The developmental characteristics of children at this stage

Video on development of 12-18 months

Development from 12 to18 Months – English

Heading: Development from 12 to 18 Months

Sub-heading: Walk

Scene: The mother holds her little boy’s hands to teach him walk. The boy cruises a few steps by holding onto a TV cabinet. Another 2 children walk freely by themselves in the living room. One of the boy squats down to pick up a toy from the floor. He then walk to and climb up the sofa.

Narrator: Children start learning to walk at this stage. Although they may still wobble in their steps they can balance fairly well and try to squat down. Some of them may even climb onto furniture.

Scene: The mother holds her little boy’s hands to teach him walk. A family member uses a toy to attract the boy to walk towards her. The little girl who knows how to walk is pulling a toy cart along.

Narrator: You can encourage your child to walk more such as by giving her a pull-along toy when walking. You can also take your child to the playground or to have more outdoor activities.

Sub-heading: Coordinate with hands and fingers

Scene: A baby is playing with an activity board. She uses her fingers to spin, press, pat and turns the different knobs on the activity board. The boy puts a small ball through the hole of a toy ring held by his mother. The boy is playing toy blocks with his parents. He stacks one block on top of another. Another girl sits on her father’s lap is reading a big cardboard story book. She turns the page by herself. She scribbles on a magic board. She follows her parents’ instructions by putting her toys in and taking them out of a basket.

Narrator: Their hands and fingers coordination has become more accurate. They can stack blocks, turn thick pages of a book, doodle with a crayon and put objects in and out of a container.

Scene: The girl and her father is playing with toys on the floor.

Daddy: Comb.

Scene: The girl hands the comb to her father.

Narrator: At this stage they know the name of objects and will look at the object named by you.

Daddy: Telephone.

Scene: The girl picks up the toy phone and pretends to talk.

Daddy: Drink.

Scene: The girl takes the toy cup from the floor and pretends to drink. The father then holds a doll and shows it to the girl.

Daddy: Comb comb.

Scene: The girl picks up the toy comb and comb the hair of the doll.

Sub-heading: Understands simple instructions

Narrator: They can also follow simple instructions.

Scene: The girl plays attentively with her toys. The father holds out his hand to the girl.

Daddy: Give me.

Scene: The girl puts the toy in the father’s hand.

Daddy: Good girl. Bye-bye.

Scene: The girl waves bye-bye.

Sub-heading: Begin to talk

Scene: The father and mother play and talk to her girl. The girl responds by making sounds like “Ah” “Ah”.

Narrator: As they start to talk with jargons or sometimes words, try talking to them frequently and let them imitate your words.

Scene: The girl picks up a ball.

Mother: What’s that? A ball.

Scene: The girl hands the ball to her father and makes some sound like “Eh” “Eh”.

Sub-heading: Think

Scene: The girl looks at and explores the toy phone in her hand.

Narrator: Children of this age start to take interest and experiment on things around them.

Scene: A boy is playing with his parents. He throws a ball to the floor and it bounces. He finds it funny. He then thorws different objects on the floor to test if they also bounce.

Narrator: For instance, when a child finds out a ball bounces when he throws it, he will throw other objects to check whether they will bounce too.

Scene: Another little boy is playing toy blocks with his parents. He finds a block hidden under a box easily. The boy drops the block and it rolls under the sofa accidentally. He crwals down on the floor and try to stick his hand under the sofa to get it back.

Narrator: They will also try to solve problems.

Scene: A boy and a girl are playing tea set on the floor. The girl puts a toy spoon to the doll’s mouth and pretends feeding it. She puts a toy phone to her ear and pretends talking with her father. The parents are reading newspaper on the sofa, a boy holds a book and imitates what they are doing.

Narrator: They like simple pretend play such as playing with a tea set or imitate the actions of adults. The way they play actually reflects their observation in daily life.

Sub-heading: Care for self

Scene: Three toddlers sitting side by side eating at a small table. They try to use the spoon to feed themselves and hold a cup to drink.

Narrator: Give more chances for your child to try in self care activities. You will discover that he can do so much like eat with a spoon and drink with a cup.

Scene: One of the little boy plays with his food while eating and makes a mess on the table.

Narrator: Don’t get upset if your child makes a mess during the learning process. You should praise and encourage him. This can help your child to build up a sense of achievement and to be independent.

Scene: The mother praise the girl eating nicely by clapping her hands. The father hands a piece of paper towel to the boy to clean his mouth.

Sub-heading: Like being with other children

Scene: Three toddlers are playing in the living room. Each child is playing with different toys and with little interactions.

Narrator: Children like making new friends at this stage. Although they like being with other children they still play on their own most of the time.

Scene: A boy and a girl are snatching a toy. The boy cries when he fails to get the toy. Then another boy comes and he snatches the toy from the girl.

Narrator: They are still self-centered and may snatch toys, throw tantrums or even fight with other children. If that happens, stop him immediately and encourage your child to express his needs through words or gestures.

Scene: The father comes over and stops the boy. The boy stops and use gestures to show his father what he wants.

Both nature and nurture affect every child’s development. While nature is important in determining your baby’s capabilities and abilities, the role of a nurturing environment is of equal importance in your baby’s learning and emotion development.

Development is a continuous process and has a certain sequence that children would go through. However, parents should remember that every child is unique. Children have their own pace in development and vary in their abilities. If you are unduly concerned, talk to your doctors or nurses.

A few kids holding different toys

What you can do to help your baby’s development

What babies can do

What you can do

I can walk!

Make the home environment safe

From wobbling to walking, I can go anywhere I want to go!

A walking child

Keep me within your sight and watch out for home accidents

You can place me in the play pen and make it child-proof when you have to leave me for a while

I can climb onto low furniture

A child climbing up a sofa

Keep my surroundings child-proof, so that I will not get hurt if I climb up the couch or stool or crawl under the table

Encourage me to walk by giving me pulling toys with string

A girl pulling a toy on the floor
Pulling toys with string

Take me to play outdoors. Let me run and climb in the playground as well as meet some friends there!

My eye-hand coordination enables me to do more

Play with me

I can place toys into a box

A boy place toys into a box

Give me a bucket or a basket for me to take out and put in toys. Never let me play with plastic bags to avoid causing suffocation

I can stack blocks

A boy stack blocks

Stack up blocks or small paper boxes with me

I can turn the pages of a book


I am happy when you let me turn the cardboard pages while talking about the pictures in the book to me

A girl turning page of a cardboard picture book

I can hold a crayon and try to scribble

Baby bear drawing picture

Scribble with me on paper with crayons

I start to understand what you say; I also learn to talk

I start to understand names of familiar persons and objects. I will look at them when you mention their names

I start to understand simple instructions, e.g. “Give me the ball”

A boy handing a ball to his mother when she said: 'give me the ball'

Talk to me and appreciate my different attempts. Instead of just talking to me,let baby tell you how to talk together with me.

Heading: Let baby tells you (Cantonese only)

Heading: Let baby tells you

Scene: Baby Yau Yau crawls on the floor.

Scene: Baby Yau Yau is crawling on the floor.

Father: Baby.

Scene: Baby Yau Yau is walking alone and looking around.

Yau Yau: Where are mom and dad?

Father: Baby.

Mother: Baby.

Father: Baby, do you get what dad means?

Mother: Baby, would you give some response to mom?

Scene: Baby Yau Yau sees father and mother.

Yau Yau: Oh! Here you are! Let me sit down first, you have something to tell me?

Father: Baby, that’s great. Dad no longer needs to look up before I can see your face.

Mother: Yes, we can see very clearly. We can see your expression and response.

Yau Yau: Dad, mom if you want to communicate with me better and want me to respond to what you said. Then you have to sit down, concentrate and watch this video. I will tell you what you have to note when talking and playing with me. This is very useful, don’t miss it!

Heading: Communicating with Young Children

Scene: Father Ah Kin and mother Ah Ying sit on sofa, while baby Yau Yau sits on floor mat and plays toys.

Ah Ying: Yau Yau, here’s the ring!

Ah Kin: Yau Yau, here’s the ball!

Yau Yau: Sitting on the sofa are my dad Ah Kin and mom Ah Ying. They talk and play with me whenever they have time. By listening and watching them I can probably guess their meaning.

Yau Yau: However, they do not seem to notice what I am doing. Actually I have indicated but why don’t they understand?

Scene: Baby Yau Yau shakes her head, holds up the toy in her hands.

Ah Kin: This ducky is beautiful!

Scene: The doorbell rings.

Ah Kin: Let me open the door.

Yau Yau: Hey, somebody is coming, who’s there?

Scene: Father opens the door, auntie Ah Shan is standing outside the door carrying baby Alvin.

Ah Shan: Hello, Ah Kin.

Ah Kin: Hello, Ah Shan, Alvin!

Yau Yau: Yes, it’s auntie!

Ah Shan: Hello! Let’s take our shoes off first.

Ah Kin: Yeh! Let me help Alvin to take off his shoes.

Scene: Auntie Ah Shan carries baby Alvin, walks into the house and tells him.

Ah Shan: See, Auntie Ying is over there! Hello! Let’s say hello to Auntie Ying first.

Ah Shan, Ah Ying: Hello!

Ah Ying: Yau Yau, say hello to Auntie and Alvin!

Scene: Auntie Ah Shan puts down baby Alvin. Yau Yau and Alvin sit on the floor mat and play with the cooking set.

Alvin: Yau Yau, mom and I come to visit you again!

Yau Yau: I am so happy!

Ah Kin: You see Yau Yau is so happy on seeing Alvin!

Ah Ying:  Yau Yau, say “Auntie”!

Ah Kin: You have to give some response.

Scene: Auntie Ah Shan squats down, face to face with baby Yau Yau.

Ah Shan: Yau Yau, I am Auntie. Call me Auntie!

Scene: Baby Yau Yau can see auntie Ah Shan clearly because Yau Yau is facing auntie Ah Shan. She does not speak, instead, she makes “ahah” sound happily.

Ah Ying: Ah Shan, why does Yau Yau response so well to you? Ah Kin and I always try to talk to her but her response to you is particularly good.

Ah Shan: Alvin’s elder sister also behaved like that when she was young but there are ways to improve.

Scene: Ah Shan, father Ah Kin and mom Ah Ying sit on sofa at living room.

Ah Shan: Communicating with babies needs to be “two-way”.

Ah Ying: What is meant by “two-way”?

Ah Shan: First you should let the baby see you clearly and you can see her too. Also, don’t just always talk yourself. You need to note her facial expression intonation and action give her more responses. Let the baby know that you understand her meaning. She will be interested to continue chatting with you.

Ah Kin: However, Ah Shan, before you come, we were chatting with Yau Yau while playing with her but why she just ignored us?

Ah Ying: Right! She always ignores us.

Ah Shan: How do you usually play with her?

Ah Kin: It’s like what we did just now. She sits on the floor and we sit on the sofa and holding the toy to draw her attention but she seems not interested!

Ah Shan: How about we sit on the floor and play with them and see what the difference is!

Ah Kin: Okay!

Scene: Father Ah Kin, mom Ah Ying and auntie Ah Shan sit on the floor mat, face to face with baby Yau Yau.

Ah Kin: Wow! It’s really very different. I can finally see Yau Yau’s face and expression!

Ah Ying: I see, this is the way to do it!

Ah Shan: Yes!

Yau Yau: Auntie is great!

Alvin: She learned it from Maternal and Child Health Centre.

Scene: Father Ah Kin pushes toy car on floor mat forward and backward.

Ah Kin: Let me try, Yau Yau, here’s the car! Yau Yau. Why she ignores me?

Scene: Baby Yau Yau and Alvin are playing with the cooking set.

Ah Shan: You bent down to talk to her was right but did you notice that they were playing cooking set. If you want your baby to respond to you, you should join in the game they are playing then they can give you the proper response.

Ah Ying: I see.

Scene: Father Ah Kin picks up a toy cup, mom Ah Ying picks up a toy teapot and play with baby Yau Yau together.

Ah Kin: Come on, how about making some tea?

Ah Shan: In fact, when playing with your baby, she can learn a lot.

Scene: Auntie Ah Shan picks up a toy and put it into toy rice cooker.

Ah Shan: Shall we put it in? Put it in!

Scene: Baby Alvin imitates Ah Shan, picking up a toy and putting it into a toy rice cooker.

Ah Shan: Yes, Alvin knows how to put things into the cooker.

Ah Ying: I see! You noticed Alvin has picked up something then you teach him put it into the cooker.

Ah Kin: And you praise him for doing so. This is what you said before by giving response to the baby.

Ah Shan: That’s right. That’s it.

Yau Yau: Your mom is terrific! She teaches you while playing with you. Also she knows how to praise you. It would be great if my mom and dad can do so.

Alvin: Yau Yau, my mom and dad also have to learn before they know! I think uncle and auntie are also smart. They should be able to learn quickly.

Yau Yau: Hope they get it quickly.

Scene: Ah Kin is carrying Yau Yau, Ah Ying is pushing a stroller, Ah Kay and Ah Kam are pushing another stroller, going to the park together. They meet Ah Shan, Ah On and baby Alvin at a pavilion.

Ah Kin: Wow! It’s raining. Let’s get into the shelter. Okay?

Ah Kam: Good! Have you been here for a long time already? Hello!

Ah Kin: Yau Yau, be seated in the stroller.

Scene: Ah Kin put baby Yau Yau back into the stroller.

Ah Kam: Quite thirsty, want some drinks?

Ah Kin: Okay, I will go with you. Are there other things to buy?

Ah Kay: No, thank you

Ah Kam: Okay, let’s go!

Scene: The three mothers, Ah Ying, Ah Kay and Ah Shan, and Ah On sit on a bench in the pavilion, the three babies sit in their own stroller.

Ah Ying: Ah Shan, Ah Kin and I teach Yau Yau using the ways you told us. She speaks more now and we enjoy while we play together.

Ah Shan: This is good.

Ah Kay: Right, recently my Chun Chun also says a lot more!

Ah On: Huh? What does she say?

Ah Kay: I don’t know! She tries to say something but she likes to talk to me.

Yau Yau: Chun Chun, I’m really happy to see you again.

Chun Chun: Yau Yau, Alvin said your mom and dad are learning how to communicate with you.

Alvin: Right, my mom taught them.

Yau Yau: In the past, I had to look up before I could see them. It is different now they sit down on the floor or lift me up when talking to me.

Chun Chun: Your mom really improved a lot. But sometimes, adults are just careless. Just like my mum, once we were waiting for the elevator. I wanted to press the lift button but she misunderstood I was naughty. Well, my dad knew what I wanted and taught me to say the word “light” too.

Scene: Father Ah Kam, Mother Ah Kay and baby Chun Chun are waiting for an elevator. Chun Chun stretches out her arm trying to press the elevator button.

Ah Kay: Chun Chun, don’t be naughty.

Scene: Ah Kam squats down, face to face with Chun Chun.

Ah Kam: Hey! Chun Chun, you want to press the button?

Scene: Chun Chun nods her head, father Ah Kam picks up Chun Chun and shows Chun Chun of him pressing the elevator button.

Ah Kam: Chun Chun. It glows. It’s a “light”. Press the button!

Scene: Chun Chun stretches out her arm and presses the elevator button.

Ah Kam: Wow, terrific! Let’s wait for the elevator to come down.

Scene: Back to the pavilion in the park, the three babies sit in their own stroller.

Alvin: Ah, your dad is very smart. He can read your mind and teaches you so many things

Chun Chun: As long as the adults observe what we are doing and what we like before teaching us. That will make everyone happy.

Yau Yau: Alvin, how about your dad?

Alvin: My dad loves me very much but when he talks, it is either too long or too difficult so I sometimes do not quite understand.

Scene: Father Ah On, mom Ah Shan, baby Alvin and sister are waiting for the school bus at the school bus station, Alvin stretches out his arm and pulls his sister’s school bag.

Alvin: Once my mom and dad brought me to send my sister to school. I wanted to play with her school bag.

Sister: Dad, Alvin pulled my school bag!

Ah On: Alvin, why are you pulling your sister’s school bag? There‘re lots of books and notebooks inside ……

Scene: Ah On bends down, says a lot of things to Alvin.

Alvin: Dad said many things I did not know what he wanted.

Ah On: Remember don’t pull your sister’s school bag again!

Scene: Mom Ah Shan picks up Alvin.

Ah Shan: Do you want to play with sister’s school bag?

Alvin: Mom was different. She simply told me that I should not play with sister’s school bag. She knew that I wanted a school bag and let me put a small bag on.

Scene: Back to the park, the three babies sit in their own stroller.

Chun Chun: Your mom is so clever!

Alvin: Yes, my mom understands my mind very well. She explains things to me in simple words that make me understand easily. Yau Yau, how are uncle and auntie recently?

Yau Yau: Since Auntie Shan came last time, mom and dad have improved a lot. A few days ago, they took me to fruit store.

Scene: Ah Kin holds Yau Yau’s hands, together with Ah Ying, walks into a fruit shop. Ah Ying picks up an orange.

Ah Ying: Yau Yau, here are your favorite oranges!

Scene: Yau Yau picks up a lemon, Ah Kin squats down.

Ah Kin: Come on! This is a lemon, very sour. Yau Yau, do you like it? Lemon, lemon is very sour. Do you like it? “um” Right! Wonderful, Yau Yau!

Scene: Yau Yau passes the lemon to her father, Ah Kin put it back onto the shelf, and picks up a bunch of bananas.

Ah Kin: Come on, let’s look at this. Wow! Banana, it smells good, it tastes great, do you want to try one? Banana.

Yau Yau: Dad knew that I liked the fruits, so he let me have a close look and taught me a lot of things about lemon and banana.

Scene: Yau Yau stretches out her arm and touches a pear.

Ah Kin: This is a pear

Shopkeeper: Is this your child?

Ah Ying: Yes.

Shopkeeper: She’s cute!

Ah Ying: Thank you!

Scene: Back to the park, three babies sit in their own stroller.

Yau Yau: The shopkeeper said that I was cute!

Alvin: See how happy you are when being praised!

Chun Chun: Yau Yau, your mom and dad have really improved a lot!

Yau Yau: Hope they will get even better!

Scene: Ah Kin and Ah Kam are walking along the street outside the park chatting.

Ah Kin: Now my wife and I have learned how to play with Yau Yau anywhere and anytime. Besides being at home, we can also play when going shopping like buying fruits. This gives her more learning opportunities.

Ah Kam: You really become smarter after some time!

Ah Kin: Of course!

Ah Kam: But you have to remember one thing is to relax yourself. Don’t force yourself when you’re too tired. There are also times when babies don’t want to play, like when she is too tired or hungry don’t force her too. That’s to say, when playing with babies, we have to be relax and happy.

Ah Kin: Absolutely agree

Scene: Back to the park, Ah Kin and Ah Kam give out drinks to others.

Ah Kam: One bottle for each, let’s quench our thirst.

Scene: Few weeks later, Ah Kin, Ah Ying, Ah Shan and Alvin are in living room at Yau Yau‘s home. Yau Yau and Alvin sit on floor mat.

Alvin: Yau Yau, after these few weeks, did your mom and dad have any progress?

Yau Yau: They improved a lot. I am so happy.

Alvin: See! I have said they are pretty smart!

Yau Yau: You are right!

Ah Ying: Ah Shan, Yau Yau is still saying baby words. Why do other kids seem to do better than her?

Ah Shan: Don’t worry too much. When Alvin’s elder sister was just before two, she only knew to say a few words. At first, I thought she had a problem. Later I took her to the Maternal and Child Health Centre for check-up, the nurse told me that she was just a bit slow in talking but otherwise was good. The nurse also taught me how to play with her and continue to observe her. By the age of two, she really said a lot more.

Ah Kin: But Ah Ying and I are still very worried!

Ah Shan: It’s normal that you are worried. Every child is different, some progress faster while some are a bit slower so don’t compare your child with other children! Sometimes, even if we spent a lot of effort our kid may not have significant improvement so don’t put pressure on yourself and your baby. If you are still worried, you can make an appointment at the Maternal and Child Health Centre. It is better than being cranky.

Ah Ying: You’re right, I’d better call to make an appointment and ask the nurse’s advice.

Alvin: Yau Yau, uncle and auntie care for you so much!

Yau Yau: Yes, though I’m not speaking well, they understand me more. We communicate with each other very happily!

The words that I can understand are more than I can say

Children at this stage can vary greatly in language development. So I could still be babbling, or could be having more than 10 words


Explain things that I show interest in a simple way to let me learn more new words

I begin to think and solve problems by trial and error

Encourage me to solve problems myself

I like experiments. e.g., if I discover that the ball will bounce back after being thrown out, I will try to throw other objects to see whether the same results will happen

A boy throwing a ball to test if it will bounce

I will try solving simple problems, e.g. I will try to get things out of my reach by using a stick

A boy trying to get a toy underneath the sofa

I need repeated practice and encouragement. Foster my learning motivation and thinking ability by encouraging me to make different attempts

I like imitating adults

A boy imitating his parents reading newspaper

Engage in pretend play with me (e.g. playing tea set, feeding a doll, imitating singing and dancing acts) but do not demand me to imitate your actions immediately

Toy tea set, Toy doctor set, A baby doll and toy tea set

I can take care of myself

Give me time and chance to learn by myself

I can pick up food with my fingers and put it into my mouth

I will try to use a spoon to eat and a cup to drink

A boy using spoon to feed himself
A girl holding a cup to drink

Encourage me to learn to take care of myself, e.g. let me feed myself with a spoon and take off my shoes. Praise me if I can do it, e.g. “Good boy! You can use the spoon yourself!”

Don’t worry about the mess I make when I feed myself. You can put a sheet on the floor to make cleaning easier

I need you to understand my emotions

Guide me to get on with people and express my emotions

I like to be with other kids, even though we don’t know yet how to play together

Kids play together

Let me play with other kids while accepting that it takes times for me to get on with them

Let me play with other kids while accepting that it takes times for me to get on with them

I am still self-centred and will fight over toys with other kids

Kid will fight over toys with other kids

Encourage me to express my needs with gestures and words. Do not spoil me by allowing me to get what I need with crying, hitting and throwing tantrums

I always lose temper as I am still unable to control my emotions and express myself verbally

Different baby animals with different temperaments holding hand in hand

Be my role model

I start leaving your lap more. Remember to stay close and get down to my eye level when talking to me so that I can attend to what you say more easily

A mother playing with her daughter at same level