One-year-old child sits in front of a simple mural while holding a bright, red, birthday balloon. A parent can look forward to many strides in their child's development at one-year-old.

The Big 1! Here’s What to Look Forward To

From toothless smiles to sweet, baby babbles, there’s no doubt your little one has brought you endless joy in the past 12 months. Fortunately, the fun’s just getting started as there’s still plenty of exciting milestones to look forward to in the upcoming year!

Physical Development

Your 1-year-old is at an exciting stage of development, as they are quickly learning and growing in many different ways. Physical development is a major focus as they learn to walk and climb. They will also begin to develop fine motor skills, such as picking up small objects with their fingers, stacking items like blocks, turning pages and knobs, and scribbling using writing utensils. Be ready for them to experiment with these new skills! They’ll be eager to try out their abilities while learning about cause and effect by engaging in activities like overturning containers or building things and knocking them down.

Cognitive Development 

Cognitive development is also rapidly progressing in your little one. A 1-year-old child will be able to draw more and more from previous knowledge to solve problems. They’ll enjoy playing hide and seek with items and may start showing the ability to sort things by color and shape. They are starting to understand simple commands and may begin to respond to their name. And, as stated previously, your child will deepen their understanding of  cause-and-effect relationships, such as realizing that pressing a button on a toy will make it play a sound. Furthermore, you’ll notice your little one imitating behaviors and sounds (or even words) exhibited by parents and siblings.

Language Development

At around the one year mark, you’ll begin to notice a big leap in your child’s language abilities. They’ll begin to say their first words and will start to understand simple phrases, such as "Where's your shoe?" or "Give me a kiss." They may also begin to use simple gestures, such as pointing or shaking their head, to communicate. At around 15-18 months they’ll know around 6 to 10 words and by the time they reach two years, many will be able to use 2 to 4 word sentences. This is a great time to pull back on baby talk, slow down your speech, and enunciate words clearly when conversing with your child. Talk to them often and watch their abilities grow!

Social Emotional Development

A 1-year-old’s view of the world is egocentric, and that’s perfectly normal. While he or she may enjoy watching and being around other children, their main concern is how things relate to them. If they play with other children, it will be alongside them and not truly with them. Sharing is not a concept easily grasped at this age, and your 1-year-old will often compete for toys and attention. In addition, because of their lack of awareness of others’ feelings, they may have very physical responses to children around them. There’s nothing wrong with your child if they exhibit this behavior. They’re simply learning! The best move is to redirect and move on.

On the other hand, your new toddler’s self-awareness will have plenty of benefits. They’ll show more and more independence with dressing and undressing themselves, be able to identify themselves in a mirror, and will say their own name at around 18 months!

Emotionally, your one-year-old will be experimenting with their assertiveness and independence. Sometimes they’ll be eager to show that they can do things on their own, but at other times they will show signs of separation anxiety with fussing and whining. It’s important to provide a secure and loving environment in which your child can explore their mixed feelings about growing up and know that they will always have you to fall back on when needed.

It is important to remember that every child develops at their own pace and some children may reach milestones earlier or later than others. If you have any concerns be sure to speak to your pediatrician.

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