Your 19-Month-Old’s Development and Milestones


Talkative and Creative

Your 19-month-old toddler may have a lot to say these days, delighting you with their ever-expanding vocabulary. Some of those cute made-up words you heard a few weeks or months ago may soon be replaced with properly pronounced words that will melt your heart. Continue to nurture your child’s creativity, and take every opportunity to dance, sing, and play together. Your little one is growing up so quickly—it’s almost hard to keep up. Read on to discover what else this month might hold for you and your toddler.

Toddler Development Milestones

You may be amazed by what your toddler is doing and learning to do as the weeks and months go by. Appreciate their progress and achievements and try not to compare your toddler with others in terms of development or focus on “where ‘should’ my 19-month-old be developmentally.” Your child and every child is unique and may grow and learn at their own pace, reaching milestones at different times.

That said, here are some examples of things your little one may get up to at around 19 months:

  • Saying simple words. Your toddler may be able to say a number of simple words, such as those for their favorite toys, familiar people, and parts of the body. Keep in mind that boys often take longer to master language skills compared with girls. At first, you might be the only one who understands your toddler’s made-up words, but when you respond to them patiently using proper pronunciation, they’ll soon learn how to say these words correctly. If your 19-month-old is experiencing speech difficulties or is not talking, consult their healthcare provider.

  • Expanding their vocabulary. Over time, your 19-month-old toddler may understand and use an increasing number of words. Help build their vocabulary by repeating words, verbalizing their activities, and having conversations together. So, for example, if your toddler motions for you to come play, you can say, “You’d like me to come play with you? Show me what you’re doing!”

  • Using one hand more than the other. Around this time, your toddler may show a preference for using their right hand over their left, or vice versa. But this doesn’t mean that they’re going to be right-handed or left-handed. The development of a dominant hand usually happens over the course of several years. Your child may even be ambidextrous.

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Activities for Supporting Your 19-Month-Old Toddler’s Development

Here’s how you can support your 19-month-old’s development at home:

  • Encourage creativity. Around this time, your toddler may enjoy scribbling—on paper and maybe even on other things! Encourage their creativity by providing them with markers, crayons, or colored pencils and lots of paper to fill up with artwork. It may be a good idea to keep the art supplies tucked away when not in use to prevent your child from drawing on the walls and other places.

  • Make bath time fun. Give your toddler some objects to play with in the tub, such as squeezable toys, floating animals and boats, and plastic cups they can use to fill with water. Just remember never to leave your toddler unattended during a bath.

  • Limit screen time. Can a 19-month-old watch TV? Your toddler may want to watch TV or play a video game, especially after seeing an older peer or sibling do so, but it’s important to limit your toddler’s screen time. Too much passive viewing at this age can delay cognitive development. Instead, encourage unplugged, active play as much as possible.

  • Read and reread. Does your 19-month-old have a favorite book they want to hear again and again? This is their busy brain at work, so go ahead and keep reading what they want. Ask them some questions about the story as you go along, such as, “Do you know what the bear will do next?” Feel free to add gestures and sound effects, too. Before long, they’ll be “reading” the words along with you!

Mealtimes and Menus for Your 19-Month-Old

Don’t be surprised if your 19-month-old is picky and refuses to eat certain foods one minute, and then turns around and eats everything in sight the next. You might even find your toddler rejecting a food they happily ate just a few days ago.

Keep offering three small meals and at least two snacks per day. If your little one skips eating a meal or a snack, that’s OK. Your toddler’s diet will balance out over the span of a few days, as long as you provide various nutritious foods. Let your little one pick what and how much to eat, and make sure that they eat when sitting down, as eating while running around can lead to choking.

You can also use mealtimes to begin teaching good table manners. Teach your child that they shouldn’t eat with their mouth open, and to finish chewing and swallowing food before speaking.

Also, show them how to use a spoon and fork, and have them practice as much as possible. It’s OK if they fumble with these in the beginning and accidentally fling food everywhere—it’s a learning experience. With time they’ll master using these utensils.

Watch Out for Food Allergies

As your child tries all kinds of new foods, you may be concerned about food allergies developing, especially if they run in your family.

Luckily, food allergies are relatively rare in young children, occurring in less than 8 percent of children under 3 years of age. Still, it’s important to know what to look for, just in case. Here are some of the signs of a food allergy:

  • Skin problems that may include hives, rashes, and swelling

  • Breathing problems such as sneezing, wheezing, or tightness in the throat

  • Stomach and digestive symptoms that may include nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea

  • Circulation problems that can lead to pale skin, light-headedness, or loss of consciousness.

Foods that may cause allergic reactions include:

  • Cow’s milk

  • Eggs

  • Peanuts and tree nuts

  • Soy

  • Wheat

  • Fish and shellfish.

Sometimes children don’t have a true food allergy but instead have a food intolerance or food sensitivity, which is much more common. Many children have lactose intolerance, meaning that they have trouble digesting the natural sugars found in dairy products like milk. This can lead to symptoms such as bloating, stomachaches, and loose stools.

Consult your child’s healthcare provider if you suspect your child may have an allergy or an intolerance. The provider will be able to diagnose any issues by running tests. In some cases, you might be referred to an allergist, who may be able to help with a treatment plan.

Your 19-Month-Old Toddler’s Sleep Schedule

At 19 months old, your toddler needs about 12 to 14 hours of sleep per day, which includes at least one nap, too.

If your 19-month-old won’t sleep at night, awakens during the night, or experiences nightmares, it might help to review the bedtime routine.

Tips for Better Quality Sleep

Consider the following ideas to help your toddler have better quality sleep:

  • Aim to have your toddler go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning

  • Stick to a consistent naptime schedule

  • Implement a simple, calming bedtime routine. This can include giving your toddler a bath, putting on pj's and brushing teeth, reading them a book, and singing a soothing lullaby. Let them pick the book they want to read or the song they’d like to sing. Try not to have the routine last longer than 30 minutes.

  • Let them have a security object, like a favorite stuffed animal or blankie, when they go to bed. This can help with night awakenings, as the object can provide a sense of security and may help your little one self-soothe and fall back to sleep.

  • Ensure that your child’s bedroom is quiet and comfortable. They may like the door left slightly open to allow some light in or to have a night-light.

  • When putting your toddler in their crib, make sure they’re in a sleepy but awake state, which can help them associate this feeling with going to sleep.

If sleep problems persist, be sure to reach out to your child’s healthcare provider for guidance.

To help your 19-month-old toddler better adjust to a bedtime routine, and to keep track of their sleep schedule, try the Smart Sleep Coach app by Pampers. Co-created by pediatricians and sleep experts, this app can help your child maintain a bedtime routine, help with sleep training, and help manage sleep regression if it arises.

A Day in the Life of Your 19-Month-Old Toddler

Wondering what a typical day might look like with your toddler? Here's an example of a daily routine you could follow for a 19-month-old:

Your Toddler’s Health and Safety: Planning Activities

Whether building with toy blocks or throwing a ball, play is crucial for your toddler. It’s through play that they will learn and develop in so many ways.

Each of your child’s movements, small and large, are steps toward developing better coordination, muscle control, balance, and much more. Encourage your toddler to stay active by being an active participant in their play, such as playing with a ball or playing catch with you.

Experts recommend that toddlers get at least

  • 30 minutes a day of structured physical activity led by you or another adult, such as playing catch

  • 60 minutes of unstructured physical activity where your toddler can do as they please, such as running around in the backyard.

Of course, you’ll want to supervise all their activities. This may sound like a lot of movement, but a mix of structured and unstructured play along with rest in between all contributes to your child’s happy and healthy development.

Development Tips for Your Toddler This Month

Take advantage of these tips to help support your 19-month-old toddler’s development:

  • Get in sync with your toddler. Your 19-month-old has a distinct style and personality. Be sensitive to their temperament when you respond to them, providing warm and consistent attention and encouragement. If discipline is needed, avoid raising your voice or using physical punishment.

  • Dance and sing with your little one. Take every opportunity to combine music and movement. For example, make up a little song when you’re dressing them, or play some music for an impromptu dance party. These moments can help you bond with your little one as well as boost their development.

  • Use a foreign language if you speak one. If your family is bilingual, use both languages with your toddler. You’ll help forge a connection to these cultures as well as foster language skills. And don’t worry if your child mixes both languages, as it’s completely expected. Eventually they’ll know to separate them.

  • Establish routines. Make each day predictable for your child, which means keeping the same routines at the same times of the day. Children benefit from this structure. So, for example, have meals at the same time every day and a bedtime routine at the end of the day. If anything causes a divergence from the routine, make sure to return to “normal” as soon as possible.

Items You’ll Need This Month

You might need the following baby gear items this month:

  • Toddler bed. If your toddler is almost able to climb out of their crib, it may be time to transition to a toddler bed. If your child’s crib is convertible, dig out the instructions and convert it to a low bed. Otherwise, you might start looking for a child’s bed and a toddler bed rail—both safe and practical for your little one.

  • Lightweight stroller. If you find that you’re traveling more and more with your toddler, think about getting a lightweight stroller or an umbrella stroller, both of which are lighter and easier to transport than a standard stroller. These styles can easily fold up to go in the trunk of your car, and some models can fit in an airplane's overhead bin.

  • Toys. Toddlers benefit from toys that can stimulate their cognitive development. This is a good opportunity to check that your 19-month-old’s toys are safe. Make sure that none are broken, have missing parts or sharp edges, or are cracked or chipped. It’s best to throw away any toys that are no longer safe.

  • Potty chair. Potty training will be coming up soon. This may be a good time to buy a potty chair for your toddler. You may even like to let them choose the model they like and leave it out in the bathroom, so they get used to the thought of using it soon.

Your Life as a Parent: Scheduling “Me Time” and Creating Support Networks

Life can get super busy and chaotic when you’re raising a 19-month-old. To help cope with everything that comes your way, it’s important to look after yourself, too.

Caring for a toddler takes a lot of energy and can quickly tire you out. You’ll know when you’re tired, and so will your toddler. In these moments, it’s OK to reach out to see if your partner, a family member, or a babysitter can take over for an hour or two. Setting aside some “me time” to do something just for you will help you recharge your batteries.

To prevent feeling isolated, you could attend story time with your child at the local library or community center. You could also meet up with friends and their children at the playground or park—or get together with parents from your little one’s day care to share stories and tips.

Creating a network of supportive parents means you’ll have someone to talk to in a similar situation to yours, and this may help relieve some of the stress or anxiety you might be feeling as you juggle all of those parenting ups and downs.

Checklist for This Month

Learn some songs and rhymes. You may not know or remember all of these from your childhood, so we’ve collected some classic nursery rhymes and their corresponding hand movements. Your toddler will love chanting and singing these with you.

Start a scrapbook. This is a great time to start a scrapbook of your child if you haven’t already done so. Collect all the little mementos, including their scribbles, drawings, and photos, and put together a scrapbook you can keep adding to as they grow. Once they’re an adult, they will love receiving the scrapbook as a gift.

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How We Wrote This Article The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. You can find a full list of sources used for this article below. The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.