One of the great miracles of parenting is watching your baby slowly emerge into toddlerhood and then childhood. Every new skill is a triumph, and each thought and feeling is experienced as a new, exciting and sometimes frustrating new sensation. By the time your baby reaches 1-year-old, they have already learned a great deal. Your baby is likely cruising if not walking, saying a couple of recognizable words, and is increasingly responsive to a wide variety of situations.
But learning is hard work, especially when there’s so much to learn. As a result, beginning around their first birthday, many babies begin to demonstrate a new and powerful emotion: frustration. You may be familiar with the “terrible twos,” so it might not come as a surprise when your baby starts to show signs of frustration and even tantrums long before the second birthday. Just remember: this is a critical learning period that is part of your toddler’s journey to childhood.
By 12-15 months, most toddlers can:
- Have temper tantrums in response to frustrating situations.
- Occasionally cling to you and perhaps hide from strangers.
- Begin to display a sense of humor. Your baby may laugh when you make a strange noise, play peek-a-boo, or pretend to chase across the room.
- Experience separation anxiety, even for short separations.
- Play happily independently for short intervals (usually no more than 15 or 20 minutes at a time).
By 12-15 months, some toddlers are trying to:
- Assert their independence, sometimes by walking away from you.
- Attempt to manipulate you by whining or crying.
- Imitate your expressions, gestures and everyday routines (such as pretending to talk on the phone or make dinner in a toy kitchen).
- Play on equal terms with older children.
By 12-15 months, a few toddlers can:
- Adopt a security blanket, stuffed doll, or other type of “lovey” that needs to be kept in close proximity.
- Willingly share toys with friends and siblings.
- Cling to one parent more than the other.
More in milestones:
- 12-15 Months: Cognitive Development
- 12-15 Months: Physical Development
- Why developmental milestones will make you crazy
Reviewed by Dr. Sara Connolly, January 2019
- It’s not unusual for a one-year-old to whine and throw tantrums.
- Your 12-to 15-month-old may cling to you in unfamiliar situations and/or experience separation anxiety.
- Around their first birthday, toddlers usually begin to display a sense of humor.