11 May How to Promote Development in Your 12-Month-Old
Your child’s one year birthday marks the end of infancy and the beginning of toddlerhood. Get ready: that sweet, smiling, stationary baby you bore will soon become (or has already started to become) a walking, talking, running, climbing daredevil with seemingly unlimited energy and no comprehension of safety or rules. Toddlers are a lot of fun, but a lot of work. They change and grow rapidly. The CDC has a list of milestones that a typical 12-month-old should have attained, and all are illustrated by a photo or video. To promote further development, try these tips:
- Read: this is critical in helping your child develop language skills. When reading age-appropriate stories, make it interactive: ask questions about the story. Ask “Where is the dog?,” and encourage your child to point to the dog on the page. You can also “read” those small board books that have a single word and picture on each page to help build vocabulary.
- Encourage your child to use her words, sounds and gestures to communicate: toddlers understand more than they can express. Most can follow one simple instruction (“go get your shoes”), so play games with instructions and see how many she can follow. Teach your child simple signs to communicate, too. And emphasize the names of common objects: “This is your cup. Do you want your cup? Can you say cup?”
- Create a safe space in your home for cruising, walking, climbing, etc.
- Use push toys to help promote walking: a toy grocery cart or baby carriage, for example, provides support while practicing walking. Never use a baby walker, as these can lead to serious injury.
- Find ways to divert your toddler’s attention without saying “No” all the time: if she’s focused on the remote control, find a toy with lots of knobs and buttons on it.
- Remember toddlers have no impulse control: they are better at doing things than at stopping what they are doing. When keeping them safe, don’t say “Stop running”, say “Walk slowly.”
- Offer toy blocks to stack or build with, but make sure they are large enough not to choke on.
- Offer toys that represent objects in your child’s world, like a toy phone or a play kitchen. Play along with her, and let her direct the action.
- Give your child different objects and see how she uses them: she may take a spoon and pretend it’s an airplane. Encourage pretend play.
- Offer toys or activities that involve putting objects into a container and taking them out: you can do this with objects around the house.
Closely following your child’s development is one of the key components of well child visits. If you have skipped a well visit recently due to the pandemic, or have one coming up soon, remember that our offices are doing everything we can to make them safe for any kind of visit. And with the calendar flipping to May and the shelter-at-home policy all but eliminating other infectious diseases for the season (like flu and RSV), our offices are even safer now, with very few sick children. So don’t skip your child’s well visit, no matter the age; Contact us to schedule a well visit, either in person or virtually!