Your child's developmental checks 18 to 24 months

Your child will be checked as follows:

Physical development

The public health nurse will check their:

  • respiration (breathing)
  • skin
  • mouth
  • palate (roof of the mouth)
  • neck
  • eyes
  • ear
  • spine
  • limbs (arms and legs)


If your child is a boy, the nurse will check their testicles (testes) to make sure they have moved down into the scrotum (this is called testicular descent).

Posture and large movements

Posture is how your child holds their body.

Large movements (also called 'gross motor skills') are the movement and coordination of the arms, legs and other large body parts. Examples include sitting, crawling and walking.

Your child will be checked to see if they can:

  • walk alone
  • walk up steps with one hand held
  • carry toys while walking
  • kick a ball
  • begin to run
  • climb up and down from furniture without help


The nurse will check to see if your child’s eyes look in the same direction.

Fine movements

Fine movements (also called 'fine motor skills') are the use of smaller muscles like the muscles in hands, fingers and wrists.

The nurse will check if your child can:

  • pick up small objects
  • catch sight of and name small toys
  • turn over a container to spill out the contents
  • build blocks
  • begin to sort out shapes by size and colour
  • feed themselves with a spoon
  • drink from a cup

Hearing and speech

The nurse will ask if your child passed the universal newborn hearing screening (UNHS) test shortly after birth.

The nurse will check your child’s hearing by checking if they can:

  • point to a few body parts when asked
  • follow simple commands or instructions (“roll the ball”, “kiss the baby”)
  • understand simple questions (“where’s your shoe?”)
  • listen to simple stories, songs and rhymes
  • point to pictures in a book when they are named

Your child’s speech will be checked. The nurse will check if your child:

  • says more words every month
  • uses some 1 or 2-word questions (“where’s Kitty?”, “go bye-bye?”, “what’s that?”)
  • puts 2 words together (“no water”, “mommy book”)

Social, emotional, play and behaviour

The nurse will check if your child:

  • shows more independence
  • gets separation anxiety (extreme anxiety about being separated from parent or other care giver)
  • shows affection to familiar people
  • plays alone and does messy and pretend play
  • copies or imitates other people
  • more excited about the company of other children
  • begins to show defiant behaviour
  • shows emotion (laughing, frustration, anger)
  • says “no” and shakes their head
Slaintecare logo
This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 123.

Page last reviewed: 20 November 2018
Next review due: 20 November 2021