Your Child at One Year

What Most Babies Do at this Age:


  • 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/she wants to hear a story
  • Repeats sounds or actions to get attention
  • Puts out arm or leg to help with dressing
  • Plays games such as “peek-a-boo” and “pat-a-cake”


  • Responds to simple spoken requests
  • Uses simple gestures, like shaking 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, problem-solving)

  • Explores things in different ways, like shaking, banging, throwing
  • Finds hidden things easily
  • Looks at the right picture or thing when it”s named
  • Copies 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”

The Milestone Child Development Chart is shown Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

What You Can Do for Your One-Year-Old:

  • Give your child time to get to know a new caregiver.
  • Bring a favorite toy, stuffed animal, or blanket to help comfort your child.
  • In response to unwanted behaviors, say “no” firmly.
  • Do not yell, spank, or give long explanations. A time out for 30 seconds to 1 minute might help redirect your child.
  • Give your child lots of hugs, kisses, and praise for good behavior.
  • Spend a lot more time encouraging wanted behaviors than punishing unwanted behaviors (4 times as much encouragement for wanted behaviors as redirection for unwanted behaviors).
  • Talk to your child about what you’re doing. For example, “Mommy is washing your hands with a washcloth.”
  • Read with your child every day. Have your child turn the pages. Take turns labeling pictures with your child.
  • Build on what your child says or tries to say, or what he points to. If he/she points to a truck and says “t” or “truck,” say, “Yes, that’s a big, blue truck.”
  • Give your child crayons and paper, and let your child draw freely. Show your child how to draw lines up and down and across the page. Praise your child when he/she tries to copy them.
  • Play with blocks, shape sorters, and other toys that encourage your child to use his/her hands.
  • Hide small toys and other things and have your child find them.
  • Ask your child to label body parts or things you see while driving in the car.
  • Sing songs with actions, like “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “Wheels on the Bus.” Help your child do the actions with you.
  • Give your child pots and pans or a small musical instrument like a drum or cymbals. Encourage your child to make noise.
  • Provide lots of safe places for your toddler to explore. (Toddler-proof your home. Lock away products for cleaning, laundry, lawn care, and car care. Use a safety gate and lock doors to the outside and the basement.)
  • Give your child push toys like a wagon or “kiddie push car.”