Age Group: 12 – 18 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 18 months, your child will typically be able to:
Motor Skills

  • like to pull, push, and dump things
  • turn pages in a book
  • carry a stuffed animal or doll
  • scribble with crayons
  • pull off hat, socks, and mittens
  • walk without help
  • run stiffly, with eyes on the ground

Sensory and Thinking Skills

  • identify an object in a picture book
  • laugh at silly actions (as in wearing a bowl as a hat)
  • look for objects that are out of sight
  • put a round lid on a round pot
  • follow simple 1-step directions
  • solve problems by trial and error

Language and Social Skills

  • say 8-10 words you can understand
  • look at a person who is talking to him
  • ask specifically for her mother or father
  • use “hi”, “bye”, and “please” with reminders
  • ask for something by pointing or by using one word
  • direct another’s attention to an object or action
  • protest when frustrated
  • become anxious when separated from parent(s)
  • seek attention
  • seem selfish at times
  • bring toys to share with parent
  • act out a familiar activity in play (as in pretending to take a bath)
  • play alone on the floor with toys
  • compete with other children for toys

recognize herself in the mirror or in pictures

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.

6-18 months

  • Hepatitis B: Dose 3 of 3
  • Polio/IPV: Dose 3 of 4

12-15 months

  • Hib: Dose 4 of 4
  • Pneumococcal/PCV: Dose 4 of 4
  • MMR (Measels, Mumps, and Ruebela): Dose 1 of 2
  • Varicella: Dose 1 of 2

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


  • At this stage, your child will need around 14 hours of sleep per day
  • Morning nap time may be taken away and he or she may only need one longer afternoon nap
  • With the loss of a nap, your child may be ready to go to bed earlier than he or she used to be (between 6pm and 8pm)


  • At this time, your child should eat a balanced diet of foods: fruits, vegetables, dairy, and protein
  • All food needs to be cut into small bite-sized pieces
  • Instead of 3 main meals per day, your child may respond better to 5 or 6 smaller meals
  • At 12 months, your child is ready to stop drinking breast milk and/or formula. He or she should drink up to 24 ounces of whole milk each day.
  • Your child can drink from a sippy cup now rather than a bottle
  • Offer your child plenty of water throughout the day

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

As your child becomes increasingly mobile and curious, you must make “child-proofing” your home a priority.

In the Car

  • When your child is at least 12 months old and weighs at least 20 pounds, she can ride in a forward facing car seat (although the AAP recommends that babies remain rear-facing as long as possible) in the backseat of 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.

Around Your House

  • Block staircases and the kitchen with gates, install safety latches on toilets, drawers, and cabinets or anyplace where cleaning materials are kept.
  • Cover sharp edges, electric outlets and fireplaces.
  • Keep hot liquids out of reach.
  • Make sure window treatments are not strangling hazards and install window guards to prevent your child from falling out.

Now is the time to make sure the mattress on the crib is lowered all the way. It is also important to keep the side rail up when your child is in bed.

Child Care

Tips for choosing a child care provider*

  • 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:

  • let the child hold and control books
  • remember that children have short attention spans (a few minutes of reading is okay!)
  • ask the child where something is and let them point
  • talk about the pictures or make up a story; you don’t have to read the words in the book

Dane County Library Services
(608) 266-6388

Playing Information

Caregivers with children 0-18 months old can:

  • respond to baby’s sounds (echo the sound, make a face)
  • sing to and talk with baby
  • play peek-a-boo, pat-a-cake, and hiding games
  • name objects around baby
  • smile at baby.


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

  • Use the word “no” in moderation. When your child’s safety is at risk, “no” can be appropriate.
  • Try to anticipate your child’s next move. Redirect them or distract them from activities that are unsafe.
  • Setting some limits is ok. These rules should focus on keeping your child safe. (i.e. not ok to climb up unto shelves/tables, not ok to run through the house, not ok to play near the stove, etc.)
  • Enforce these rules consistently and clearly so that the child knows what you expect.
  • Use nonverbal communication by giving a serious look or shaking your head. This lets your child know that certain behaviors are not acceptable.

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.