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An Overview of 1-Year-Old Milestones

Your 1-year-old is on the move. Keep up by tracking your tot's physical, cognitive, language and social milestones.

An Overview of 1-Year-Old Milestones

You baby turns one and — zoom! — he’s off. During your little one’s second year, he’s crossing some big milestones off his list. His 1-year-old brain is developing at a rapid speed and his body is keeping pace. He’ll learn some words, start to copy his hero (that means you), feed himself and start walking.

How can you encourage him? Interacting with your child every day — taking him to the park, playing blocks, reading to him — is the best way to ensure growth and development. Make sure you’re not relying on the TV, iPad or other electronics, says Dr. Alain Le Guillou, a pediatrician of over 20 years and member of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Don’t be so concerned about hitting strict milestones, he adds, and remember there’s a wide range of “normal.”

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) you have the following milestones to enjoy before your tot’s second birthday:

And read our guide to developmental milestones for kids

Physical Milestones

  • Your child should be standing and walking holding furniture, before starting to walk on his own.
  • Walking backwards and up stairs is the next step during this period.
  • Look out for him kicking the ball forward and throwing the ball overhand.
  • He’ll also be able to jump up and down during this period.
  • The pincer grasp is perfected (he’ll be able to hold things between his thumb and finger).
  • Your little one will start scribbling spontaneously — make sure to put your Picasso’s drawings on the fridge!
  • He’ll first start stacking two cubes, then move up to four. By 2 years old, he should be able to stack eight.
  • He’ll start drinking from a cup during this time and then he’ll master feeding himself with a spoon.

    Read more about physical milestones for 1 year olds.

Social Milestones

  • Let the games begin! He’ll play two-person games like “pat-a-cake”and then start rolling a ball during this time.
  • He will also start indicating what he wants by pointing.
  • Need some help with the housework? Your mini-me will imitate sweeping, dusting and other “chores” during this time.
  • Your little one will start undressing himself before practicing putting on his own clothes.

    Check out these social milestones for 1 year olds.

Language Milestones

  • Your baby’s language takes off after 9 months and he will soon start to recognize the names of his favorite people and objects.
  • He’ll start talking in sentences, usually ranging from 2-4 words.
  • He’ll also start repeating words that he hears.

    Learn more about language milestones for 1 year olds.

Cognitive Milestones

  • Make-believe takes off at this age. He loves playing house, “fort” or other fun role-playing games.
  • He can find an object even if you place under a blanket or under a mat.
  • He has started to sort items by shapes and colors.

    For more, read about these cognitive milestones for 1 year olds.

Meeting 1-year-old milestones is an important gauge of development, but it’s also important to look at the big picture. “For example, if they are behind on one milestone, but have met all the other milestones and have a normal exam otherwise, it is much less likely that this indicates something about which to be concerned,” says Dr. Rebecca Isbell, an American-board-certified University of Virginia pediatrician.

Having said that, surveillance is very important when it comes to development, so if you think there’s problem, bring it up with your doctor. There is no harm in an evaluation, and if your child needs additional services, the best outcomes occur when intervention begins early.

Judy Koutsky is the former Editorial Director of KIWI magazine, a green parenting publication. She was also Executive Editor of, AOL Parent and Follow her on twitter @JudyKoutsky.

* This article is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be providing medical advice and is not a substitute for such advice. The reader should always consult a health care provider concerning any medical condition or treatment plan. Neither nor the author assumes any responsibility or liability with respect to use of any information contained herein.