Talking and Feeling

  • Show your child how to use words.
    • Use words to describe your child’s feelings.
    • Describe your child’s gestures with words.
    • Use simple, clear phrases to talk to your child.
    • When reading, use simple words to talk about the pictures.
  • Try to give choices. Allow your child to choose between 2 good options, such as a banana or an apple, or 2 favorite books.
  • Your child may be anxious around new people; this is normal. Be sure to comfort your child.

A Good Night’s Sleep

  • Make the hour before bedtime loving and calm.
  • Have a simple bedtime routine that includes a book.
  • Put your child to bed at the same time every night. Early is better.
  • Try to tuck in your child when she is drowsy but still awake.
  • Avoid giving enjoyable attention if your child wakes during the Use words to reassure and give a blanket or toy to hold for comfort.


  • Have your child’s car safety seat rear-facing until your child is 2 years of age or until she reaches the highest weight or height allowed by the car safety seat’s manufacturer.
  • Follow the owner’s manual to make the needed changes when switching the car safety seat to the forward-facing position.
  • Never put your child’s rear-facing seat in the front seat of a vehicle with a passenger airbag. The back seat is the safest place for children to ride
  • Everyone should wear a seat belt in the car.
  • Lock away poisons, medications, and lawn and cleaning supplies.
  • Call Poison Help (1-800-222-1222) if you are worried your child has eaten something harmful.
  • Place gates at the top and bottom of stairs and guards on windows on the second floor and higher. Keep furniture away from windows.
  • Keep your child away from pot handles, small appliances, fireplaces, and space heaters.
  • Lock away cigarettes, matches, lighters, and alcohol.
  • Have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and an escape plan.
  • Set your hot water heater temperature to lower than 120°F.

Temper Tantrums and Discipline

  • Use distraction to stop tantrums when you can.
  • Limit the need to say “No!” by making your home and yard safe for play.
  • Praise your child for behaving well.
  • Set limits and use discipline to teach and protect your child, not punish.
  • Be patient with messy eating and play. Your child is learning.
  • Let your child choose between 2 good things for food, toys, drinks, or books.

Healthy Teeth

  • Take your child for a first dental visit if you have not done so.
  • Brush your child’s teeth twice each day after breakfast and before bed with a soft toothbrush and plain water.
  • Wean from the bottle; give only water in the bottle.
  • Brush your own teeth and avoid sharing cups and spoons with your child or cleaning a pacifier in your mouth.

What to Expect at Your Child’s 18 Month Visit

We will talk about

  • Talking and reading with your child
  • Playgroups
  • Preparing your other children for a new baby
  • Spending time with your family and partner
  • Car and home safety
  • Toilet training
  • Setting limits and using time-outs
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