Mother gleefully lifts her 1-year-old daughter in the air while sitting outside. 1-year-olds can understand many things, including emotions and several words and phrases.

What Can My 1-Year-Old Understand?

One-year-olds are curious little beings who are constantly exploring their surroundings and discovering new things. They are at a stage in their lives where they are learning and absorbing information at an incredible rate. As a parent, it is natural to wonder what your one-year-old understands and how you can facilitate their learning. Read on to discover what your little one is comprehending this year!

  1. Language comprehension -  While your one-year-old may not be able to speak much, they can understand quite a bit of what you are saying to them. In fact, at 12 months, many babies can understand up to 50 words! They may not be able to respond in words, but they will respond to your tone of voice and facial expressions. For example, when you say "no" in a stern voice, they may stop doing what they are doing. Your child may also be able to understand simple commands such as "come here" or "give me the toy." They may be able to recognize their name and respond when you call it.
  2. Object Permanence - At one year old, your child may start to develop a sense of object permanence, which means they understand that objects still exist even when they can't see them. For example, if you hide a toy under a blanket, they may try to find it.
  3. Cause and effect - Your one-year-old will also start to understand cause and effect. They may realize that if they press a button on a toy, it will make a noise or if they drop a toy, it will fall to the ground. In fact, you'll notice them test this theory out often! Try to have patience when they're emptying out containers or dropping food from their highchair. They're doing important research!
  4. Emotions - Your one-year-old will be starting to recognize and understand basic emotions such as happiness, sadness, and anger. In fact, they rely on facial expressions and tones of voice to understand situations. You'll notice if you yell or make an angry face, it can be very upsetting for them because they know things aren't right.
  5. Social cues - In the same vein, your one-year-old will start to pick up on social cues such as facial expressions and body language. They can understand when someone is happy or sad based on their facial expression and react accordingly. They can also anticipate things based on social queues, such as handing you a book when you sit down at night in your special storytime chair.

It is important to keep in mind that every child develops at their own pace, and some may be more advanced than others in certain areas. However, these are some general milestones that you can expect your one-year-old to be able to understand. If you notice that your child may not be picking up on language or social queues at around the same pace as other kids their age, speak to your pediatrician, as it may be a good idea to do some screening. Many issues can be worked out with early intervention!

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