.

10. The most amazing thing you’ll notice during your toddler’s 18-month development: they are legit becoming an actual little person.

They wants and needs and desires. They don’t like the color blue anymore, thank you very much. Now that they can speak more clearly, they’ve been meaning to tell you that they hate the songs you think are their favorite, so sorry. They have thoughts and opinions and emotions (so many emotions). When they’re babies, it can feel like they’re just little extensions of you. But at this age, they really start to show who they actually are, and it is awesome. Exhausting! But awesome.

A toddler’s 18-month development can be a rough few months. But it’s also full of so much magic, you may just forget how hard it was once it’s over. Parents of toddlers, I raise my glass to you. May the odds be ever in your favor.

(Image: iStock / monkeybusinessimages)