What Are The Milestones For A 1 Year Old

Milestone Moments Matter1 Year

When my first child was born 25 years ago, the doctor and nurses all congratulated me as they announced I had just delivered a healthy baby girl. Two days of painful contractions and a lot of gripping my husband’s hand were all forgotten when they placed my daughter in my arms. One thing I recall so clearly is that I didn’t receive an instruction manual. I received a free blanket and a t-shirt from the hospital, but no manuals on how to care for this model.

Jaxon, my grand-nephew didn’t come with an instruction manual either. No child does when they are born. You may get a few instructions on how to feed them and change their diapers. The doctor may educate you on how to care for them as premies and if they were born with a defect, but aside from that, I can’t think of any children who come with manuals.

When raising my daughter 25 years ago, I didn’t know the term “milestones.” I knew about crawling and walking and saying mama and dada, but I didn’t know those were considered milestones.

Today, there’s a little booklet that describes various milestones for kids from ages two months to five years old. It’s called ‘Milestone Moments: Learn The Early Signs. Act Early,” by the Centers For Disease Control (CDC).

I became familiar with this little resource at a doctor’s appointment for Jaxon. Jaxon is developmentally delayed and autistic and this little book has been insightful. Had I known about this little resource, maybe I would have caught Jaxon’s autism and delays much sooner. I share this with you because there may be others who are unaware of what the CDC defines as milestones for children. These milestones are things to watch for in your child and tips on how you can help your child learn and grow.

“Your Child By 1 Year – What most children do by this age”

Social/Emotional Milestones

  • Is shy and nervous with strangers
  • Cries when mom or dad leaves
  • Has favorite things and people
  • Shows fear in some situations
  • Hands you a book when he/she wants to hear a story
  • Repeats 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 Milestones

  • Responds to simple spoken requests
  • Uses simple gestures, like shaking head “no” or waving “bye-bye”
  • Makes sounds with changes in tone (sounds more like speech)
  • Says “mama” and “dada” and exclamations like “uh-oh”
  • Tries to say words you say

How you can help your child’s development

  1. Give your child time to get to know a new caregiver. Bring a favorite toy, stuffed animal, or blanket to help comfort your child.
  2. In response to unwanted behaviors, say “no” firmly. Do not yell, spank, or give long explanations. A time out for 30 seconds to 1 minute might help redirect the child.
  3. Give your child lots of hugs, kisses, and praise for good behavior.
  4. Spend a lot more time encouraging wanted behaviors than punishing unwanted behavior (4 times as much encouragement for wanted behaviors as redirection for unwanted behaviors.)
  5. Talk to your child about what you’re doing. For example, “Mommy is washing hands with a washcloth.”
  6. Read with your child every day. Have your child turn the pages. Take turns labeling pictures with your child.
  7. 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.”

Cognitive Milestones (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

  • Explores things in different ways, like shaking, banging, throwing
  • Finds hidden things easily
  • Looks at the right picture or thing when it’s named
  • Copies gestures
  • Puts things in a container, takes things out of a container
  • Bangs two things together
  • Starts to use things correctly; for example, drinks from a cup, brushes hair
  • Lets things go without help
  • Pokes with index (pointer) finger
  • Follow simple directions like “pick up the toy”

Movement/Physical Development Milestones

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

How can you help your child’s development?

  • 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 their 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.”

Don’t wait. You know your child best.

Tell your doctor or nurse if you notice any of these signs of possible developmental delay and ask for a developmental screening.

If you or the doctor is still concerned,

Ask for a referral to a specialist and,

Call your state or territory’s early intervention program to find out if your child can get services to help. Learn more and find the number at cdc.gov/FindEI.

For more information, go to cdc.gov/Concerned.

The above information was taken from the booklet titled Milestone Moments – Learn the Signs. Act Early.

DISCLAIMER: The CDC recently lowered some of the standards for the milestones in 2022. For those updates, it is best to visit their website. The information contained herein comes from this little booklet which was published in 1991,1993, 1998, 2004, and 2009 by the American Academy of Pediatrics and Bright Futures. This booklet was obtained from a doctor’s office in the fall of 2021. We recognize every child is different and what you do with the information is your decision. We are not making suggestions, simply sharing what we found.

Proverbs 1:5, “Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance,”


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