Your baby is a toddler, entering into a new phase of life! Gone are the baby days — and life with a toddler is about to get even more fun. Before your child’s 12-month well-child check, it’s important to consider his or her developmental milestones.
As a refresher, developmental milestones are benchmarks that we expect most children to reach by a certain age. They are not perfect indicators of progress, and some kids will be ahead or behind in some and still be neurologically normal kids.
At 12 months of age, we expect to see a very social creature. A 1-year-old can show fear, pleasure, upset, frustration, and glee depending on the circumstances. They will commonly have preferences for specific familiar people and may become upset when close caregivers leave. They appear to understand simple commands and may be able to hand you an object when requested. They use gestures such as waving and pointing to express themselves. They will have excellent eye contact with people they know and love best but may shy away and even hide their gazes from people who are strange to them.
Contrary to what most people think, walking independently is not a 12-month milestone. Your child should be able to sit up from a lying position, stand when supported, and crawl to move around. He or she should be able to bang two objects together and place objects inside one another and then dump them out. They should attempt to find an object that has been hidden under a blanket or cup. Finger feeding should be a breeze by now, even if it’s still very messy.
While some babies will say a couple of words, most are babbling at this age. The babble should sound similar to speech with inflection and rhythm. They will often attempt to say words mimicking their family and will engage in a back and forth “conversation” with parents.
Red flags include failure to attain milestones that may suggest a developmental delay, no or very little eye contact with caregivers, no babbling or attempts at language, no crawling or supporting their own weight, and no pointing or using gestures to communicate wants.
Your child’s doctor will inquire about milestones at the next visit. Be sure to bring up any concerns you have then. Early evaluation and intervention, if needed, are important.
If milestones seem overwhelming to you, it may help to learn what they mean to your child’s pediatrician. Learn more with Dr. Sara Connolly.
Reviewed by Dr. Sara Connolly, August 2019