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The Typical Development of a 15-Month-Old

By Pam Murphy ; Updated June 13, 2017

Your 15-month-old is teeming with curiosity, becoming more mobile and exhibiting signs of greater independence. By this age, children have typically tripled their birth weight and are becoming increasingly vocal and self-aware. Children at 15 months are gaining skills in a variety of developmental areas and are beginning to build on foundational skills developed in infancy.


Your 15-month-old is considered a toddler, which represents the "time between infancy and childhood when a child learns and grows in many ways," according to the National Network for Child Care. During the toddler stage, children learn to "walk, talk, solve problems and relate to others," adds the National Network for Child Care. Developmental milestones for 15-month-old toddlers indicate progress in the skills needed to master these activities.


Your baby's development encompasses physical growth, sensory awareness, social and emotional progress and increased language and cognitive skills. Physical development includes increased gross and fine motor skills, which result from stronger, more controlled movements of large and small muscles. Your child learns by seeing, hearing, tasting, touching and smelling. Emerging social and emotional skills result from an increased awareness of strong emotions and feelings, as well as from social situations that involve sharing space and objects. Language skills increase as your toddler learns to recognize familiar words, objects and people, and listens to other language users.


At 15 months, toddlers are able to walk independently, say a few words like "mama" and "dada" and enjoy storytime and picture books, according to Keep Kids Healthy. At this age, your toddler will also begin to show defiance, enjoy exploring new objects and places, imitate others and demonstrate more independence, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Toddlers at this stage can feed themselves finger foods, enjoy climbing and can point to items they want or need.


Activity, interaction and play are vital to your child's social, emotional, physical and cognitive growth, according to To encourage your toddler's development, give him opportunities to explore his environment, read to him and talk to him about what you're doing during routine activities. To promote your child's growth and development, the National Network for Child Care recommends that you provide safe mirrors for toddlers, provide blocks, give your toddler opportunities to listen and move to music, play hide-and-seek with your toddler and provide wheeled toys without pedals.


Toddlers grow and develop at different rates. Use developmental milestones as a general guideline to help you know what to expect from your toddler at this stage. You might find that your toddler is ahead in some areas and behind in others, and this typically indicates normal variables in development. If you have concerns about your toddler's developmental progress, make a list of your concerns and discuss them with your child's pediatrician.

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