Important Child Development Milestones: Your Child at 1 Year

Reaching your child’s first birthday is a huge child development milestone! As you think back on the past 12 months, think of all the growth and development. Your child has transformed from a helpless newborn into an independent little person. What a difference a year makes!

The good news? You’re probably still getting two naps from your 1-year-old. Enjoy the peace and quiet because it won’t much longer. The following checklist gives you an idea of the milestones we would expect to see a baby reach by his or her first birthday. You can use this list as a guide when you see your child’s pediatrician.

What most children do by this age:

October Blog - Important Development Milestones.png

Social and Emotional:

  • Is shy or nervous with strangers

  • Cries when mom or dad leaves

  • Has favorite things and people

  • Shows fear in some situations

  • Hands you a book when he wants to hear a story

  • Repeats sounds or actions to get attention

  • Puts out an arm or leg to help with getting dressed

  • Plays games such as “peek-a-boo” and “pat-a-cake”

Language and Communication:

  • Responds to simple spoken requests

  • Uses simple gestures, like shaking her head “no” or waving “bye-bye”

  • Makes sounds with changes in tone (sounds more like speech)

  • Says “mama” and “dada” and exclamations like “uh-oh!”

  • Tries to say words you say

Cognitive (learning, thinking, and problem-solving):

  • Explores objects in different ways, like shaking, banging, throwing

  • Finds hidden things easily

  • Looks at the right picture or thing when it’s named

  • Copies your gestures

  • Starts to use things correctly; for example, drinks from a cup, brushes hair

  • Bangs two things together

  • Puts things in a container, takes things out of a container

  • Lets things go without help

  • Pokes with index (pointer) finger

  • Follows simple directions like “pick up the toy”

Movement and Physical Development:

  • Gets to a sitting position without help

  • Pulls up to stand, walks holding on to furniture (“cruising”)

  • May take a few steps without holding on

  • May stand alone

It’s important to keep in mind, while every child develops at a slightly different pace, certain behaviors, or a lack of certain behaviors, may indicate meaningful developmental delays that parents and caregivers will want to address.

Act Early by letting to your child’s medical provider know if your child:

  • Doesn’t crawl

  • Can’t stand when supported

  • Doesn’t search for things that she sees you hide

  • Doesn’t say single words like “mama” or “dada”

  • Doesn’t learn gestures like waving or shaking head

  • Doesn’t point to things

  • Loses skills he once had

Talk to your child’s medical provider if you notice any of these signs of possible developmental delay for this age. You may also benefit from talking with someone familiar with the available services for young children in your local area, such as your state’s public early intervention program. For more information, visit the CDC's “If You’re Concerned” webpage or call 1-800-CDC-INFO.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children be screened for general development using standardized, validated tools at 9, 18, and 24 or 30 months and for autism at 18 and 24 months or whenever a parent or provider has a concern. Ask your child’s medical provider about your child’s developmental screening.

This parenting tip blog post has been adapted from resources available through the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Explore their website for further information more detailed checklists about child development.

 And check out the resources available through the Exchange Family Center for parents and caregivers. We’ll be continuing this deep dive into important child development milestones in upcoming posts. So stay tuned!