16 Months Old Milestones: What Your Baby Should Be Doing & Red Flags

What milestones should a 16-month-old have? Your baby is getting more independent. He can feed himself finger foods and use a spoon well. He may also be crawling, walking, or cruising furniture to get around the house. 

Your 16-month-old baby is using his language skills to communicate with you fairly well now, pointing to objects he wants and giving other cues that he wants to communicate. 

He may say a word or two, and if not, you could probably understand him by the way he’s trying to tell you something.

Your 16-month-old has started to “play” with toys–although you might wonder whether it’s playtime when your child starts hitting his favorite rattle over your head. 

Your child is learning about cause and effect, so he likes to experiment with his environment by shaking the rattle or throwing it down–just to see what happens.

If you’ve been counting on your fingers so far, don’t worry–lots of parents have trouble keeping track of how many months old their children are. 

Children often reach milestones at different ages than other children, but there are some general guidelines you can go by. 

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), your child should be able to say one word by 16 months of age and use two-word phrases by 18 months. 

This makes his language skills comparable to a 2-year-old. Other 16-month milestones include babbling with inflection, imitating your actions, and playing follow the leader. He may also be able to point out body parts when asked.

16 Month Old Baby Milestone

16 months old milestones

Here are 16 months old milestones that most babies can do

1) Language development

The first 16 months old milestone is baby can understand you, but may not have the vocabulary or ability to respond. 

She might use single words to communicate her wants and needs–he is called “protolanguage” because it’s a precursor to language development. 

A 16-month-old can probably tell you that she needs something by pointing at it instead of crying.

2) Fine motor – the most conspicuous 16 months old milestone

16 months old milestone

Your 16-month-old is getting more mobile. She’ll start cruising (walking while holding onto furniture) and maybe even take a few steps without support, although she won’t be ready to walk on her own just yet.

Her fine motor skills are also developing–she may have started eating solid food by now. 

Read Also: 12-Week Milestone for Baby

She can use a spoon and feed herself, although her movements are still a bit messy!

3) Cognitive.

A 16-month-old’s cognitive skills will depend on his physical development, but he can probably identify objects by name. 

In other words, if you ask your child “where is the ball?” as you hold up a soft, fuzzy ball, he’ll probably point to it. He understands a few simple words and short sentences.

4) Emotional.

A 16-month-old still has that wonder about the world that comes with infancy. 

She’s also more willing to try new things, even if she does sometimes get frustrated when something doesn’t work out the way she planned.

5) Playtime & problem solving.

At 16 months, your child is actively experimenting with his environment–he wants to understand more about how things work. He’ll probably be starting to play “make-believe” games, too. 

He may not understand the whole concept of make-believe yet, but he can at least pretend that a toy car is actually a train. He’s also starting to see how objects can be used for different purposes.

6) Moving around the house/ outside of the home.          

Your 16-month-old is becoming more mobile. He may soon start walking by himself, although he probably won’t take more than a few steps without support. 

Because his legs are so short, walking can be frustrating for him–your child might hold on to the furniture or even crawl over longer distances.

7) Becoming more interactive, “curious”. 

Your 16 month-old is probably curious about the world around him. He’ll reach out to touch and explore, even if it’s with a toy instead of your hand. 

Your child is also interested in playing games with other people–her favorite game is probably peekaboo.

8) Gine motor skills, gross motor skills.

what should my 16 month old know

The last 16 months old milestone is your baby using her fine motor skills for more than just grabbing and maybe chewing on things. She can use a spoon to eat solid food, although she may drop it sometimes. 

She’s starting to crawl, even if she sometimes forgets that her hands and knees need to move at the same time. 

Once she starts walking, it’ll be a lot easier for your child to get around by herself–and more difficult for you to keep up with her!

16 Month-Old Development Red Flags

Here are a few signs of developmental delay to look for at this age:

1) Doesn’t turn things over or push them along the ground.

When your 16-month-old doesn’t turn things over or push them along the ground, it’s a sign of developmental delay. 

Your child is capable of doing this at 16 months old, but he may be choosing not to because of vision or hearing problems.

2) Doesn’t put things in her mouth to explore them.

At this age, your child should still want to explore objects by putting them in her mouth. 

This is a sign of developmental delay if she’s no longer doing this by 16 months old, or you notice that she has lost interest in playing with objects in her mouth.

3) Doesn’t crawl or walk well.

If your child isn’t crawling and walking around at 16 months, it could be a sign of developmental delay. 

She may not be physically developed enough for this, or she may have a vision or hearing problem that’s slowing her down.

4) Doesn’t respond well to sounds and voices.

It’s common for infants and toddlers to ignore noises and to prefer quieter environments–but if your child is ignoring you at 16 months old, it could be a sign of developmental delay. 

If your child doesn’t respond well to sounds and voices, or if she seems to get irritated by the noise, it’s another red flag.

5) Is overactive at rest time.

If your 16-month-old is still very active when he should be taking a break after playing, he may have ADHD. 

If he is overactive when he should be resting, it’s a red flag.

6) Doesn’t look into an adult’s face or smile back at you.

At 16 months, your child should still want to look into your face and smile back at you. If she isn’t doing this anymore, it may indicate developmental delay.

7) Doesn’t make eye contact.

By now, your child should be able to make eye contact with you and other people. If she isn’t making eye contact by 16 months old, this could indicate developmental delay.

8) Doesn’t reach out and touch objects when she sees them.

Your 16-month-old baby should still reach out and touch objects when she sees them. If she’s no longer doing this, it could indicate developmental delay.

9) Doesn’t point to things she wants.

Pointing is a way for your child to communicate her needs at 16 months old. 

She may not be able to use words yet, but if she can pick up that toy she wants, point to it, and reach for it, she’s communicating her needs. 

If your child isn’t pointing at this age, or you see that she can’t use words yet, it’s a warning sign.

10) Doesn’t respond when you call her name.

If your child doesn’t turn and look at you when you call her name, and she doesn’t respond when you talk to her, it’s a warning sign. It may indicate developmental delay.


At 16 months old milestone, your child can pretend that a toy car is actually a train and start to use it in different ways. He’s also becoming more mobile.

If your child doesn’t turn things over or push them along the ground, put objects in her mouth to explore them, crawl or walk well, respond well to sounds and voices, or take a rest after play, it could be a sign of developmental delay.

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