Joyce Powell
Extension Assistant
Human Development

Charles A. Smith, Ph.D.
Extension Specialist
Human Development

Copyright/Access Information

Have you ever wondered how your child is growing and developing compared to other children of the same age? How do you know if your child is “on the right track”?

Your child is going through many physical and mental changes. Although no two children grow at the same rate, experts agree there are “normal” signs of development. This brochure will provide you with a checklist of important milestones in your child's development during the second year of life.

It is a simple tool you can use to become aware of and appreciate the dramatic changes that are occurring in your child. Watch for these signs in your child over a one month period. (Even children have “bad days.”) Remember, each child is different and may learn and grow at a different rate. However, if your child cannot do many of the skills listed for his or her age group, you should consult your pediatrician. If your child was born sooner than expected, be sure to deduct the number of months early from his or her age. A 5-month-old born 2 months early would be expected to show the same skills as a 3-month-old who was born on his or her due date. Several additional sources of information are listed on the back of this brochure.

You are the most important observer of your child's development. If your child has special needs, early help can make a difference.

By 18 months of age does your child:

Motor Skills

  • like to pull, push, and dump things
  • pull off hat, socks, and mittens
  • turn pages in a book
  • stack 2 blocks
  • carry a stuffed animal or doll
  • scribble with crayons
  • walk without help
  • run stiffly, with eyes on the ground

Sensory and Thinking Skills

  • identify an object in a picture book
  • laugh at silly actions (as in wearing a bowl as a hat)
  • look for objects that are out of sight
  • put a round lid on a round pot
  • follow simple 1-step directions
  • solve problems by trial and error

Language and Social Skills

  • say 8-10 words you can understand
  • look at a person who is talking to him
  • ask specifically for her mother or father
  • use “hi,” “bye,” and “please,” with reminders
  • protest when frustrated
  • ask for something by pointing or by using one word
  • direct another's attention to an object or action
  • become anxious when separated from parent(s)
  • seek attention
  • bring toys to share with parentact out a familiar activity in play (as in pretending to take a bath)
  • play alone on the floor with toys
  • compete with other children for toys
  • recognize herself in the mirror or in pictures
  • seem selfish at times

By 2 years of age does your child:

Motor Skills

  • drink from a straw
  • feed himself with a spoon
  • help in washing hands
  • put arms in sleeves with helpbuild a tower of 3-4 blocks
  • toss or roll a large ball
  • open cabinets, drawers, boxes
  • operate a mechanical toy
  • bend over to pick up a toy and not fall
  • walk up steps with help
  • take steps backward

Sensory and Thinking Skills

  • like to take things apart
  • explore surroundings
  • point to 5-6 parts of a doll when asked

Language and Social Skills

  • have a vocabulary of several hundred words
  • use 2-3 word sentences
  • say names of toys
  • ask for information about an object (asks, “Shoe?” while pointing to shoe box)
  • hum or try to sing
  • listen to short rhymes
  • like to imitate parents
  • sometimes get angry and have temper tantrums
  • act shy around strangers
  • comfort a distressed friend or parent
  • take turns in play with other children
  • treat a doll or stuffed animal as though it were alive
  • apply pretend action to others (as in pretending to feed a doll)
  • show awareness of parental approval or disapproval for her actions
  • refer to self by name and use “me” and “mine”
  • verbalize his desires and feelings (“I want cookie”)
  • laugh at silly labeling of objects and events (as in calling a nose an ear)
  • enjoy looking at one book over and over
  • point to eyes, ears, or nose when you ask

If you have questions about your child's development or want to have your child tested,

  • call your pediatrician
  • the local health department
  • the Make-A-Difference Information Network (They can help you find a testing location near your community.) 1-800-332-6262 [In Kansas]
  • the Parent Helpline (They can help you with questions about child rearing.) 1-800-332-6378 [In Kansas]

Contact your county extension office to obtain other publications in this series. Additional resources on parenting are also available.

Thanks to Ann Murray and Susan Wanska for their assistance
in the preparation of this publication series.

The developmental information provided in this bulletin has been synthesized
from a variety of professional resources to help you appreciate your child's progress.
It is not a formal, standardized measurement tool.

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