18-Month Check-Up

(Children 18 – 24 Months Old)

At this age, your child can walk, run, climb, and explore everything. Your child is probably walking backwards, can throw a ball, can say 15-20 words, maybe some 2 word phrases, can stack 3 blocks now, and can use a spoon and cup. Your child should be able to follow simple directions and point to some body parts. Your child should also like to listen to stories and be able to look at a picture and name objects.

At the ages between one and two, your child is in the most accident-prone stage of their life. Continue to use the toddler car seat in the back seat, rear facing, and to use gates and cabinet locks. Never leave your child alone in the bathtub, swimming pool or any other water even for a moment. Your child can drown in the most shallow water and knowing how to swim does not make them water safe at this age. Remember sunscreen and hats and limit time in direct sunlight. Supervise closely especially in the kitchen and near dogs, lawnmowers, driveways and streets. Your child doesn’t understand danger or remember “No” when they are exploring. Please call poison control immediately if your child puts something poisonous in their mouth. The number for poison control is 1-800-222-1222.

You should try to eat meals as a family and allow your child to eat with their hands and with utensils. Provide healthy food choices and allow experimentation, but do not force eating. An appetite slump is noticeable from one to two years of age and is normal as long as your child is growing well. Vitamin supplements are not routinely needed even in the pickiest of eaters. Give 2-3 nutritious snacks daily (like fruit), but do not give snacks as a reward and limit sugar. Remember to avoid foods commonly choked on such as hot dogs, grapes, nuts and popcorn. Brush your child’s teeth and teach them how. Use a small amount of fluoride toothpaste.

Play with your child, sing songs, and read to them often. Encourage talking, self-care and physical activity. Limit TV. Set a small number of specific rules and consistently (that is key) enforce them, but keep discipline brief. Temper tantrums have probably already started by this age and are a normal part of development. Toilet training readiness may begin in a few children at this age.

Your next appointment will be at 2 years old