Once your baby turns one, they are officially considered a toddler. Most toddlers are curious, communicative, and more active than ever before during this exciting time of exploration. To help your toddler continue growing and learning, engage them in talking, reading, and playing as much as possible. Ultimately, an active child is a healthy one.
Your child’s brain is growing fast at this time of their life. A one-year-old is definitely copying your movements or gestures, so be careful what you say and do! They have probably begun to use cups, spoons, and other objects correctly. They are more aware of things that are missing and can locate hidden toys. Hide-and-seek is a fun game to play at this age. Your child should also be able to look at an object when you name it; for instance, their rattle or bottle.
When it comes to cognitive developmental milestones and learning, your one-year-old should be on the hunt for new things. They are exploring things by throwing or shaking them. They can copy gestures you make, such as sticking out your tongue, brushing your hair, or closing your eyes. Best of all, they have learned to follow simple directions such as “come to Mama” or “don’t touch that.” Many can grasp object permanence — understanding that even if you leave a room, you are just out of sight and haven’t vanished.
Many toddlers can say hello and goodbye and other basic words such as dada or mama. Your child has probably begun to respond to simple requests. Be sure to praise your child as they complete these tasks as this fosters their willingness to learn. Your child’s babbles may have become more like actual speech, and they may even begin to repeat the words that those around them say. Reading to your toddler helps expand their vocabulary. Encourage them to point to objects in a book while you’re reading a story.
Social developmental milestones vary greatly from child to child. However, most one-year-olds are more likely to interact with those they know and act shy with strangers. They likely have favorite people or things, too. More active children repeat actions or sounds to get attention. Games such as Pat-A-Cake and Peek-A-Boo help facilitate social interaction.
Your one-year-old is likely emotional if you leave them. They also show fear in unknown situations. Ultimately, your baby is struggling to understand their feelings, so they may occasionally act out. For instance, they may throw a toy when they want to communicate that something is bothering them. Many parents teach their young toddlers signs for certain words to help them communicate with you before they can talk, such as “hungry” or a gesture for their favorite stuffed animal.
All children grow at different paces, so it’s important not to be too concerned if your child doesn’t meet the standard physical developmental milestones for their age. The average height of a one-year-old is anywhere from 27 to 32″, and the average weight is 15 to 21 pounds; however, some children weigh more or less than this range. At their one-year checkup, your pediatrician can determine if your toddler is healthy. It’s not uncommon for a child to deviate from the normal growth pattern at times throughout childhood.
Gross Motor Skills
At age one, your child continues to improve their motor skills. Most toddlers can sit without any help and pull themselves up to stand while holding furniture or even without support. Some may even walk, while others may be crawling or creeping along the floor. They are preparing to be on the move even more in the future.
Fine Motor Skills
At this time, your child is probably constantly grabbing at things around them. As a parent, this makes it important to keep dangerous items out of their reach at all times. Your toddler’s ever-improving hand-eye coordination is one of the most enjoyable parts of this kind of development. They may be learning to feed themselves and grasp things better. Gone are the days when they’re always dropping their toys.
Your child is probably eating a larger variety of foods than ever before. This may include soft fruits or soft-cooked vegetables. A one-year-old has begun to learn how to eat on their own and can hold a cup or spoon. They also can chew their food fully, which helps as you continue to introduce them to foods with different textures. Most toddlers eat a small amount around four to five times a day and have a few snacks. Some mothers choose to continue to breastfeed as their toddler’s nutritional interests grow.
When to Call Your Pediatrician
While every child develops at their own pace, some signs can indicate a developmental delay. It’s important to talk to your child’s doctor if you notice your toddler
- Is not crawling
- Walks with a limp or can’t stand at all
- Is falling forward
- Can’t pick up small objects
- Isn’t attempt to speak, not even in babbles
- Can’t or won’t point
- Begins to lose skills they developed already
While it’s important to not stress developmental milestones, it’s vital that you are aware of signs that something might be wrong and speak to your pediatrician if anything concerns you.