Twelve Months

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU- At the end of this month you and your baby will celebrate 1 year from birth, and what a year it has been. I always say the first birthday party should be as much for the parents as for the child. You have all come a long way in this year. By one year old, each baby is a clear individual with likes and dislikes, social skills, communication abilities and mobility. This birthday celebrates a growth period like no other in life. 
While development does follow a sequence of sorts by the age of one each baby is on his or her own course and will not do what other babies are doing. For this reason this will be the last page of milestones even though growth continues throughout life, milestones cannot be followed month by month any more. Even by now, some babies will have moved beyond the milestones I have written and others will be approaching them. 
No other skill is looked for so much as walking. While we say the average age to take a first step is at the first birthday, babies start walking at any time between 8 months and 18 months, quite a large range. Some babies will get up, then stand holding with one hand, then let go, next day take a step and fall, then two steps, and so on for a month. Others will seem like they are not interested and will just get up one day and walk halfway across the room. It has to do with character and opportunity and physical skill all combined. 
MILESTONES (Milestones are averages and, at best, rough guidelines. Half of babies will achieve milestones earlier than noted and half will reach them later. As babies get older, they become more diverse in their development and milestones become less reliable. )

How your 12 month old moves:
1. Prefers to spend time standing at furniture or holding hands.
2. May stand without support
3. May take first steps (anytime between 8 and 18 months.
4. Creeps on hands and knees well
5. Moves from sitting to hands and knees to floor and back again. 
6. May pull self up to standing at furniture
7. Sits intentionally
8. Climbs on everything
9. Will again make swimming movements in water after a period when this was not done.

How your 12 month old uses hands:
1. Bones in hands are formed and baby is better able to use hands
2. Shows preference for one hand over other
3. Uses non-dominant hand as support and dominant hand to manipulate.
4. Points with index finger with accuracy and intent
5. Can figure out how to hold onto 2 or more objects and take another.

Your 12 month old’s senses
1. Standing balance is developing and baby may be able to rotate body while standing
2. Sense of body in space is developed enough to be able to reach for an object out of line of sight and obtain it.

Thinking and learning
1. Baby will search for a hidden object even if he did not see it being hidden
2. Will search in more than one place for object
3. May think through actions before  performing them
4. Begins to problem solve, though still uses trial and error frequently
5. Is able to imitate fairly precisely, even when model is no longer present. Will demonstrate household activities she has seen performed at other times such as feeding a doll or stirring in a bowl.
6. Has a good sense of self as a unique item separate from other objects or people
7.     Wants to do thing independently.

12 month old language skills:
1. If baby is close to walking, other skills take a backseat and there may appear to be a standstill in language.
2. Can use a number of gestures meaningfully, including waving bye-bye. Babies who have been using a form of sign language may have 10 to 15 signs that are used appropriately to communicate.
3. Understands functions of language and will expect certain reactions to words
4. May ‘’babble” sentences with accurate intonation, even without words.
5. May imitate animal sounds
6. Recognizes objects by name.

Social skills at 12 months
1. As with other periods of expansion of a baby’s world (visual acuity and crawling) fear of separation from parents becomes strong again. Babies need an anchor to feel confident to explore.
2. Recognizes emotions in others and reacts appropriately
3. Resists regulation, such as being fed, put to nap or restricted from touching something. 
4. May have temper tantrums. Your responses to these early tantrums set the tone for later responses (baby’s and yours). Do not give in to baby’s demands but wait until he calms down and then comfort him. Try to control the environment so baby does not have many reasons to tantrum.
5. Baby has the physical skill to undress for the most part but not to dress. 
6. Baby is capable of feeding self a full meal and usually prefers to feed self. May reject eating as a response to being fed.
7. May give affection (hugs and kisses) to people or toys, on request or in response to awareness of feelings of others.


1. Walking baby while holding both hands will be a favorite activity at this time.
2. Place same size cardboard boxes (weight them if necessary) in a pattern so baby can move from one to the other around the room
3. Use the cardboard boxes or blankets over chairs to make tents and crawl tunnels.
4. Simple obstacle course, a large pillow to crawl over and box to crawl through space between the table and the couch to get through. Pull a toy in front of baby through the “course”. 
5. Play together with baby standing at a full length mirror and you sitting behind
6. “Hide the toy” Hide it in a place baby can find it.  In some games, hide the toy in the same place, other times hide it in different places. Hide is so baby will have to move to find it.
7. If everyone is comfortable, this is a good time to swim together.
8. Placing post-it note paper (especially of different colors) on the window, then pull them off again.

Sensory, thinking and learning 
1. Prepare a treasure basket full of small items for manipulation or imaginative play. May include a remote or cell phone without its batteries, plastic kitchen utensils, soft balls, stacking bowls, a doll or stuffed animal, among other things.
2. Problem solving games such as opening boxes to get objects or unwrapping presents or opening drawers to find things.
3. “What is the Difference?” show baby two related objects with differences, such as a plastic cup and a paper cup or a heavy wooden block and a hollow plastic one, and let baby explore the differences. 

Language and Social
1. Continue reading to baby. At this time, baby might want control of book and may turn pages (not necessarily one at a time). Best bet is to read the page you are on and talk about the pictures.
2. Baby may have a favorite book and may want it read over and over again.
3. A collection of hats and large shoes and purses to practice “dressing” skills. 
4. Doll play may begin, baby may want to “feed” doll.
5. Sing songs that require actions such as Where is Thumbkin” or “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” or “In Warm and Sunny Weather” which can be varied. An example of the variations  follows:                                                                                          
 Clap, clap, clap your hands 
Clap your hands together
Clap, clap, clap your hands together
In warm and sunny weather

Stomp your feet …
Tap your toes…..
Blink your eyes….

Can be “cold and rainy weather” if that is more appropriate.

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