Your 19 Month Old: What Should They Be Learning?

Your 19-month-old toddler should be walking independently now, but might still want to hold your hand!

Your baby is growing up!

And each of the new child development stages seems to bring another set of challenges. You've gone from thinking about tummy time and baby weight gain to toddlers tantrums and first words.

So Kidadl are here to support you as you move from one stage to the next. Whether you need advice on your 20-month-old not talking or you're worried that your [3-year-old's behavior is out of control], we have all the key resources you need to figure out if you and your child are on the right track.

And if you're looking for help with your child's 19-month-old milestones, this article is for you. As you read please do remember that this is not a -19-month-old development checklist, it is just a guide and nothing to become stressed about in regards to your own 19-month-old's development. All babies develop at different paces, but if you're ever worried about your child's development you should speak to a medical professional for more advice.


As your little one transitions from baby to toddler, it's really important they stay, or get into, a strong sleep routine. At 19 months old, there are a lot of changes happening, physically, mentally, and emotionally, so good amounts of uninterrupted, restorative sleep are key.

At this age, your baby will need to get around 11 to 12 hours of sleep at night time, plus another two to three hours of daytime naps. That could be all in one sitting, perhaps after lunch, or you might have a child that prefers a couple of shorter power naps. Some children may even start to resist daytime naps at this age (and it's perfectly OK if they do!) but try to persevere with them if you can. Your toddler will need about 14 hours of sleep per day, and they're unlikely to sleep that long in one session at night.

Do remember that all children are different. They have different preferences and different personalities, so try to create a schedule around their specific needs.

At 19 months old, you might also find that your toddler starts to object to bedtimes as they become more interested in the world around them and sleep seems like a buzzkill. But try to avoid turning bedtime into a battle. The more bed seems like a punishment, the more they'll resist. Continue with your bedtime routine: a nice warming bath, a little massage, a cuddle, a story, a lullaby. All of these things will help to create calm and relaxation, create special parent-child time that they look forward to, and make bedtime inviting. You could even invest in a light projector, so your little one can look up at the starry sky on their ceiling as they doze off.

Your 19-month-old child should be eating three small meals a day, plus a couple of snacks.

Your toddler should be eating three small meals a day, plus a couple of snacks. Just like us, they need a healthy balanced diet that covers as many of the major food groups as possible. They will also need about 700mg of calcium a day. They will get some of this from the foods they eat, but you can also continue to give them cups of whole milk.

If you're breastfeeding, these feeds should fit naturally around your child's solid food mealtimes. Breastfeeding in the morning and at night, before bed, works well. If you're thinking about weaning, take your time and reduce breastfeeding sessions slowly and steadily, to avoid upset for baby and complications for mom.  

At over one-and-a-half years of age, your 19-month-old child is likely to be getting pretty independent with their food, wanting to hold their own cutlery and feed themselves. This is great: continue to encourage them, as it will build their confidence and help strengthen their fine motor skills.

By now, they're also sure to have a good idea of the foods they like and don't like! Fussy eating at this age is extremely common, and behaviors vary from child to child. You might find they love bananas one day, and hate them the next. You might find them refusing to try new foods, or refusing everything, except for a few carefully chosen (by them, of course!) foodstuffs. This is a totally normal developmental stage. Continue to offer a range of foods, old and new. Try offering fruits and vegetables in different ways, like raw and cooked, or even pureed and 'hidden' in the meal.

If you have a fussy toddler, get creative! But most importantly, don't panic. Most children self-regulate, and even if you feel they're not eating enough, they probably are. Fussy eating is more often than not a phase, but if you have concerns always contact your pediatrician.

Play & Movement

Encourage movement and fun in your 19-month-old as active kids are happy kids.

Children can learn to walk from anywhere between six months old (although this is quite unusual) and 18 months old. So, when your baby started walking will impact the range of movements they have now. You could have a really confident early walker that is now running and jumping, or you could have a late walker that is still finding their feet. Either is fine, all kids are different, that's why key milestones always have an age range, not one definitive age.

Encourage movement and gross motor skills in your 19-month-old with trips to the park, ball games, hopscotch, or even a homemade obstacle course in the yard! Active kids are happy kids.

Children, especially toddlers, learn through play. So it's great to encourage creativity, imagination, and pretend play. That could be with a mud kitchen in the yard or out monster hunting in the woods. Or, it could be a play kitchen or workbench at home. Toddlers won't play directly with other children, but they will start to engage in parallel play and enjoy the company of others.  

There are lots of different things you can try with your 19-month-old baby when you're playing. Hands-on activities like modeling dough or baking are ideal; chunky crayons for coloring are great for honing fine motor skills, and your little one is sure to know a few nursery rhymes by now.

Also try incorporating things like numbers up to 10, the alphabet, and animals and their sounds into everyday play to make learning fun.


Your 19-month-old baby will already be able to say anywhere between 10 to 20 words. Their 19-month-old vocabulary is still very much based around their needs, so they might say "cup" when they're thirsty or "up" for a cuddle. But you might also see them starting to interact with you more, like saying "fanks" when you pass them their favorite toy.

Each month, they'll learn more and more, adding new words to their vocabulary, but you will still hear a lot of nonsense talk. This chattering toddler language might not make much sense to you, but it's your child's way of practicing. They listen to what goes on around them and do their best to join in!

Your child will also understand much more than they can say. They will communicate their feelings through body language, facial expressions, and a series of gestures, like pointing or shaking their head. They will be able to understand and carry out simple directions from you, know their own name and understand the concept of 'mine'.

You can see how many words they know and recognize by playing little games, such as pointing to body parts like the nose and mouth. You can also hide toys and ask them to bring them to you, saying for example, "the blue car is under the table" or "the yellow train is on the chair".

Talking to your toddler often, as well as reading and singing with them, is a great way to boost their learning and build their confidence at this age.

Emotional Development

Your 19-month-old baby may start emulating you, as their emotions begin to mature. You might find them trying to feed or put a diaper on a cuddly toy.

But alongside that, your toddler will also start grappling with some big new emotions that they don't really understand. The development of anger and frustration, guilt when they've done something wrong, possessiveness over their favorite toys, all these emotional milestones happen at a similar time and can often lead to the infamous toddler tantrums. But it's important to remember that your toddler isn't doing anything 'naughty' or willfully disobedient, they're just getting to grips with some big new feelings.

You might also start to notice an onset of separation anxiety, as they become more aware of you leaving them for periods of time. This will pass, but lots of reassurance and cuddles in the meantime will help.

If you found this article helpful, then why not take a look at our articles about what to expect at the 3 yr old check up or our favorite [child party ideas]?


Written By

Kidadl Team

The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

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