Your 18-Month-Old: Understanding Normal Development and Signs to Seek Help

First, let's talk about understanding your child's normal development. At 18 months, your little one is growing and learning at an incredible rate. Here are some key milestones you can expect:

Language Development
Most 18-month-olds can say a few words, understand simple commands, and may even begin to put two words together. However, there's a wide range of normal in language development, so don't worry if your child's progress varies.

Motor Skills
Your child should be able to walk steadily and may be climbing on furniture or exploring their environment with more confidence.

Social and Emotional Development
They're likely showing a wide range of emotions and may be starting to enjoy simple games like peek-a-boo.

At this age, your child's appetite can be unpredictable, but they should be gaining weight and showing interest in self-feeding.

Most 18-month-olds need around 11-14 hours of sleep per day, including a nap.

When to Seek Help

Now, let's discuss when to seek help. While children develop at their own pace, there are some red flags that may indicate a need for further evaluation:

Speech Delays
 If your child is not babbling, using gestures, or showing any interest in communication, it's a good idea to consult with a pediatrician.

Motor Delays
If your child isn't walking at all or regressing in their motor skills, it's important to seek guidance.

Social and Emotional Concerns
If you notice extreme behavior issues, extreme shyness, or difficulty forming connections with others, consult your pediatrician.

Feeding Difficulties
If your child is refusing to eat a variety of foods and you're concerned about their growth, speak with a healthcare professional.

Sleep Problems
Persistent sleep problems that significantly disrupt your child's daily routine may require professional advice.

In summary, every child is unique, and development can vary. It's essential to observe and support your child's growth. If you have concerns about your 18-month-old's development, please don't hesitate to reach out to your pediatrician. We're here to provide guidance and ensure your child reaches their full potential. Thank you for being proactive parents, and remember that you're not alone on this journey.

Dr. Melanie Suaris is a board certified pediatrician serving Nicklaus Children’s Pediatric Care Center at Galloway (Kendall).

Published on: 3/20/2024

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