Why Does my 18 Month Old Ignore Me?

We’ve been there, when you’re calling out your 18 month old child’s name and they either ignore you or just look at you blankly.  After a few times you begin to question whether it’s normal or whether there’s perhaps a problem.

This post looks at the different things that are worth considering if you find your 18 month child is constantly ignoring you.

Is it Normal For My 18 Month Old to Ignore Me?

Firstly, yes. It’s very much normal for your 18 month old to ignore you. After all and according to Baby Centre, children at this age are beginning to assert themselves when their needs differ to yours. For this reason, it’s highly likely that your child can actually hear you but are just ignoring you as they’d prefer to do their own thing.

We found a great way to help build a child’s listening and understanding of different objects is by reading to them with picture friendly books.

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Do They Know Their Name?

Generally it’s thought that children begin learning their name at around the 6 to 8 months of age mark. At this point, expect to see your child looking at you when you say their name.

If you’re worried that your child doesn’t know their name, we recommend using their name a lot when talking and doing things for them. For example, if you’re about to go outside for a walk with your child, ask them “Hey John, are you ready to go for a walk?” or “Have you got your shoes on, John?”. This is a great way to help build their understanding of their name while also the world around them.

How’s Their Hearing?

Your child’s hearing would have been tested when they were born but was it tested after they were born? Probably not and that’s also quite normal. If you’re noticing that your child is also missing other audio cues like birds chirping or loud noises then it might be time to book them in for a hearing test.

Has Something Changed at Home?

Have you recently welcomed a newborn to the world and have noticed your child has stopped responding to you when you call their name? It could be a hint of jealousy at play where they are deliberately ignoring you as they’re feeling jealous about the new born that has entered the home.

We recommend looking at ways for your child to bond with your new born by following some of the super helpful guides like this one from Parents which has 30 helpful tips on how to bond your child with your newborn.

Does my Child Have Autism?

According to The Conversation, autism can occur in over 1% of children. The early warnings signs of a child with autism is generally one which has trouble responding when their name is called but also struggles to imitate others by clapping and waving but instead prefers their own agenda of doing what they please.

As we said earlier in the  post, it’s quite normal for an 18 month old to ignore you so don’t start stressing your child has autism just yet. We recommend watching out for other early warning signs like their inability to imitate your actions or preference not to maintain eye contact with you. If you begin to see these signs and are concerned about whether your child has autism, we recommend seeking a professional opinion from your health care professional.


It’s perfectly normal for your child to ignore you at 18 months of age. After all, they’re starting to realise that their needs are a bit different to your needs so will at times ignore you so they can do what they’d prefer doing.

There are obviously reasons that we explained above that may influence why your child is ignoring you (like hearing or autism) and we recommend keeping a close eye on these things. If you’re still worried though and like anything related to your children, seek advice from a health care professional.

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