The typical 12-month-old child will demonstrate certain physical and mental skills. These skills are called developmental milestones.
All children develop a little differently. If you are concerned about your child's development, talk to your child's health care provider.
PHYSICAL AND MOTOR SKILLS
A 12-month-old child is expected to:
- Be 3 times their birth weight
- Grow to a height of 50% over birth length
- Have a head circumference equal to that of their chest
- Have 1 to 8 teeth
- Stand without holding on to anything
- Walk alone or when holding one hand
- Sit down without help
- Bang 2 blocks together
- Turn through the pages of a book by flipping many pages at a time
- Pick up a small object using the tip of their thumb and index finger
- Sleep 8 to 10 hours a night and take 1 to 2 naps during the day
SENSORY AND COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT
The typical 12-month-old:
- Begins pretend play (such as pretending to drink from a cup)
- Follows a fast moving object
- Responds to their name
- Can say momma, papa, and at least 1 or 2 other words
- Understands simple commands
- Tries to imitate animal sounds
- Connects names with objects
- Understands that objects continue to exist, even when they can't be seen
- Participates in getting dressed (raises arms)
- Plays simple back and forth games (ball game)
- Points to objects with the index finger
- Waves goodbye
- May develop an attachment to a toy or object
- Experiences separation anxiety and may cling to parents
- May make brief journeys away from parents to explore in familiar settings
You can help your 12-month-old develop skills through play:
- Provide picture books.
- Provide different stimuli, such as going to the mall or zoo.
- Play ball.
- Build vocabulary by reading and naming people and objects in the environment.
- Teach hot and cold through play.
- Provide large toys that can be pushed to encourage walking.
- Sing songs.
- Have a play date with a child of a similar age.
- Avoid television and other screen time until age 2.
- Try using a transitional object to help with separation anxiety.
Normal childhood growth milestones - 12 months; Growth milestones for children - 12 months; Childhood growth milestones - 12 months; Well child - 12 months
American Academy of Pediatrics website. Recommendations for preventive pediatric health care. www.aap.org/en-us/Documents/periodicity_schedule.pdf. Updated March 2020. Accessed January 14, 2021.
Marcdante KJ, Kliegman RM. Normal development. In: Marcdante KJ, Kliegman RM, eds. Nelson Essentials of Pediatrics. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 7.
Onigbanjo MT, Feigelman S. The first year. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 22.
Review Date 10/2/2020
Updated by: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.