1 Year Old Milestones: Typical Development in Your New Toddler

by | Nov 1, 2020

As your baby has been learning and growing rapidly, you’ve probably been seeing big changes in their development. Most toddlers reach the typical 1-year-old milestones at various times from 9-15 months.

As you’ve watched your baby grow over the past year, you’ve probably seen how much change can happen in just a couple of months. Below are the most important 1-year-old milestones that you’ll witness around the time your baby turns one.

Always remember that every child is one of a kind and may achieve new skills at a different pace. Try not to compare your baby too much to the “typical” age or even their peers.

Instead, use this guide to help understand what’s coming next for your child and how to help guide them along into the next stage of development. Even if they’re a little behind the curve, most likely they will get there!

However, if you do suspect a severe lag in reaching these 1-year-old milestones, consult with your physician immediately.

Keep in mind that your baby will only learn what they are exposed to. If your child has never seen a dog, don’t be worried that they are not saying dog. If you’ve never given them a straw cup, don’t be worried that they can’t drink out of a straw the first time you give it to them.

They don’t just turn one and automatically know how to do these things. You have to expose them to new things so they can explore and figure it out. Practice makes perfect!

Typical 1 Year Old Milestones

Your child should meet these milestones anywhere between 9-15 months so just because they are called 1 year old milestones, doesn’t mean that they will reach them at that exact point.

Related Post: 7 simple tips to teach your baby a new motor skill

Gross Motor Skills (Movement)

Typical 1 year old milestones are present as your toddler approaches one. There are fine & gross motor skills, language, & social skills.

Early milestones such as sitting up independently and crawling should already be established. Those are helpful as precursors to the following 1-year-old milestones. However, if your child began sitting up or crawling later than usual, you may have to wait a little longer to see these new skills.

  • Gets in and out of different positions independently (from lying down to sitting to kneeling)
  • Pulls up to stand while holding onto furniture or a person
  • Squat down to pick something up
  • Crawl up stairs
  • Takes steps while holding on to furniture (“cruising”)
  • Takes a few steps without holding on (still normal if this doesn’t emerge until 15-16 months)
  • Stand alone for a couple of seconds
  • Can sit on a small chair

If your baby isn’t walking yet, here are some great tips and activities on How to Teach Your Baby or Toddler to Walk.

Fine Motor Skills (Using Hands)

Typical 1 year old milestones are present as your toddler approaches one. There are fine & gross motor skills, language, & social skills.

More precise hand and finger movements are starting to emerge at this age. You’ll see your child able to do more with their toys and objects.

  • Fully explore and manipulate objects (wave, shake, squeeze, turn)
  • Holds two toys at the same time and transfer them hand-to-hand
  • Holds their own bottle or sippy cup
  • Waves hello or goodbye
  • Drops and picks up toys
  • Put things in/out of containers
  • Turns pages in a book
  • Claps hands when excited or to music
  • Bangs two objects together
  • Pokes and points with index finger

Related Post: Simple Fine Motor Activities for Your 9-12 Month Old

Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

Typical 1 year old milestones are present as your toddler approaches one. There are fine & gross motor skills, language, & social skills.

Watch them explore and investigate objects and toys to find out all about the world around them.

  • Explores objects in different ways, like shaking, banging, and throwing
  • Finds hidden things easily (toy under a blanket or cup)
  • Looks at or points to the right picture or thing when it’s named (can understand more than they can verbalize at this point)
  • Copies gestures 
  • Starts to use objects correctly by imitating what they see (drinks from a cup, brushes hair/teeth)
  • Understands that their actions produce an effect (pushing buttons, opening a door)
  • Tests their limits to see how they can get attention

Related Post: Best Educational and Developmental Toys for Your 1 Year Old

Language/Communication

Typical 1 year old milestones are present as your toddler approaches one. There are fine & gross motor skills, language, & social skills.

At this age, your 1 year old will be able to understand more than they can express to you. It can still be frustrating for you and them that they can’t full communicate their wants and needs verbally, but at least they may be able to do a lot of things that you ask of them.

  • Uses body language (pointing, shaking head yes/no, facial expressions, and gestures) to indicate their needs and wants
  • Waves hi and bye
  • Says mama or dada
  • Babbles with different consonants and sounds strung together (bada, mada)
  • Responds to simple instructions like “pick up the ball” (may do what you request or at least know what you’re telling them) 
  • Can say some 1 syllable words (ball, milk, bye- even if it is just the first sound of the word)
  • Makes sounds with changes in tone (sounds more like conversational speech)
  • Makes exclamations like “uh oh” or “whoa”
  • Tries to imitate words or sounds that you say
  • Repeats sounds or actions to get attention
  • May use sign language if taught

Related Post: 14 Things Your Should Be Teaching your 1 Year Old

Social and Emotional

Typical 1 year old milestones are present as your toddler approaches one. There are fine & gross motor skills, language, & social skills.

Your child has developed the ability to interact socially with others for awhile now and should be showing their feelings in an intentional way at this point.

  • Interested in fun games and songs with gestures like “peek-a-boo” and “pat-a-cake”
  • Tries to imitate other children and adults to the best of their abilities
  • Smiles and laughs at funny things
  • Shows affection (hugs, kisses, and cuddles)
  • Separation anxiety/crying/fear around strangers or when being left by themselves
  • Can entertain themselves to an extent with books, toys, or household objects
  • Gives you toys or books to play or read with them

This post goes into more detail about the Social/Emotional and Language Skills that Your Baby Should Have By One

Self-Care

Typical 1 year old milestones are present as your toddler approaches one. There are fine & gross motor skills, language, & social skills.

Since your baby is growing a newfound sense of independence, he can now do things to help you care for himself.

  • Self-feeds with finger foods
  • Can drink from a regular open cup and straw cup (doesn’t need to do this all the time, but it’s important to strengthen the mouth muscles this way)
  • Can hold onto utensils but needs help to scoop and pierce food
  • Puts out arm or leg to help with dressing

When Should You Worry?

If your baby is showing the above skills by age 1, they are right on track! Even if not, there is still time for them to develop as all babies and children learn at their own pace. and most of the time, there is no need to worry.

However, here are some red flags that should be talked about with your pediatrician if noticed:

  • Doesn’t crawl
  • Can’t bear weight on legs when supported
  • Doesn’t search for things that she sees you hide
  • Doesn’t say 1 single word like “mama” or “dada” or babble and vocalize sounds
  • Doesn’t learn gestures like waving or shaking head
  • Doesn’t point to things
  • Doesn’t try to imitate things he sees
  • Loses skills he once had

A lot happens very quickly during this age. Remember when your baby wasn’t sitting up one day and then a week later they could sit up independently? Or when they weren’t crawling and then 2 days later they were doing laps around your house?

So if your baby just turned 1 and isn’t doing some of these things, don’t worry yet! A few weeks can make a big difference in a young child’s development.

Typical 1 year old milestones are present as your toddler approaches one. There are fine & gross motor skills, language, cognition, self-care, & social skills that you'll start to see emerge as they learn and grow.

Typical 1 year old milestones are present as your toddler approaches one. There are fine & gross motor skills, language, & social skills.

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