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Your Child at 1 Year


How your child plays, learns, speaks, acts and moves offers important clues about your child’s development. Developmental milestones are the things most children can do by a certain age. Check the milestones your child has reached by his or her 1st birthday and talk with your child’s doctor at every visit about the milestones your child has reached and what to expect next.

Mother and boy reading

What Most Children Do at This Age:

Social / Emotional

  • play small buttonIs shy or nervous with strangers
  • play small buttonCries when mom or dad leaves
  • play small buttonHas favorite things and people
  • play small buttonShows fear in some situations
  • Hands you a book when he wants to hear a story
  • play small buttonRepeats 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”

Language / Communication

  • play small buttonResponds to simple spoken requests
  • play small buttonUses simple gestures, like shaking head “no” or waving “bye-bye”
  • play small buttonMakes sounds with changes in tone (sounds more like speech)
  • play small buttonSays “mama” and “dada” and exclamations like “uh-oh!”
  • play small buttonTries to say words you say

Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

  • play small buttonExplores things in different ways, like shaking, banging, throwing
  • Finds hidden things easily
  • play small buttonLooks at the right picture or thing when it’s named
  • Copies gestures
  • play small buttonStarts to use things correctly; for example, drinks from a cup, brushes hair
  • play small buttonBangs two things together
  • play small buttonPuts things in a container, takes things out of a container
  • play small buttonLets things go without help
  • Pokes with index (pointer) finger
  • play small buttonFollows simple directions like “pick up the toy”

Movement / Physical Development

  • Gets to a sitting position without help
  • play small buttonPulls up to stand, walks holding on to furniture (“cruising”)
  • play small buttonMay take a few steps without holding on
  • May stand alone



Act Early by Talking to Your Child’s Doctor if Your Child:



  • Doesn’t crawl
  • Can’t stand when supported
  • Doesn’t search for things that she sees you hide.
  • Doesn’t say single words like “mama” or “dada”
  • Doesn’t learn gestures like waving or shaking head
  • Doesn’t point to things
  • Loses skills he once had

Tell your child’s doctor or nurse if you notice any of these signs of possible developmental delay for this age. For more information, go to www.cdc.gov/concerned or call 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636).



Help Your Child Learn and Grow 

What You Can Do for Your 1-Year-Old

You can help your child learn and grow. Talk, read, sing and play together every day. Below are some activities to enjoy with your 1-year-old child today.

  • 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 unsafe behaviors, be firm in saying "no" or "stop" but avoid harsh punishment or being angry. Do not spank, yell or give long explanations. Try to redirect or distract them from unwanted behavior.
  • 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 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 she tries to copy them.
  • Play with blocks, shape sorters and other toys that encourage your child to use his 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.”


Learn the Signs. Act Early.

Learn the Signs. Act Early.

For more resources and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention call 1.800.CDC-INFO (232-4636). 

Or Visit the CDC's Website

Content provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” program. The milestone checklist is not a substitute for a standardized, validated developmental screening tool.

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