Hang the flag banner and bring out the cake. It is time to celebrate your little ones' first birthday.  It is amazing how fast the twelve months have breezed by. You have witnessed your child grow from being a quiet baby wrapped in a swaddle to a very active child.

Throughout your child's development years, you need to keep on monitoring the progress of their growth and development.  Parents and caregivers spend the most time together with the child, and so you are the first to see if your child is meeting their developmental milestone.  Remember that your presence has a great influence on your child and that early intervention is the key to addressing any developmental delays.

If you want to read more information regarding child development and developmental milestones, check out our blogpost Parent's Guide to Understanding Child Development 

To guide you as you watch your child's development in the areas of cognition, social and emotions, language, and physical, here are the developmental milestones expected from your one-year-old.

You may also download and print a copy of the Tiny Steps Developmental Milestones and Activities – One Year Old Checklist for your convenience.

Developmental Milestones and Recommended Activities

At twelve months, your baby may have grown thrice his/her birth weight.  During these time, your baby may already be standing on his own, so always keep your camera ready because your baby would be making his first steps soon.  Your child is more social and interactive with his/her family members and caregivers.  Here are some other developmental milestones to look forward to.


-       Your child explores things in different ways.  You may notice your child trying to reach objects and feel the texture of the item.  He may explore the object's sound through hitting and shaking.  Be warned, but your child may be throwing things he/she can lay his/her hands on at this stage.

-       He/she can already find hidden objects easily.  Your child may still like playing Peek-a-Boo too.

-       He/she looks at the image of the object being named.  Your child starts to associate the names of the items in the pictures.

-       He/she starts to poke using the pointing finger.  It may be his/her way to get attention or way of communication to point at something.

-       Your child imitates gestures he/she sees.  He/she will smile or wave back when he/she sees someone doing the same to him/her.

-       He/she begins to use objects correctly.  Your child is starting to gain independence as he/she learns to do things for himself.  You might notice that your child begins to use a brush to fix his/her hair, use a spoon to scoop the food or grab a book that he/she wants you to read. 

-       Your child starts to take and return objects to the container.  He/she may also be learning to transfer things from one box to another.

-       He/she can follow simple instructions.  Your child can follow simple instructions like "Give me the ball" or "clap your hands."

Social and Emotional

-       Your child may feel shy or nervous around strangers

-       Your child may start to cry when either mom or dad leaves

-       He/she already has a preferred or favorite toy

-       He/she shows fear in some situations

-       Your child starts to test your reactions to his/her actions and behavior

-       He/she makes a sound to get attention

-       He/she hands over a book that he/she wants you to read to him/her

-       He/she wants mom or caregiver over everyone else


-       Your child responds to his/her name.  Whenever his/her name is called, your child turns around to face you or smile at you.

-       He/she responds to simple requests. 

-       He/she uses gestures to convey a message.  At one year old, your child knows how to shake his/her head to say "No" or wave his/her hand to say "Goodbye."

-       He/she makes sound with changes in his/her tone

-       He/she tries to copy what you say

-       He/she says "Dada", "Papa", or "Mama"


-       Your child can sit on his/her own unassisted

-       He/she pulls himself/herself to stand

-       He/she walks while holding on to a piece of furniture like the couch

-       Your child may stand by himself/herself without help

-       He/she may be able to take a few steps without holding onto something

Recommended Activities

hand painting sensory play

-       Engage your child with sensory play. Many activities provide a sensory experience to your child.  You can let your child play with water during bath time with different sized cups.  You may also let them play with playdough, rainbow, rice, or water beads.  Note, though, that you need to supervise your child during play closely.

-       Make educational toys for your child.  It is best to provide them with non-battery operated toys to encourage them to explore and play with the toy.  Remember that the less the toys do, the more your child will do.  You can give them shape sorters, blocks, simple puzzles, mystery boxes/baskets.

-       Sing songs to your child-like nursery rhymes.

-       Read books to your child.  Choose Colorful picture books to your child's little library at home.

-       Firmly say "No" when your child behaves negatively.  Avoid yelling, spanking, or living long explanations.

-       Encourage positive behaviors

-       Talk to your child.  Your child's language development depends on the interaction he/she has with another child or adult.   Always talk to your child gently.  Do not baby talk.  You can speak to your child during play, or you may describe the actions you are doing.

-       Point to objects around at home and tell your child the name of the thing.  Labeling is another way to support the vocabulary building of your little one.

-       Avoid separation anxiety by disappearing when you need to leave for work or do an errand.  Establish a routine when it's time to go.  A goodbye song or a goodbye kiss is a good and quick routine you can have.  Establish a similar routine when you need to drop off your child in daycare.

 When to Talk to Your Doctor

While children vary in their development pace, talk to your doctor if you notice any delay or have any concerns about your child's progress.  Here are some signals that your child may need additional support and intervention.

-       Does not crawl or drags one side of his/her body when crawling,

-       Cannot stand even with support

-       Does not look for objects that he saw you hid

-       Does not say a single word

-       Does not learn and make simple gestures such as waving goodbye

-        Does not point to any objects 

In our following blog post, we are going to share the development milestone and recommended activities for the 18th-month-old child.

Did you find this article informative and useful?  We love to hear your opinion, please send them by writing in the comment section below.

Tiny Steps

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