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Health Facts

General Health


Toddlers & Children




Child Development 18 months to 2 years


Posture and Large Movements

Toddlers of this age are walking well and begin to run, usually upright and stiffly initially, and then confidently avoiding objects as they approach 2 years of age. They are able to squat down for toys and stand up again, without falling over. They are able to push and pull toys, and they can throw a small ball. They initially walk upstairs with their hand held, and then are able to walk up and down the stairs alone with 2 feet on each step. By 2 years of age they can walk backwards.

Vision and Fine Movement

These toddlers enjoy simple picture books and usually turn several pages at once. By 2 years of age they recognise familiar adults in photographs and can turn the pages of books singly. They enjoy scribbling with a pencil using a palmar grasp and by 2 years of age will be drawing circular scribbles and dots. They insist on holding a spoon and feeding themselves, but due to their lack of manual dexterity, this task will take some time to perfect.

Speech and Hearing

At 18 months of age they may use 6 - 20 words and talk to themselves all the time. They will take your hand to show you what they want and accompany this with a word or a noise. Speech development will increase to 50 words by 2 years of age, incorporating 2 word sentences. They are familiar with their own body parts such as eyes, nose, mouth etc. They refer to themselves by their own name. They often repeat the last word spoken and by 2 years of age will begin to listen with interest.


During this age group the toddlers swing from independence to dependence and with this can come frustration and tantrums. Initially they will display mood swings from friendly co-operation to resistance for example. By 2 years of age they are becoming more stable and are able to wait briefly or show concern when mother is hurt.

Social Behaviour

They play contentedly alone but still like a familiar adult to be close by. They view older children as "objects" and will poke or push them as a means of exploration. This is normal behaviour that at times may seem boisterous or rough. They are extremely curious and although they have short attention spans, spend a lot of time watching the interactions of people. By doing this they are learning and mimicking adult behaviour. The desire to suck is diminished now and therefore bottle-feeding is not necessary. They can drink from a cup and can ask for food. They attempt to dress themselves. By 2 years of age they are usually beginning to show signs of their toiling needs, however this behaviour is due to maturation of the nervous system and not dictated by age alone. They have an endless store of energy and they must be given time to use it up! They begin to defend their own possessions. As they cannot understand ownership, they cannot understand the concept of sharing. They demand a lot of adult attention.


Tactful co-operation and vigilant observation are essential. Giving them time and appropriate playthings to explore and burn off some of their energy is important. Playthings such as boxes, sand, water, books, dress up clothes, a simple cart and going for walks are some suggestions. Opportunities to sing and be involved with conversations are important. Tantrums may be managed by avoiding situations that the toddler finds frustrating; distracting the toddler with another object or taking them into another room or outside, thereby removing them from the situation that was frustrating them; and finally ignoring the toddler. This should only be done a s a final line of management and only if the toddler is in a safe environment for a shot period of time. Opportunities for independence and attempting to do simple adult tasks should be encouraged. Finally safety is of the utmost importance due to their increase in motor skills, curiosity, need for independence and endless energy levels. Be aware of safety in the home, outside and when travelling in the car.