The first six months after your child’s first birthday is a time of rapid and remarkable emotional development. At this age, your toddler is beginning to experience a huge range of emotions in response to more specific events and thoughts. The trouble is that, while 16- to 19-month-old toddlers are experiencing and expressing these new emotions, they’re not very good at controlling them!

For example, simply preventing a child from reaching out to touch something may be met with a total meltdown lasting more than a few minutes. The challenge is in parents needing to learn how to be patient and not get overly frustrated or angry themselves.

By 16 to 19 months, most toddlers will:

  • Show spontaneous affection to familiar people like friends, siblings, nannies and teachers, parents, and grandparents
  • Play simple pretend games, like changing a baby’s diaper or cooking dinner in a play kitchen
  • Throw the occasional temper tantrum when they’re hungry, uncomfortable, or don’t get their way
  • Cling to parents and caregivers in unfamiliar situations
  • Try to get your attention and applause by doing new things
  • Laugh at silly behavior (wearing socks on your hands, putting a pillow under your feet instead of your head)
  • Refuse to share their toys, unless coaxed or forced
  • Play happily by themselves for short periods of time

By 16-19 months, some toddlers will try to:

By 16-19 months, a few toddlers can:

More in milestones:


  • If they haven’t already, many children this age will begin to throw temper tantrums.
  • This is the age when babies start laughing at silly behavior.
  • Some 16-month-olds are able to share, but this is a challenge for most and completely normal.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Important Milestones: Your Child at Eighteen Months.
  2. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. Developmental Milestones: Toddler.
  3. National Network for Child Care. Developmental Milestones: A Guide for Parents, the Second Year.


  1. This is a fabulous reference for those who are new to the mommy thing or just want to know what they should look forward to at a certain age!

  2. My little one has started to get really clinging when he wasn’t before. I am glad to hear this is normal!

    1. Yes, it’s totally normal and a sign that you have bonded well together. Give lots of reassurance and hugs and this too shall pass!

  3. This is such a great reference!

  4. This is a great reference. I know some parents really worry about specifics and some kids just go at their own pace. =)

    1. Exactly! That’s why we divided into: most, some, few – development is rarely the same from child to child. That’s also why it is important to fill out any developmental check-lists or questions that your pediatrician offers so they can get a feel for the details of your child and know when to be worried.


Tell us who you are! We use your name to make your comments, emails, and notifications more personal.

Tell us who you are! We use your name to make your comments, emails, and notifications more personal.