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Your child at 18 months

Your child at 18 months

Your 18 month old has left the helpless baby stage behind and is fast growing into an independent toddler. Here's what to expect.

Dealing with discipline

With your toddler's new-found independence, new challenges arise. And one of the big ones is discipline and copping with the inevitable toddler tantrums.

Boundaries rule ok

Your child relies on your help and guidance to understand good behaviour. You are his role model and he will thrive and feel secure with clear boundaries - and a good example from you.

  • Decide the rules that you can live with and stick to them.
  • Don't be swayed by other mum's rules ??we're all different.
  • Keep calm even when he's playing up.
  • Be consistent so he always knows where he stands.
  • Remember to give attention to good behaviour rather than bad.
  • Praise your toddler when he does something good, however basic or simple.
  • Always explain why you are asking your toddler to do something or not to do something. He needs to know why.
  • Don't smack ??it teaches your child that hitting is acceptable and a useful method of getting your own way.

But remember that: he is learning to live in the world and sometimes won't follow the rules. challenging boundaries is his way of learning. his 'naughtiness' isn't deliberate, so although it's frustrating, try to understand his behaviour from his point of view. until the age of three, understanding and following rules all the time is impossible. Expect a little rule-breaking.


Although he hasn't officially yet reached the 'terrible twos' stage, tantrums can start at any time from now ??as you will probably already have noticed.

Tantrums often happen out of frustration and can appear in clusters just before a period of development. Some experts believe this is because the brain is ready for the next stage (talking, walking) before the body is, and this can be extremely frustrating, particularly when your baby is tired or hungry.

When a tantrum happens:

  • try distraction ??suddenly point out a fascinating creepy crawly, a super-fast car, a funny character.
  • keep calm and don't lose your temper (go in another room if necessary).
  • ignore other people's glances, it's not their problem (they're probably just relieved it's not happening to them)
  • don't give in to whatever your toddler is demanding if you've already said no. That will send him the signal that tantrums work.