Here's the latest instalment in our child development calendar, designed to bring back all those memories of what babies and toddlers should be doing and (roughly) when.
This one focuses on how your grandchild will be developing at 18 months.
This is the age at which your grandchild's determination to be her own person ceases to be entirely charming and becomes occasionally tricky. If she wasn’t born with an instinctively calm and pacific nature, temper tantrums may well become a feature some time around now. The upside is that you’ll get a more affectionate, interested and funny grandchild. Don’t take the tantrums too hard and look at them as an interesting (!) developmental phase.
She’ll be getting better at taking steps by herself, swaying her arms like a marcher and checking out the scenery. She may even manage the considerable feat of moving while holding a toy. Sitting down and standing up will be manageable, and the furniture will look more and more like a climbing frame. Ten to 20 minutes of walking will be the most she can manage - make the most of it: in a few years’ time you'll find it difficult to get her to walk anywhere!
She may find stairs a bit more tricky, and throwing herself down them will always be a possibility. Hold her hand to help her stagger up. The small slide in the playground will be about the right level of challenge for her – and she’ll want to go down it again and again. And again.
Canines are poking through so she might start biting.
Little chairs will be perfect for her, and watch out for your wallpaper, as she’ll be developing her artistic (otherwise known as scribbling) skills.
She’ll be able to coordinate hands and eyes a lot better than before and will take pleasure in putting things where they should go. (This will surprise you if you mainly remember teenagers, who couldn't put anything in the right place.) She’ll even be able to pretend she’s not reaching for the crayons by looking elsewhere at the same time.
Towers of bricks may be six tall, but also very often Leaning Towers of Pisa. She’ll be able to use a spoon quite well, and to demonstrate this skill by also putting it in your mouth.
She may be asking for a potty when she needs to do a poo. This process should be kept relaxed – some children take a while to adjust to toilet training, some find it simple and obvious.
She’ll be able to remove some of her own clothes, pulling off shoes, socks and other simple items, not always when you want her to.
Her vocabulary, which now will be around 15 words, will have stretched to 200 by the end of the year. It will be made up of mostly nouns: dog, shoe, ball.
Repeating may be her thing, in which case get ready to hear "car, car, car", just in case you hadn’t heard the first time. She understands your requests, but may not always follow them – you’ll almost certainly find it easier to get her to respond to "come and get a biscuit," than "bedtime now".
Body parts come next on her vocabulary list, but she might pause if put on the spot in front of others. Try not to ‘translate’ for other people, as she’ll enjoy being able to point and name things herself, and it’s good for her to develop confidence in her ability to communicate.
When she wants seconds at teatime, she’ll move on from ‘more’ to the much more expressive ‘all gone’. Other two word sentences will not be far behind.
She can solve problems now, work things out, and will try to get around child safety mechanisms: scramble out of her pushchair, wriggle out of her car seat.
She understands that she’s a separate person. It's a short step from here to her needs becoming (in her view) the most important thing in the world - which can be awkward if you want or need to say "no". She is not turning into a monster; it's entirely normal for her to think no one else matters. She'll soon be able to see things from your point of view too.