Your baby’s first birthday has finally arrived! Expect to see significant physical changes as your infant enters the world of toddlers. From ages 1 to 2, expect your child to master certain motor skills while developing their unique personality.
Around this age many children begin to learn how to walk. The best way for parents to support their child is by creating a safe environment where they can grab and hold onto stable objects and furniture around the house. Your child will not realize that some objects like chairs, folding tables, and plants can topple over if they grab them.
Key physical milestones:
- Gross motor skills: Sit independently, belly crawl, and walk with support
- Fine motor skills: Hold a spoon to eat and can help change their clothes
- Highlights: Expect walking skills to improve rapidly; your child might start the year struggling to walk with support and ending the year being able to run
At this age your child will begin to make strides in their language development as well as how they play. At this stage children begin to transition from non-verbal communication (pointing, shaking, throwing items) to attempts at making sounds (goo, ga, ba, da, ma). As your child gets older, they will gradually pull together these sounds into recognizable words- by two years old they can typically speak in short sentences.
Rapid improvements in motor abilities will allow your child to play in more ways. Play is crucially important for development at all stages and its popular forms include: independent play, dramatic play, and symbolic play. We recommend sturdy items that your child can throw and knock over (such as blocks) or toys that promote development.
Key cognitive milestones:
- Recognizes their name
- Begins to use objects correctly
- Understand very simple requests
- Understands “no”
Your one year old will try to explore and express their independence through trying to help dress themselves or trying new movements, but at the end of the day, they will likely be clingy and seek comfort from their parents (preferably their mother). Separation anxiety is a common issue too; make sure you do not “sneak away” or prolong the goodbye- keep it short and reassuring.
Key emotional milestones
- Act shy around strangers
- Enjoys imitating people when playing
- Tests parental responses to behavior (crying, screaming)
One to two year olds often like to play alongside peers, but not directly with them. Part of the reason is that they still have not developed enough to understand sharing as a concept. Parents, however, should not force their child to share and interact with others as it can have the opposite of the intended effect.
Key social milestones
- Strong desire to interact with regular caregivers (or others who they see often)
- Can play simple games like “peek-a-boo”
- Shows specific preferences for people and toys