Who We Are | Friends & Supporters | You're Not Alone | We Recommend | My Child | Store

Search the Invest In Kids website.

Ages and Stages

What to expect and how you can help, as your child grows and develops.

Answers for Parents

Reliable information on a wide range of topics.


Thank You Scotia Capital for supporting this website.

Home > My Child > Ages and Stages > 12 to 18 Months > Intellectual Development

My Child
Intellectual Development - Language: 12 to 18 months

Intellectual Development means being able to communicate, to think both creatively and abstractly, to pay attention, solve problems, and develop keen judgment and a lifelong readiness to learn.

Emerging Skills
  • Begin to say several words and try to use words to describe actions
  • Begin to know and name familiar objects
  • Begin to identify pictures in books
  • Point to body parts
  • Understand simple requests
  • Follow directions without gestures (for example, "Bring me your shoes")
  • Engage in simple turn-taking activities such as "Row-Row-Row Your Boat"
  • Find out more about What to Expect from your baby, 12 to 18 months.


    Through the comfort and responsiveness of an adult, babies will learn how to handle their emotions and how to seek help when needed.

    Parents Can:
  • Give their baby lots of opportunities to chat – remember it takes two to talk!
  • Child Will:
  • Express her needs, interests and feelings through words, facial expressions or gestures

  • Parents Can:
  • Describe their baby's feelings with words
  • Child Will:
  • Know you are interested in communicating, and will gradually learn names for emotions

  • Parents Can:
  • Support their baby's efforts by describing what he is good at (for example, "good climbing," "what a good builder you are")
  • Child Will:
  • Feel good about his emerging skills
  • Begin to feel more confident

  • Parents Can:
  • Invite their baby to help with simple tasks
  • Child Will:
  • Know you enjoy being with him

  • Play

    Through opportunities for play, babies will experience joyful, free, spontaneous moments of fun while learning about themselves and others.

    Parents Can:
  • Encourage their baby to try out new skills and talk about these experiences
  • Child Will:
  • Have the opportunity to practice sharing feelings through sounds and gestures

  • Parents Can:
  • Be attentive to their baby's cues for things that interest her
  • Comment on things their baby is involved in
  • Child Will:
  • Take the lead in playing or seeking experiences she finds interesting
  • Make connections about what she is experiencing and learn about her surroundings

  • Parents Can:
  • Respond to their baby's requests, giving their baby a chance to respond back
  • Child Will:
  • Keep trying to communicate and have conversations with others

  • Teach

    Through routines and emotionally and physically safe and secure environments, babies can learn how to think, solve problems and communicate.

    Parents Can:
  • Look at and converse about picture books and magazines
  • Child Will:
  • Begin to name and point out familiar pictures in a book
  • Increase his comprehension

  • Parents Can:
  • Use toy telephones or dolls to support language development
  • Child Will:
  • Begin to imitate words (for example, "hi" or "bye-bye")
  • Begin to connect words with actions

  • Parents Can:
  • Repeat and expand on words their baby is using
  • Child Will:
  • Become familiar with more and more objects and actions
  • Begin to repeat words appropriately

  • Social Development: 12 to 18 months
    Emotional Development: 12 to 18 months
    Intellectual Development: 12 to 18 months
    Intellectual Development - Problem Solving: 12 to 18 months

    Rate this Page

    Related Content

    Related Resources


    We built this site for you. How are we doing?

    tell us

    Join Us
    Helpful tips and parenting news delivered right to your inbox.

    sign me up

    Mini Poll
    When my first baby was born I felt I received enough emotional support.

    I agree
    I disagree
    I am somewhere in between

    Help Us Help Kids
    Help Us Help Kids
    Donate Online
    Get Set for Life

    Your Child's First Five Years