12 months


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These skills tend to be quite variable. But at this age the typical child:

  • Pulls to a stand; cruises; walks with support; may take a few steps alone.
  • Shows a precise pincer grasp, point; bangs two blocks together, and can put one object inside the other.
  • May say one to three meaningful words besides using "mama" and "dada" correctly.
  • Has the concept of object permanence; looks for a dropped or hidden object.
  • Plays social games (peek-a-boo, pat-a-cake), waves bye-bye.
  • May cooperate in dressing and feeding of self.
  • Uses a cup.


Injury prevention is proactive. Consider the following:

  • Have the phone number of Poison Control readily available.
  • Protect the child from hot liquids.
  • Tap water temperature should be less than 120 degrees.
  • Poison proof the home.
  • Do not give the infant foods (nuts, hard candies, raw carrots, popcorn, grapes) that he may choke on.
  • Ensure stair safety with gates.
  • Accompany the child when near water.
  • Use car safety restraints.
  • Confine outside play to fenced areas unless under close supervision.
  • Do not allow the child to be near running machinery (lawnmowers, or a car backing up).


These activities provide good examples for modeling important skills and encourage your child to grow in a healthy and happy way:

  • Encourage speech development. Name common objects and point out body parts. Talk to the baby during feeding, changing, bathing, dressing and walking. Use picture books with one word and one picture per page.
  • Pick up, hold, cuddle, love and talk to the infant.
  • Encourage the baby to play alone as well as interact with parents and siblings.
  • View the child's emerging independent behaviors as part of normal development rather than as opposition to the parent.


Good nutrition is essential to a growing body. Tips include:

  • Allow your child to feed themselves with a spoon, or fingers.
  • Your child should be eating table foods.
  • Your child may eat only one good meal a day; weight gain may be small.
  • Begin to wean bottles; be finished by 15 months at latest.
  • Whole or 2 percent milk should be used.
  • Snacks should be healthy, and should avoid candy, chips, and chocolate.
  • Continue fluoride supplements if indicated.


Childhood behavior may go from one extreme to another. This age is no exception:

  • Curiosity and autonomy seeking are normal behaviors.
  • Don't be afraid to set clear limits, but follow through.
  • Offer positive reinforcement for desired behaviors.
  • Work together for a consistent approach to child rearing.


Health maintenance is essential to a child's well-being:

  • Brush teeth twice a day with water. Avoid fluoridated toothpaste.
  • Perform frequent hand washing .
  • Don't share cups, toothbrushes, or eating utensils.
  • Children may still nap once or twice a day.


The following items may be useful:

  • American Academy of Pediatrics:
    – Caring for Your Baby and Young Child, Shelov, Steven editor, 2004, 4th editionGuide to Your Child's Nutrition, 1999
    – Guide to Your Child's Sleep, 2000
  • Brazelton, T. Berry. Touchpoints: Your Child's Emotional and Behavioral Development: Birth - 3: The Essential Reference for the Early Years
  • Briggs, Dorothy Corkville. Your Child's Self-Esteem
  • Campion, Mukti Jain. The Good Parent Guide. Element Inc., Rockport, MA, 1993.
  • Dreikurs, Rudolf. Children: The Challenge. Dutton, 1964.
  • Eisenberg, Arlene. What to Expect, the Toddler Years. 1994.
  • Faber, Adele. Siblings Without Rivalry
  • Gordon, Thomas. Parent Effectiveness Training. McKay, 1970.
  • Mitchell, Grace. A Very Practical Guide to Discipline With Young Children. Telshare Publ., Inc. MA, 1982.
  • Philadelphia Child Guidance Center. Your Child's Emotional Health. Macmillan, NY, 1993.

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