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Your Baby’s Development Firsts – From 12 to 18 months

From walking and scribbling to saying his first words, your baby’s second year is a miraculous journey of developmental firsts

He may not be a tiny baby anymore, but your baby is still doing lots of things for the first time. Now he’s likely to be on the move, he can explore the world around him more easily – and will be keeping you on your toes.

Walking and talking

'By 18 months he may be able to say between six and 20 recognisable single words'

Your baby will usually start to walk between 10 and 18 months, and he’s also ready to learn how to kick or throw a ball and scribble with a crayon. ‘As he’s been taking in everything you’ve been saying during his first year, he may say his first word around his first birthday,’ says Dr Todd.

‘And by 18 months he will be able to say between six and 20 recognisable single words, but will understand many more.’

Encouraging first words

Some children pick up language more slowly, but this doesn’t mean they won’t catch up later. To encourage him, make a special effort to name everyday items, such as his toys and favourite snacks. 'Make an effort to name everyday objects as often as possible'

Let him point to what he wants, then you name it – for example, “Yes, that’s your teddy.’  The next step is to encourage him to say the word rather than point to the object.

Some children pick up language more slowly, but this doesn’t mean they won’t catch up later

Ask him if he’d like a drink of milk or juice, but rather than bringing out the cartons so he can point to which one he wants, ask him instead to see if he can try saying the word.

Learning to play

Just after his first birthday your baby will become interested in ball play, thanks to his quickly developing motor skills and hand-eye coordination. First, he’ll roll and then throw before moving onto kicking. Catching will usually begin after his third birthday.

Your child loves crayons and painting at this age because it’s fascinating for him to make marks on paper. It also helps develop his pincer grip, which will eventually help him write.

What you can do?

Ditch the baby talk. A recent study from Stanford University in the US found that talking to toddlers in long sentences helps develop their language skills. ‘But try not to correct his speech when he replies so he feels confident talking around you,’ adds Dr Todd.

Let him have at the crayons or felt tips. Even if he seems far too young to be able to create a picture, he’ll enjoy seeing his marks on a piece of paper and experimenting with different colour. Just invest in a wipe clean tablecloth first…

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