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12-Month Baby Milestones: Hello, Little Toddler!
  • Congratulations, your baby is a year old! It might seem like yesterday that you had a baby, but now you have an energetic toddler!

    But do not be too sad! Even though your child is no longer a baby, they are still far from being an independent kid. Your toddler still has quite a ways to go before they become “all grown up.”

    On the other hand, your not-so-little one does not stop growing and learning. Your toddler still has developmental milestones to reach.

    Are Developmental Milestones Still Important After the First Year?

    The short answer: Yes!

    You may have noticed that your child’s pediatrician assesses if your child can do some specific skills. These are developmental milestones that most children of similar age groups can do. Pediatricians use these milestones to gauge whether a child is growing as expected or is behind in their development. 

    But aside from being developmental checkposts, these skills also serve as the foundation of other skills your child needs to learn later in life. For example, walking without assistance is an essential skill. However, before anyone can learn to walk, they must first learn how to crawl.


    “Milestones are behaviors and skills that emerge over time, and they are the building blocks for your child’s growth, development, and continued learning,” explains Dr. Joey Cuayo-Estanislao, pediatrician and Smart Parenting Board of Expert member. “It’s important to allow your child to practice these skills, explore their bodies and their environment, and engage and interact with them to help them achieve their milestones.”

    You should continue monitoring your child’s developmental milestones and help them hone their skills.

    Movement and Physical Development Milestones

    If your child still needs to take their first step, you can expect them to do it soon. Toddling is one of the most anticipated milestones by every parent, and most babies start toddling around their first year. It is why babies are called toddlers after their first birthday!

    Stay calm if your child is taking their sweet time, though. According to WhatToExpect.com, it is normal for some children to start toddling a bit late. Some children start walking at 14 months.

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    Your child has plenty of other milestones to hit this month aside from walking. Here are a few others:

    • Cruising, or walking while holding onto furniture
    • Standing unassisted for a minute or two
    • Pulling themself up to stand
    • Drinking from a lidless cup (with your assistance)
    • Using the “pincer grasp,” or picking small items using their thumb and forefinger

    If your child is still cruising, make sure that the furniture around them is sturdy. You would not want a chair or shelf that would topple over if your baby used it to pull themself up.

    If your child likes wearing socks, change to pairs with grippy soles. You would not want your toddler to slip and fall!

    Language and Communication Milestones

    Your toddler can now tell you better what they like or dislike. However, they might still need more time to start talking.

    These are some of the skills you may notice your toddler doing this month:

    • Waving “bye-bye”
    • Calling their caregiver (“dada,” “mama,” or another unique nickname)
    • Pausing for a while after hearing you say “no”

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the best way to build your toddler’s vocabulary is to keep interacting with them. After all, your child loves to copy your gestures and sounds.

    Talking and singing to your baby is an excellent activity. For instance, try singing “I wash my hands, the left and the right” when washing hands.

    When your child tries identifying objects using their baby talk, build on it – but use the correct word. For example, if your child tries to say “ba,” say, “Yes, that’s a ball.”

    Social and Emotional Milestones

    Your toddler now has preferences! You will know who their favorite caregiver is. Your child will also enjoy playing games with you, such as pat-a-cake.

    On the other hand, your child will also become wary of strangers and new faces. Give them time to get accustomed to new people, such as visiting relatives or a new nanny.


    Cognitive Milestones

    Your toddler also continues to learn about cause and effect. They also know now that objects that have disappeared from their vision are still there. You may notice your child doing these things during playtime:

    • Putting objects into other objects, such as a ball in a box
    • Looking for something they see you hide, like their rattle under a pillow

    You can encourage these skills by turning them into a game! Try hiding their favorite objects under cushions or inside boxes and let them find them.


    Your toddler has had quite the journey – but the fun and learning are just beginning! Just continue interacting with your child to encourage their skills. 

    Remember to visit your pediatrician so they can keep track of your toddler’s progress. Talk to the doctor if you have any questions or concerns about your child’s progress.

    Read about 11-month-old milestones here.

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