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35 things a 1 - 2 year old should be able to do

If you have a 1-year-old, you know how busy they can be! Every day, your growing child’s life is filled with exploration and learning. Are you unsure what is typical for children this age? Take a look at these developmental milestones and you’ll have a better sense of what to expect.

Physical Milestones

Milestones for 1-year-olds include gross motor skills using big muscles to move the whole body—and fine motor skills — using smaller muscles for little things.

Gross Motor Skills

Most 1-year-olds can:

  • Sit without leaning on anything or being held up

  • Belly crawl, scoot or creep on hands and knees

  • Pull to standing and move, holding on to furniture

Between 12 and 24 months, children typically can:

  • Stand alone and walk, holding on to your hands

  • Stick out their arms, legs and feet to help get dressed and undressed

  • Walk without help

  • Begin walking up stairs

Fine Motor Skills

As they approach age 2, children are typically able to:

  • Drink from a sippy cup (or regular cup with help)

  • Use a spoon—clumsily—to eat

  • Pick up objects like Cheerios or raisins with thumb and one finger (known as “pincer grasp”)

  • Point, poke and maybe even pinch

  • Put things into a bucket and take them out again

  • Scribble with a thick crayon or marker

Cognitive Milestones

Your child’s cognitive milestones are the ways he learns to think, explore, learn and solve new problems. A child between 12 and 24 months will typically:

  • Know the use of everyday objects, such as a spoon, a toothbrush or phone

  • Start following simple directions such as “blow me a kiss” or “sit down”

  • Start simple pretend play, like feeding a stuffed animal

  • Point to his own head, eyes, ears, nose or mouth

  • Make the connection between a word you say and a picture in a book

  • Show a reaction to familiar songs and stories

  • Start testing cause and effect, such as what happens when he throws his cup on the floor

Wriggles and Giggles deliver face to face group sessions in Yarm, Hartburn, Ingleby Barwick that you can join by booking a sessions that best suits you, if you are a parent or carer to an early years child from birth. All areas of learning are covered for your child's development and your own understanding of how that happens and how to get the best outcome for them with your parenting techniques.

Language Milestones

Language at this age is not only about the sounds your child makes. It’s also about how well your child understands what you say to him. And it’s about how he tells you what he wants and needs. Sometime between 12 and 24 months, a child can typically:

  • Babble in a way that sounds like talking and try to “talk” with you

  • Recognize family members’ names and the words for common items (cup, ball, shoe)

  • Raise his arms when he wants to be picked up, point at things he wants and shake his head no

  • Understand basic commands like stop

  • Say no, mama and several other words

  • Express happiness, sadness and frustration with different sounds or cries

Social and Emotional Milestones

One-year-olds have limited social interactions with other children. But your child may learn many social skills and ways to express emotion this year. Most 1-year-olds can do these things:

  • Smile and laugh in reaction to somebody else or when playing

  • Cry when someone nearby is upset

  • Feel comfortable exploring the room when a caregiver is nearby

  • Show affection to familiar people

  • Have mild temper tantrums when frustrated

  • Be nervous around new people and clingy with caregivers

Keep in mind that children develop at different rates. Your child might meet some of these milestones a little earlier or a little later. But if he isn’t meeting most of them, consider talking to his doctor. It might be helpful to have an evaluation to look at his skills. Once you have a better idea of your child’s path of development, you can talk about early intervention strategies and other ways to help.

Key Takeaways

  • children develop at different rates—these milestones are just typical.

  • If you’re concerned, talk with the doctor about whether your child should have an evaluation.

  • Early intervention can make a huge difference if your child needs help.


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