Now a fully fledged toddler, your 15-month-old has grown leaps and bounds in their skills and abilities—even in the few short months from their first birthday. From getting ready to walk and talk (if they aren’t already!), to exploring everything around them, life gets a bit busier at this stage. Your little one might be able to go up and down stairs, bend over to pick up an object, and even follow simple directions.
By keeping track of what milestones your 15-month-old is working on achieving, you can support their development and be better prepared to consult with your pediatrician if you have any questions or concerns. Here’s what to expect this month.
15-month milestones at a glance
This month, you might be constantly on walking alert, watching dutifully for when your tot takes those tentative first steps. Rest assured, there’s a wide range of normal when it comes to walking. Some toddlers may also start to use objects correctly and engage in pretend play at this age, like using a pretend phone, stirring a pot, driving a car or reading a book. Who’s ready to play restaurant? Your 15-month old will likely be taking two naps per day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon—naps are essential for brain development, so aim to keep schedules consistent here.
Related: When do babies start walking? Experts weigh in
An in-depth look at 15-month milestones
Read on to find out what you need to know about 15-month-old development this month to best support your toddler’s growth.
15-month developmental milestones
Here’s what The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say about 15-month-old milestones.
(Editor’s note: The 15-month milestone guidelines were written to reflect the behaviors that 75% or more of children exhibit at a certain age. Note that milestones are not a perfect metric: It’s key to speak to your pediatrician if you have concerns about your unique child.)
Your toddler may stack at least two objects, like blocks
At 15 months, your little one might be able to identify and attempt to use household items the proper way, like a phone or book
May say one or two words besides “mama” or “dada”, like “ba” for ball
Your tot may point to something to show it to you or to ask for help
Your toddler might take a few steps on their own this month
By using their fingers or a small spoon, your 1-year-old is starting to feed themselves
Social and emotional
Keenly aware of other kids, your toddler might watch and copy the way another child plays
Your little one loves to show you things they like, and might clap when they’re excited
At 15 months, your mini might hug their stuffed animals or dolls
They should also be able to show you affection, too, with hugs, cuddles and kisses
Related: 12 sensory toys to stimulate your 1-year-old, according to a child development expert
Your toddler’s sleep at 15 months
Your 1-year-old still needs plenty of sleep: 11 to 14 hours, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. That can be broken up into a continuous 10-hour stretch at night and two naps during the day. If it seems like naps are interfering with your child’s nighttime sleep, try pushing them to be a little earlier in the day or a bit shorter (45 minutes, say, rather than a full hour or more). But these brain breaks are still super healthy for their development, so try to put off dropping that second nap for a little longer, if you can.
Some sleep experts say that there’s a 15-month sleep regression that happens this month, which can look like night wakings or a very early rise. If you’re seeing some sleep changes, remember that this too shall pass—and it’s time to get back to basics. Sticking with a consistent nighttime and naptime routine and rotating through soothing measures can help. It’s also good to recognize that these new sleep challenges may be a sign of your toddler’s growing independence and need for control, as well as their burgeoning milestone skills (walking and talking) that may be happening this month. It’s a lot of change to go through!
But you’ve already navigated several sleep regressions by now, mama, and this one should also be par for the course. Sleep should return to a somewhat more predictable status in a couple of weeks. Phew!
Feeding a 15-month-old
Now’s the time when you might see glimpses of picky eating habits start to emerge, as 15-month-olds aim to assert themselves and have more strong food preferences. Roll with it, mama, and try not to get into a bigger battle about it. Aim to make family mealtimes a regular event, with your toddler pulled right up to the table with you—watching how and what you eat normalizes their experience! And remember that while daily nutrition is important, take stock of the week more than the past 24-hours.
When you can, aim for fruits and vegetables at every meal and protein-filled snacks for your growing kiddo, and keep up with breastfeeding if that’s still working for you both.
AAP now recommends extending breastfeeding at least until age 2, and we have tips on how to make extended breastfeeding happen if it’s a goal you’re striving for. Cow’s milk is also a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals.
Does your toddler need a multivitamin? Most likely not, or at least not every day. Though do talk with your pediatrician to see if there’s a specific reason why one might be helpful, like if they’re missing a big food group due to an allergy or have a very limited diet for a different reason.
The AAP recommends the following feeding timeline and amounts for 15-month-olds:
1 ounce of meat, or 2 to 3 tablespoons of beans
1 to 2 tablespoons of vegetables
1 to 2 tablespoons of fruit
1/4 slice of bread
As a general guideline, for kids between the ages of 1 and 3, a serving size should be approximately one-quarter of an adult’s, AAP notes.
15-month-old health & growth
You saw rapid growth during your child’s first 12 months. But after tripling their birth weight around their first birthday, toddler growth rates slow down, AAP states. Still, you’ll likely see a moderate increase in both height and weight in the time since their 12-month well-check.
How much does the average 15-month-old weigh?
According to the WHO:
A 15-month-old boy in the 50th percentile weighs 22 pounds 12 ounces (10.31 kilograms)
A 15-month-old girl in the 50th percentile weighs 21 pounds, 3 ounces (9.6 kilograms)
How tall is the average 15-month-old?
According to the WHO:
A 15-month-old boy in the 50th percentile is 31 inches long (79.1 cm)
A 15-month-old girl in the 50th percentile is 30 ½ inches long (77.5 cm)
Activities for 15-month-olds
“Busy” could probably be your kid’s middle name these days, to put it lightly. Here are a few fun—and safe—ways to channel all that toddler energy into sensory and motor skills development.
Scribble sessions: Chunky crayons can be a godsend during this stage—easy enough for a tot to grip, nontoxic in case they decide to chew on the ends, and (somewhat) washable. Set up some butcher paper on the floor or tape a few sheets of printer paper to your kitchen table to give them a wide canvas for coloring. Remember, don’t force them to pick a hand to color with—most kids are still ambidextrous at this age.
Play library: Set up a few stacks of kids’ books, make up a construction paper library card, and pretend to scan or “check out” library books at home with your kiddo. Now’s the time many toddlers start to get into pretend play, and setting up these imaginary scenarios can be so fun.
Set a playdate: Though your kiddos may just end up playing side-by-side, in what’s known as parallel play, rather than playing together, setting a playdate gives your tot an opportunity to sharpen their social skills and observe their peers in action.
Our favorite products for 15-month-olds
Melissa & Doug
1. Jumbo Knob Puzzles
With their chunky wooden knobs and matching pictures underneath each piece, these animal-themed puzzles from Melissa & Doug present just the right amount of challenge.
2. The Block Set
The Lovevery Block Set is an entire system of 70 wood pieces, all designed to work together to create 20 stage-based challenges and activities, all in one beautiful wooden box. Build towers and bridges or work hand-eye coordination by lacing blocks with the wooden dowels and string. Four solid wooden people expand their imaginative horizons as they craft houses and buildings. Bonus: The included wooden box is not only ideal for neat and tidy storage, but also converts into a play car!
3. Bébé Calin
Watching your little one model the love and snuggles you bestow upon them is perhaps the most heart-melting thing ever. And it’s an important part of their development as well! The realistic baby dolls from the classic French company Corolle are a top choice for their quality materials and 12-inch size which is perfect for 1-year-olds.