For the first 11 months of their lives, your baby has been very busy discovering exciting new abilities. This year, a whole new world awaits your baby. No wonder your 12-month-old baby (now officially a toddler!) can’t wait to get up and walk! And trust us, this is only the beginning of what promises to be a year’s rollercoaster.
12 Month Old Development and Milestones: Is Your Tot on Track?
12 Months Old: Physical Developmental Milestones
At this stage, your child’s median length and weight* should be as follows:
– Length: 75.7 cm (29.8 inches)
– Weight: 9.6 kg (21.3lb)
– Length: 74.1 cm (29.2 inches)
– Weight: 9.2 kg (20.4lb)
And your 12 month old child’s head circumference* should be:
- Boys: 46.1 cm (18.1 inches)
- Girls: 44.9 cm (17.7 inches)
Most 12 month old children take their first steps around the one-year mark. But as with all milestones, some kids are early, while others prefer to wait a little longer until they feel steadier.
Signs to watch out for are pulling themselves up and cruising along the side of the sofa or coffee table. Once your little one crosses the gap from the coffee table to the sofa, walking unaided is within reach.
How to support your 12 month old’s physical development
- Your 12 month old little one enjoys putting things in boxes or pouches and emptying them again. Let your child do this to toys and other child-friendly objects to entertain them and enhance fine motor skills.
- You might also see your child use one hand more than the other, showing hand preference. Other things your child will be able to do as their fine motor skills grow are holding a cup, eating with their fingers (utensils are still a thing of the future), and even putting on certain clothing items, like socks.
- As your child discovers the world from a standing point of view and their muscles grow stronger, they discover new games. Throwing balls (and other objects), pushing wheely cars along the floor and even climbing onto the sofa (or the coffee table, or those steps outside) are so much fun. Rolling a ball, tickling, and pushing around wheely toys are also favourite games at this age.
Consult a doctor if your tot:
- Isn’t crawling or drags one side of the body while crawling.
- Cannot stand even when supported.
During this toddler development stage, your little one enjoys putting things inside boxes or pouches, so keep your valuables out of reach.
Your 12 month old toddler’s development is all about the outside world. Your toddler slowly realises they are living in a place much bigger and more interesting than they ever imagined before.
Before, your baby was content to be carried around in your arms, now, they squirm and wriggle to venture out alone.
This is also the time when their memory is developing.
The discovery of the world comes with the discovery of influencing the world. Your toddler slowly understands that their actions cause reactions.
Your baby might also begin to point at things they want or are interested in. This is the beginning of two-way communication.
This is also the time of heart-melting moments when your toddler waves goodbye and blows you big handfuls of kisses. However, that doesn’t mean that they are okay with you leaving! Far from it, in fact.
How to promote your 12 month old’s brain development
- Your baby is starting to understand that they can make things happen! Watch for them initiating games, such as rolling a ball over or pushing your nose.
- Now is the perfect time to start introducing shapes and colours, although it will take some time before your little one will recognise them!
- Activate your child’s memory by showing them objects and naming them often, and then asking your baby to show you those same objects when you name them.
Consult a doctor if your baby:
- Doesn’t seem to search for things you hide while in front of them.
- Finds it difficult to learn simple gestures like waving goodbye or pointing to familiar objects.
Emotional and Social Developmental Milestones
The discovery of the world is exciting but also scary. The world is big! Your toddler wants to toddle off, but only if they are sure you’re near. While exploring, they will constantly check to see where you are.
This is when your former belle of the ball may turn shy. Stranger and separation anxiety might arrive on the scene, and your sweet little one might start bawling if you leave them with someone else or at daycare – even if they never used to protest before.
Don’t worry. It’s all part of this new toddler development stage. Your toddler is starting to recognise and differentiate between people. Don’t force your baby to socialise. Let them slowly get used to all these small and big people who come into their life.
On the positive side, this is also when your little one will start bonding with other people besides primary caregivers.
Although parallel play, where children play side by side instead of together, is still the norm, your little one might start making eye contact with other children. They might even hand over a toy after they’re finished with it! This could be the start of a beautiful friendship.
Best of all, this is also the time when the baby will be smothering you with hugs and kisses. Well, when they are not off exploring the world, that is.
How to nurture your 12 month old’s emotional development
- As your child moves from a baby to a toddler, they need your constant presence and guidance. Let them discover and try things alone, but be around to make sure they are safe.
- They may try to eat on their own (using their hands, most likely making a huge mess), or your toddler may attempt to put on their shoes.
- The growing sense of independence at this age may lead to the first signs of stubbornness. Your toddler wants to do things independently and may get very upset when you try to help. Let your baby work things out alone, and wait for them to turn to you before solving their problems.
- Finally, your toddler may no longer be a baby, but neither are they a big kid yet. They are still only just discovering the world beyond their own body.
- So don’t worry if they are hitting other children, not sharing toys or developing a serious attachment to a toy, a pacifier or another object. It is perfectly normal at this age, believe it or not! It’s all part of toddler development. So correct your baby calmly, but do not discipline. Their brain is simply not up to understanding social niceties yet.
Consult a doctor if your baby:
- Shows unusual levels of anxiety when faced with new faces and places.
Speech and Language Development
Memory development is a necessary step in learning how to speak. Although you might not see anything happening outside, your little one’s brain is working overtime on the inside to retain all those words you’re saying. They are busy matching them to the objects you are discussing.
The growth of your child’s (as yet passive) vocabulary means that soon they can follow simple and precise instructions.
Maybe your little one already responds to short phrases like “Give me the ball” or “Put the toy in the box.” Help them a little by pointing at the toy and the box as you say the words!
Toddlers also respond much better if you are on their level and making eye contact.
Many toddlers are now able to use one or two words in a meaningful way, such as “mama”, “daddy”, or “ball”. Your 1 year old will be practising speech by imitating the words you say and animal sounds (which they will love doing).
Can your toddler say “mama” or “daddy”? Is she practising any speech sounds yet?
Although your toddler might be babbling away to their teddy bear or toy car, proper talking will take a little longer. Forming words requires a lot of precise effort from small muscles.
Your toddler is still concentrating on mastering the big muscle movements. If they have started walking, most likely, they will be talking and babbling less. After all, walking takes a lot of concentration!
How to encourage your 12 month old’s speech and language development:
- Less babbling doesn’t mean your child isn’t listening to you, so keep talking. All that was moving around is very tiring, so reading books and stories is a perfect way to wind down.
- Listen carefully, and you might even catch them making “speech sounds”, such as raising their voice to indicate a question. Engage with your child and know that babbling is a vital part of language development.
Consult a doctor if your baby:
- Does not babble.
- Struggles with saying basic words like “mama” and “dada”.
Health and Nutrition
Your 12 month old child needs around 4 meals per day (¾ to full cup/bowl), plus breastfeeds and one to two snacks.
Typically, the calorie intake for boys and girls of this age are as follows:
- Boys: 776.4 Kcal/day
- Girls: 740.8 Kcal/day
Their nutrition should be composed of the following:
Protein is an important building block for your baby’s physical growth. At this age, your little one needs approximately 25 grams of protein daily. This is equal to an adult palm-sized piece of chicken or fish, a child palm-sized piece of red meat or pork, or five to 6 five to six tablespoons of beans and peas, or five to size dice-sized cubes of tofu. Avoid processed meats as much as possible.
Feed your baby about one cup of fruit daily, but make sure you cut the fruits into small pieces. One cup of fruit equals one medium-sized banana, one medium avocado, half a small papaya or one small mango. You could also combine various fruits to make up the daily requirement. Avoid canned or dry fruits, if possible, as they are usually high in sugar.
Your child needs 1/4 cup of vegetables every day. 1/4 cup of vegetables equals about 1/4 cup of cooked vegetables, or one cup of raw leafy green such as spinach or kale, wilted, half a medium carrot or five-6 florets of broccoli.
Increase your 12 month old child’s grain intake to up to 3 ounces or about 85 grams every day. This equals to a slice of bread, one cup of ready-to-eat cereal, or half (1/2) cup of cooked pasta or rice. Start your child on wholegrains early for good gut health.
You can reduce your child’s daily dose of milk to about 400 to 700mL. Offer other sources of calcium, too, like yoghurt and less-salt cheese. Cow’s milk can be introduced this month.
In a nutshell, here’s what your child needs every day (refer above for what the amounts look like):
- Fruits: 1 serving for boys and girls
- Vegetables: 1/4 cup for boys and girls
- Grains: up to 3 ounces for boys and girls
- Proteins: 25g for boys and girls
- Milk: 20-35 ounces of breast milk or 24 ounces of formula for boys and girls
- Water: 1200 ml for boys and girls
Image Source: iStock
How to support your 12 month old baby’s nutrition:
- Your child will eat when he is hungry. Forcing food on them might ignite their stubborn streak instead. Introduce new foods one at a time to be super safe regarding possible allergies.
- At the one-year mark, your toddler’s gut is almost fully developed. This means you can introduce cow’s milk.
- Never give whole grapes to your child. Cut them lengthwise and remove any seeds.
- Always supervise your baby when they are eating.
- Limit salt and sugar in your child’s food.
- Encourage your toddler to eat on their own.
Consult a doctor if your baby:
- Breaks out in a rash after eating.
- Vomits frequently after eating.
Vaccinations and Common Illnesses
Your 12 month old child should have got the following vaccinations by now:
- Hepatitis B (1st, 2nd and 3rd dose)
- DTaP (1st, 2nd and 3rd dose)
- IPV (1st, 2nd and 3rd dose)
- Hib (1st, 2nd and 3rd dose)
- Pneumococcal Conjugate (1st and 2nd dose)
- Chickenpox (1st dose)
- MMR – 1st dose: Immunisation against Measles, Mumps & Rubella
- Pneumococcal Conjugate – 1st booster: Immunisation against Pneumococcal Disease
Twelve months marks the first dose of MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) and a booster for pneumococcal disease. Immunisations for measles and diphtheria are compulsory by law.
Parents note that following MMR vaccination, some children develop a fever and rash one to two weeks later or swelling of the glands of the neck after three to four weeks.
To read more about your child’s vaccination schedule, click here.
If your child is in daycare by now, it’s normal for them to contract common illnesses such as colds, Hand, Foot and Mouth disease, or throat infections.
While it’s stressful to see your little one ill, child sickness is inevitable and helps build up the baby’s immunity.
Mums and dads, you should never medicate your baby on your own unless you are a doctor yourself. Please seek medical advice for any illness in your child, even common ones. However, you can ease your child’s symptoms through, for example, saline drops for a congested nose or lukewarm sponging for fever.
- By now, your 12 month old toddler should have started a dental hygiene routine. Even if you cannot use a toothbrush on your child, it’s important to keep those tiny teeth clean. Wrap a soft cloth or gauze around a clean finger and clean your child’s teeth this way.
- Never force-feed your child if they lose their appetite when sick. Just make sure your baby is well-hydrated.
- Do not ever medicate your baby unless you are a doctor yourself.
- If your baby is prescribed antibiotics by the doctor, you must finish the course, even if the baby seems to be better.
- If the baby bumps their head, apply an ice pack (wrapped in a cloth) immediately to prevent bruising.
- All family members should strictly follow basic hygiene practices. This includes washing hands before meals and after using the bathroom.
Consult a doctor if your baby:
- Has a bad fall and hits their head.
- Has strange bumps or rashes on their body.
- Has a fever of over 38 degrees Celsius.
- Has a phlegmy cough for more than three days.
We hope you found this article on 1-year-old toddler development helpful. What can your child do by the time they celebrated their first birthday?
Image Source: iStock
*Disclaimer: This is the median length and weight, and head circumference according to WHO standards.
Your toddler’s previous month: Baby development and milestones: your 11-month-old
Your toddler’s next month: Toddler development and milestones: your 1-year-and-1-month-old
Updates from Pheona Ilagan
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