As with any milestones for children, it’s important to be aware that these are general guidelines and that no child will fit all descriptions perfectly. Development is a journey, not a race. As parents, it is important to give both you and your child some grace, but in general, here are some milestones you can look forward to as your child progresses from one to two.
The one year old time is a period of development in which children begin to become more independent. One exciting traditional milestone for turning one year old involves standing alone and taking their first steps. While, again, this occurs at a different time for each child, most children will begin to stand on their own around 10 months, and will start walking around 12-13 months. It can be very exciting for whoever is around to see it, but don’t worry if the first steps are taken at daycare or preschool. Your child and you will be just as happy when he or she repeats the feat. Take time to communicate with your baby’s teacher as your child gets closer. You can both share observations, and have a joint plan on how to help your child and make sure you don’t’ feel that you are missing any part of your child’s development.
Along with walking, feeding one’s self is another of the important traditional milestones for a one year old. Although a one year old eating on his or her own may not be the most pleasant thing for parents who have to clean up after the proud moment, it is still an exciting step on the road to independence. Children of this age have a variety of ways of feeding themselves, including attempting to use spoons or just going for it with their hands. Either one is likely to be very messy but also a moment of pride for parent and child alike. Feeding time becomes even more of a learning time, with toddlers learning about cause and effect, healthy eating habits and lots of language development!
Talking is, of course, is huge among the traditional milestones for a one year old. Children develop an ability to understand verbal language well before their ability to express themselves verbally. Sign language with infants and toddlers can help your child communicate with the people around her. Additionally, your will see your child’s vocabulary and speaking skills blossom tremendously during this year. While children may already be able to say a very few words by 12 months, they usually experience the biggest spurt of language development between 18 and 24 months. As a one year old’s vocabulary nears 200 words, he will start to string together simple two or three word sentences. By reflecting back these attempts at conversations with your child (“Yes that is Mommy’s shoe. That is Mommy’s red shoe. Thank you.”), you can help your child learn more words and better sentence structure. Plus, good conversation always builds lasting relationships!