Your one year old - what to expect

A guide to the major milestones...

Life’s super exciting for a one-year-old as they start saying their first words and taking those first steps. 

Here’s a guide to the major milestones...

At a glance

  • Your toddler's development
  • Key milestones
  • Social development
  • How to help your child

Celebrate achievements

Because proud parents like to broadcast their children’s latest achievements far and wide, it can feel like some toddlers are mastering the violin, chatting in French and solving complex mathematical equations, while you’re quietly proud of animal impressions and tower building. But the truth is, all children develop at different speeds, and all that matters is that you celebrate every major milestone like mad. What could be more exciting than watching your little superstar take their first steps! 

What to expect

Here’s a list of things you might expect around the one-year-old mark:

  • Walking unaided – even if it’s a bit wobbly!

  • Rising to standing without help from furniture or people

  • Pointing to objects of interest

  • Speaking two or three recognisable words

  • Deliberately dropping toys and looking for them.

What not to worry about – shyness with other kids

Some children are naturally more introverted than others, especially around strangers, and they might need more encouragement in social situations. It’s the most normal thing in the world, but with a little preparation you can help them blossom.

Try instigating one-to-one play dates in your home, rather than joining large mother and baby groups. You can help prepare your child for the play date in advance, telling them who’s coming and what you’ll all play with.

How you can help your child at this age

  • Children of this age love stacking toys, building with bricks or putting things inside containers – it all helps develop those fine motor skills
  • Encourage your child to get creative with crayons, paints and play dough
  • Pretend to be different animals together - promoting imagination and creativity 
  • Buy a baby pushchair or baby shopping trolley – waddling along pushing it will help them feel more confident about walking alone
  • Playing is one of the main ways children learn, and you can build their physical, social, emotional and intellectual skills with a mixture of great games.

Don’t compare!

Don’t worry about your child’s development, or compare them to others and think they’re behind. All children are different, developing in various areas at varying speeds. For example, everyone expects their child to be walking by 12 months, but experts only consider walking to be delayed when it hasn’t started by 18 months. And even then it can still be quite normal for some late walkers. So don’t worry – whenever you hit a milestone, just make sure you celebrate this great achievement for your child.

You can also see more about your toddler's development with our milestones chart

Want advice?

If you do feel concerned, why not chat to your health visitor or GP? Then they can either reassure you, or arrange a developmental assessment.

At a glance

  • Your toddler's development
  • Key milestones
  • Social development
  • How to help your child
Experts only consider walking to be delayed when it hasn’t started by 18 months

Your toddler's milestones