12 to 18 Months

1 year OldYour child at 12 to 18 months is developing a real personality. She is still growing rapidly, but not as dramatically as in the first year. As she begins to walk, run and climb, she gains confidence and a greater sense of independence. At this stage, your child needs encouragement and freedom to explore, as well as clear boundaries and limits to feel safe.



The Well Visit

At your child’s one-year check-up, you should expect your doctor to:

-Give certain vaccinations, listed below, which will keep your child healthy and growing strong.

Your next visit may be at 15 or 18 months.

Typical immunizations at this age will include:


-Hepatitis B

-MWR (measles, mumps, rubella)

-Chicken Pox


-Prevnar (pneumococcal)

-DTaP or STP


At around 12 to 18 months, your child needs about 14 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. At this time, most children start giving up their moring nap and instead take a longer afternoon nap per day. As your child begins to lose the second nap, you may notice he is ready for bed a little earlier while he adjusts to the change – anytime between 6 and 8 pm.



At 12 months, a baby should eat a balanced diet of healthy foods, such as: squash (vegetable), bananas (fruit), cheese (dairy), or chicken (meat).

All foods should be cut into small pieces so that the child can feed independently without the risk of choking. Foods you should AVOID include:

-Raw carrots


-Hard candy


-Hot dogs

-Whole grapes

Because your baby is still exploring most foods, she probably won’t eat a lot at a single sitting. So, try to provide five or six small meals a day instead of three larger ones.


By 12 months, your baby is ready to stop drinking formula and begin drinking up to 24 ounces of whole milk a day. He should be drinking from a cup rather than a bottle. Don’t forget to offer water throughout the day.

Take Note…

According to the American Academy of EPdiatrics, at 12 months, let your doctor know if your baby:

-Does not crawl.

-Drags one side of the body while crawling for over one month.

-Cannot stand while supported.

-Doesn’t search for objects that are hidden while he watches.

-Says no single words.

-Does not point to objects or pictures.

-Does not use gestures such as waving or shaking head.



Between 12 and 18 months, your child might be able to:


-Walk without help

-Enjoy holding objects while walking – often one in each hand.

-Hold a crayon and scribble (but with little control).

-Gesture or point to indicate when she wants.

-Turn pages in a book.

-Like to push, pull and dump things.


-Understand and follow simple, one step direction.

-Say about 8 to 20 understandable words, including “hi” and “bye” if reminded.

-Identify objects in a book, if prompted.

-Pay attention to conversations.

Socially and Emotionally

-Enjoy being held and read to.

-Imitate others with sounds and facial expressions.

-Play alone with toys.


As your child’s vocabulary grows, his interest in books and songs will grow too. Take adavantage of his interests by reading, singing, and talking all the time.

-Make readin interactive by asking questions while looking at pictures and reading stories. Even though your child cannot yet answer fully, pay attention to his verbal and non-verbal responses.

-Provide your child with books that can easily be carried by little hands and which offer flaps and textures he can explore.

-Teach new songs and incorporate hand movements such as “Pat-a-Cake” and “Itsy-Bitsy Spider.”


Your child’s growing sense of independence will push her to test her behavior with you. This is the right time to set a few limits. Your child’s first rules should help protect her safety and be enforced clearly and consistently. You can also try these age-appropriate discipline techniques:

-Stay one step ahead. Distract or redirect your child from unsafe objects or activities.

-Save “no” primarily for safety issues. If your child hears “no” too often, she will start to tune it out.

-Use non-verbal communication. Give a stern or firm look for minor incidents.


Your child’s desire and ability to do things on her own will extend to her play. So, allow your child to use toys in any way she wants. When your child is able to explore freely, she learns to imagine, invent and problem solve. Other considerations:

-Plan play dates. Consider your child’s nap time so she won’t be too tired to spend time with her new friend. Remember, children at this are too young to be expected to share.

-Allow time for your child to play alone. Independent play allows him to choose and direct the activity, and helps build confidence.

-Try new ways to play games like peek-a-boo and introduce new toys she can push and pull, or items she can stack such as boxes or cups.

Take note…

Never use spanking or other physical punishment. Spanking is never an effective form of discipline.

Your Child’s Safety

As your child becomes increasingly mobile and curious, you must make “child-proofing” your home a priority.

In the Car

-When your child is at least 12 months old and weighs at least 20 pounds, she can ride in a forward facing car seat (although the AAP recommends that babies remain rear-facing as long as possible) in the backseat of the car.

Around the House

-Block staircases and the kitchen with gates, install safety latches on the toilets, drawers, and cabinets or anyplace where cleaning materials are kept.

-Cover sharp edges, electric outlets and fireplaces.

-Keep hot liquids out of reach.

-Make sure window treatments are not strangling hazards and install window guards to prevent your child from falling out.