Ages 18‑24 Months
Social and Emotional Development
- Provide opportunities for your toddler to play beside other children. Talk about the play of other children: "Look, Kim is building a block tower."
- Talk to your toddler ahead of time about new routines and events: "At playgroup, we will sing songs and listen to stories."
- Offer your toddler choices to help cope with feelings: "You're feeling sad, do you want to cuddle or be alone?"
- Talk about how others feel: "John is sad because you took his truck." If your toddler hurts another child, explain: "You cannot hurt others." Redirect your toddler's activity.
What Your Toddler Is Likely to Do
- Enjoy playing alone for short periods of time.
- Act like she or he owns certain objects.
- Like to do things without help.
- Help with simple household chores.
- Have trouble sharing. Say “no” and “mine.” May hit, push, and grab to keep toys.
- Show concern for others.
- Show fear, but can be settled down.
- Change between doing things on his or her own and wanting help or comfort.
- Be watchful around adults she or he doesn’t know.
Other Things Your Toddler May Do
- See his‑ or herself as a separate person. Your toddler may say, “No me do it.”
- Put on simple clothing without help.
- Have mood swings and tantrums.
- Show aggressive behaviours such as biting and hitting.
- Say “no” a lot, especially if your toddler hears “no” a lot.
- Sometimes share food, toys, and other items.
- Become familiar with routines.
- Be unhappy about any changes in routines.
- Develop new fears.
- Have a security toy or blanket.
How You Can Help Social and Emotional Development
- Use everyday routines such as walks and mealtimes to talk about family and friends.
- Talk to your toddler ahead of time about new routines and events: “At playgroup, we will sing songs and listen to stories.”
- Introduce your toddler to a playmate.
- Watch your toddler while she or he is playing with other children. At this age your toddler will be better at playing beside rather than with another child.
- Talk about the play of other children: “Look, Kim is building a block tower.”
- Let your toddler help with chores, such as cleaning up spills, putting clothes in drawers, or putting away toys.
- Model good manners: use “please” and “thank you.”
- Continue to breastfeed.
- Have fun with your toddler. Laughing together builds good feelings.
- Talk about your toddler’s emotions: “Your tears tell me you are feeling sad.”
- Suggest ways to deal with feelings: “When you feel angry, come and get a grown‑up for help.”
- Sing simple songs about emotions, such as If You’re Happy and You Know It.
- Read stories that explore emotions, and talk about them.
- Offer your toddler choices to help him or her cope with her feelings: “You’re feeling sad, do you want to cuddle or be alone?”
- Talk about how others feel: “John is sad because you took his truck.”
- If your toddler hurts another child, explain: “You cannot hurt others.” Redirect your toddler’s activity.