Age Group: 18 – 24 months

You can reach a caring community resource specialist by calling 2-1-1.

Development Information

Every child is unique and develops differently. These are handy guidelines for motor, sensory, language, thinking and social skills that your child is starting to develop. If you are ever concerned, please go your local doctor or health clinic.

By 24 months, your child will typically be able to:
Motor Skills

  • drink from a straw
  • feed himself with a spoon
  • help in washing hands
  • put arms in sleeves with help
  • toss or roll a large ball
  • open cabinets, drawers, boxes
  • operate a mechanical toy
  • bend over to pick up a toy and not fall
  • walk up steps with help
  • take steps backward

Sensory and Thinking Skills

  • like to take things apart
  • explore surroundings

Language and Social Skills

  • have a vocabulary of several hundred words
  • use 2-3 word sentences
  • say names of toys
  • ask for information about an object (asks, “Shoe?” while pointing to shoe box)
  • hum or try to sing
  • listen to short rhymes
  • like to imitate parents
  • sometimes get angry and have temper tantrums
  • act shy around strangers
  • comfort a distressed friend or parent
  • take turns in play with other children
  • treat a doll or stuffed animal as though it were alive
  • apply pretend action to others (as in pretending to feed a doll)
  • show awareness of parental approval or disapproval for her actions
  • refer to self by name and use “me” and “mine”
  • verbalize his desires and feelings (“I want cookie”)
  • laugh at silly labeling of objects and events (as in calling a nose an ear)
  • enjoy looking at one book over and over
  • point to eyes, ears, or nose when you ask

Free services for developmental questions, concerns, and testing:
Community Coordinated Child Care
5 Odana Court, Madison, WI 53719
(608) 271-9181
You can also look at the Ages & Stages Questionnaire (ASQ), a developmental screener to see how your child compares with other children of the same age.

Children with Disabilities Resources
Dane County Department of Human Services
1202 Northport Drive, Madison WI 53704
(888) 794-5556

Wisconsin Department of Health Services-0-3 Program
1 W Wilson St Madison, WI 53703
(608) 266-1251

Imagine a Child’s Capacity-Birth to Three
2875 Fish Hatchery Rd Unit 1 Madison, WI 53713
(608) 204-6247

Gio’s Garden
2028 Parmenter St Middleton, WI 53562
(608) 833-4467

Waisman Center
1500 Highland Ave Madison, WI 53705
(608) 263-1656

United Cerebral Palsy of Great Dane County-Birth to 3 Connections
2801 Coho Street, Suite 300 Madison WI 53713
(608) 273-4434

Epilepsy Foundation Southern Wisconsin-Infants and Epilepsy
1302 Mendota St Ste 100 Madison, WI 53714
(608) 442-5555

Madison Area Down Syndrome Society
(608) 692-7653

Family Support and Resource Center
101 Nob Hill Rd Ste 201 Madison WI 53713

Health Information

With childhood vaccines, your child is protected from a variety of serious diseases that could drastically harm or kill your child. If you any concerns, please discuss with them with your doctor or at your local health clinic.

12-23 months

  • Hepatitis A: Dose 1 of 2
  • Annual Influenza dose

18 months or older

  • Hepatitis A: Dose 2 of 2, must be 6 months after dose 1

If your child has not been vaccinated or has missed one, your local doctor can still make a schedule or go to and make sure your child is properly protected.


Allied Wellness Center
2225 Allied Dr Ste 2 Madison WI 53711
(608) 274-7006

For free childhood immunizations

Public Health Madison and Dane County
2705 East Washington Avenue Second Floor Madison, WI 53704
(608) 266-4821
Public Health Madison and Dane County
2230 South Park Street Madison, WI 53713
(608) 266-4821

BadgerCare Plus Program
Dane County Human Resources
1819 Aberg Ave Madison, WI 53704
(888) 794-5556

To qualify free or low-cost health insurance for your child call 1-877-KIDS-NOW or go to


  • Toddlers should be sleeping 14 hours a day with one afternoon nap (usually between 1pm and 3pm)
  • Naps are important because they help your child get to sleep easier and sleep longer overnight


  • Toddlers can be served most table foods if cut into small pieces
  • Your child should be using sippy cups at this time and be weaned from his or her bottle
  • Sitting for meals may be difficult for you toddler! Some hints include: serving 5 or 6 smaller meals per day, serving finger foods that he or she can pick up him or herself, and using a variety of colorful, textured foods.

Safety Information

If you are worried about the health, safety, and/or welfare of a child, please contact child protective services.

Children, Youth & Families Services Intake
2322 S Park Street Madison, WI 53713
Office Hours: (608) 261-KIDS (5437)
After Hours: (608) 255-6067

General Safety

  • Limit access to rooms, drawers and dangerous objects: block staircases, install safety latches on cabinets, toilets and drawers and cover sharp edges.
  • Avoid climbing accidents by using “L” brackets to secure large objects and furniture and installing window guards to prevent your child from falling out.
  • Keep hot liquids out of reach.
  • Make sure window treatments are not strangling hazards

In the Car
Never place baby in the front seat of a car with an activated airbag. The force of the airbag could kill your baby.
The law requires that your baby ride in:

  • A properly installed, federally approved car seat every time she is in the car.
  • The rear facing position.
  • The back seat

If your child has eaten or drunk something poisonous (or possibly poisonous), contact Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222.

Child Care

Child care tips for parents*

  • Get a list of child care providers in your area that are regulated
  • Contact these providers and let them know what your child care needs are (the hours you need, the age(s) of your child(ren), etc.)
  • Visit 2 or 3 programs to observe and ask questions. Look for how the provider interacts with the children, the type of discipline used, the schedule (naps, snacks), safety issues, the child to provider ratio (how many children is each provider watching?), cleanliness, and the types of toys and activities available.
  • Bring your child(ren) for a second visit to see how he/she/they react to the provider and the environment.
  • Ask the provider for references of other parents/caregivers. Contact these references and ask questions.
  • Listen to your instincts. You know your child(ren) better than anyone.
  • Choose a provider and continue to stay in contact. Ask questions, visit, and talk about any concerns.

Try or to find babysitters, nannies, pet sitters, and other help.

Community Coordinated Child Care, Inc.
5 Odana Court, Madison, WI 53719
(608) 271-9181

The Rainbow Project-Early Childhood CORE Program
831 East Washington Avenue Madison, WI 53703
(608) 255-7356

Dane County Parent Council
2096 Red Arrow TR Madison, WI 53711
(608) 270-3438

Center for Families-Home Visiting Program
2120 Fordem Ave Madison WI 53704
(608) 729-1162

Reading Tips*

Toddlers at this age like books that:

  • are sturdy and easy to handle or carry
  • have pictures of other kids doing something they do (eating, sleeping)
  • have a “goodnight” theme at bedtime
  • talk about saying hello and goodbye
  • have only a few words on each page
  • have simple rhymes

What parents can do:

  • relate the story to the child’s own life
  • add books into routines (every morning, at bedtime)
  • ask the child what something is; give them time to answer
  • run your fingers along the words as you read them
  • use creative voices for characters in books
  • help the child turn the pages

Dane County Library Services
(608) 266-6388

Playing Information

Caregivers with children 18 months – 3 years old can:

  • play follow the leader, tag, catch, and guessing games
  • reverse caregiver-child role
  • tell and act out stories
  • take field trips outside
  • use pretend play


Children’s Services Society-Mobile Play and Learn
(608) 628-9512

Madison Metropolitan School District-Play and Learn
545 Dayton St. Madison, Wisconsin 53703
(608) 204-6683

Center for Families
2120 Fordem Ave Madison, WI 53704
(608) 241-5150

Journey Mental Health Center
625 West Washington, Av, Madison, WI 53703
(608) 280-2720

Parenting Tips

  • Children at this age are starting to understand your expectations for them
  • PRAISE your child when they are doing something that you approve of. If you only react to negative behaviors, those will be all you see.
  • Be a good role model! If you want your child to say please when they ask for something, say please when you ask for something.
  • Pick your battles. Ignore small incidents and accidents
  • Continue to limit the word no. Offer your child alternatives to actions that you do not approved of. (i.e. instead of saying “no, you can’t watch a movie now,” try “you CAN play with your blocks now”)
  • Allow your child to have a second chance. This will give them the opportunity to try out a new behavior. Say “let’s try that again, only this time you can…”
  • If your child needs to do something, don’t ask them if they want to do it. Tell them. For example don’t say “Are you ready to go to bed?” or “Do you want to go to bed?” The answer will be no. Instead say, “It is time to go to bed now” or “Go get ready for bed now please.”

Parent Groups:
Center for Families
2120 Fordem Avenue Madison, WI
(608) 241-5150

Orion Family Services
6333 Odana Rd Suite 20 Madison, WI 53719
(608) 270-2511

Canopy Center
1457 E Washington Avenue Ste 102 Madison, WI 53703
(608) 729-1125

Project Rainbow-Grandparents & Other Relatives as Parents
831 E Washington Ave Madison, WI 53703
(608) 255-7356

Wisconsin Fathers for Children and Families
1-608-255-3237 (ALL-DADS)

Madison Area Mothers of Multiples
311 Friedel Drive Marshall, WI 53559

For more information, please dial 2-1-1.