Toddler Ages 12 – 24 Months
By 12 months your child has probably said their first word. By 18 months, a child may know how to say around 10 words. Although they can only speak limitedly, they understand a lot more. Most 18 month olds are able to understand and follow basic commands like “give me a kiss” or “don’t hit.” Also, even though they have previously said certain words, does not mean that they will repeatedly say these words. They may go in waves, saying a few words a lot, and when they learn a new word, they may say it more often than one of the other words they have mastered. Don’t be discouraged by this. They are learning every day, and these words will come back to them as they develop.
By 24 months, the child’s vocabulary will be around 50 words, and his comprehension will be much greater. In addition, some children at this age are able to put two words together like “want cookie” or “up please.” Because the child’s comprehension of words is much greater than their ability to say words, they may grow frustrated when they are unable to communicate with people.
Once your child has mastered cruising, (walking while holding on to a table, hand, or other object) you can begin to help them take their first few steps alone. This usually happens around 12-13 months, but can occur earlier, or as late as 17 months. If they are not walking by 18 months, seek a pediatrician’s advice. Have two people the child is comfortable with sit on the floor a few feet apart. Point the child in the direction of the other person while holding on to their hands. As they walk toward that person, let go and watch as your child takes their first steps. It may be unnerving for the child to be without that support, so the first steps are usually followed by falling on their bottoms. Continue to practice this back and forth, cheering them on when they do well, and comforting them when they fall to help your child grow in confidence. It helps if the child is barefoot, because they will not be used to shoes and socks. Eventually your child will be able to walk several feet between grasping objects to regain their balance. Once they have mastered walking and maintaining their balance, their walking will soon turn into running!