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Milestones: 16-19 Months: Cognitive Development

While it\’s probably too early to think about the gifted program at your local elementary school, you\’ll be amazed at the cognitive progress your baby may make between 16 and 19 months old. This is when toddlers pick up new words and learn to respond to simple commands. However, if your child doesn\’t attain all these milestones, don\’t panic. Some children develop faster than others, and there\’s only a loose connection between cognitive milestones in toddlerhood and a child\’s level of intelligence years down the road.

By 16-19 months, most toddlers can:

Say at least a few separate, distinct words and have between 20-50 words overall

Recite the names of familiar household objects (TV, chair, table, etc.)

Follow simple commands like “come here,” “sit in your chair” or “don\’t do that”

Imitate you when you laugh, sneeze, or make a gesture

Recognize themselves in mirrors, videos, and snapshots

By 16-19 months, some toddlers try to:

Show an early interest in reading books on their own

Sing the words, or at least the tunes, of familiar songs

Search for lost objects

Identify a few pictured items by pointing and naming

Solve problems via trial and error (“This switch doesn\’t turn the radio on, so which one does?”)

By 16-19 months, some toddlers can:

Scribble with pencils or crayons

String together simple, declarative sentences (“I want banana,” “I go to park,” etc.)

Put on certain clothes, like shoes or pants, by themselves

Ask \”why\” questions

More in milestones:

16-19 Months: Emotional Development

16-19 Months: Physical Development

Why developmental milestones will make you crazy


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

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