The first 12 months of your baby’s life were full of moments of wonder, as you saw how your baby grew, developed, and started to show interest in various different stimuli.
Get ready for the next stage because you now have a toddler in your midst!
Yes, the next stage is full of firsts. From first steps to first words, first social events to first friends, first major full on tantrums to first flourishes of what their personality is really going to be like. It’s a challenging stage but it’s one which is packed with wonder and joy.
So, what should you expect from your 1 year old child?
How Your 1 Year Old Baby Will Grow And Develop
It’s possible that your child is already moving around a little. If they’re not walking, they’re probably standing up and attempting to do so. However, if your little one isn’t doing so, don’t panic! Many 1 year old babies are slow to start walking and it’s a case of them building confidence and falling over a few times before they manage it! Simply offer them support and show them love whenever they do fall back down again. Slowly but surely, they’ll take those first steps.
Regardless of whether your baby is actually walking around unaided or not, you certainly need to have your eyes everywhere as they’re moving around a lot! Turn your back for a second and they’ve motored across the floor and they’re probably trying to reach something they shouldn’t be reaching for! This is the first signs of your baby really showing their tenacity and their personality. Yes, it’s challenging and the word ‘no’ is probably going to cause a few tantrums, but stick with it, it’s all part of the fun.
You might have a few moments of panic, perhaps when your baby tries to climb upon to the couch or they reach to pet a dog they don’t know. You’re going to need to have your eyes everywhere for sure, but this is them testing their boundaries and learning with their senses. Help them to boost their curiosity by allowing them to take very small and measured risks. Of course, you’ll check these out first for safety, but allowing them to touch a leaf on a tree as you go out for a walk, or make a noise at a duck that is waddling past whilst you’re in the park. This will help them to build confidence.
This new found mobility means that your child is experiencing new things regularly. This can be a little daunting to them sometimes, no matter how curious they may appear to be. As such, they might be clingy occasionally and that’s fine; simply soothe them and explore whatever they were attempting together. You’ll soon show them that there’s nothing to fear and that should be enough for them to carry on exploring once more.
Your baby may also be starting to speak for the first time and could even say as many as five words by the age of 1. Again, every child moves at a different speed and it could be that your child is communicating what they want via just one or two words and hand signals or pointing. For instance, they might a drink so they’ll make a noise and point at the fridge, because they know that’s where you keep their drinks! No matter whether or to your child is speaking properly or struggling to pronounce words, don’t worry at this stage; as long as they’re communicating in general and trying to get you to understand them, they’re on target for this rather curious stage.
Naps, Food, and All That Jazz
Your 1 year old baby might like to think that they’re invincible and can play all day long, they still need their naps. The difference at this age is that you’ll probably have to persuade them to go down to sleep because they’re so keen on exploring and moving around!
A 1 year old child needs 11 hours of shut eye at night and two naps during the day, for a total of 3 hours. They’re moving constantly, learning, developing, thinking and becoming the little person they should be, and all of that energy takes it out of them. As a result, don’t be surprised if one minute your little one is motoring around the room, babbling away, and the next you turn around because it’s gone very quiet and they’re fast asleep on the floor.
It’s exhausting being 1 year old!
Because your child is likely to need persuading to go down for their naps, it’s important to make sure that they stick to a schedule and stay in routine. For a 1 year old, routine is key. If they fall out of this routine, you’re going to have trouble getting them back into it, and it’s going to lead to very loud tantrums along the way. If you go away on vacation or anything else happens which could potentially knock their routine out of whack, do your very best to keep it on schedule as much as you possibly can. A child of this age needs stability in order to keep their development on target.
It’s a good idea to allow your child to sit in a high chair at meal times and eat with the family at this age. Make sure that you purchase an age appropriate high chair and sit with you child to encourage them to stay still and not to wiggle around too much. It’s possible that they won’t trust the chair at first, because it’s so new, but you can reassure them and as a result, they should learn to enjoy sitting there with everyone else.
Whilst your child is sat in the high chair they can start to explore different foods. It’s going to be messy but they will learn a lot from squashing certain foods in their hands and feeding themselves as much as they are able. Of course, you need to be very close on hadn’t to ensure they don’t push too much into their mouth. Keep portion sizes small when you’re giving finger foods and that way you’re not going to cause your child to become overwhelmed by anything too large or too new all at one time. This may also help your child to avoid becoming a ‘picky’ eater to a degree.
At 1 year old, your child is also exploring different textures and sensations. They’re likely to love pulling things and that grip can be strong! Make sure you give the plenty of different toys to play with, such as soft toys with different textures, different noises, and if you find that your child likes a particular type of material, e.g. something furry or silky perhaps, give them a small amount of that material to play around with.
The 1 Year Old’s Fragile Confidence
The most important thing to remember at this age is confidence.
Your baby might think they can take on the world without fear, but they certainly cannot. Your baby will become wary or even fearful of certain things or situations very quickly so you need to do all you can to help them overcome these issues with plenty of reassurance and exploring a situation or thing they find worrying together. For instance, if your child is scared of the cat, you could stroke the cat together and show them that there is nothing to fear as long as you are gentle.
Whenever your child does something, whether you think they did a good job or not, be sure to heap the praise on with “well done!” Trying at this age is what matters and that is how they will learn and develop. There is plenty of time for correcting them on how to do things better later on!
As before, your child will seem to want to explore everything and have a fearless spirit but they will become very clingy very quickly. They take themselves out of their comfort zone and then retreat back into it when they’re not sure about something. When this happens, be sure to give them cuddles and lots of reassurance and love. This will ensure that their confidence isn’t dented and that they don’t start to develop fears of certain things. This could, over time, prevent them from moving towards new experiences, so boosting that confidence and giving plenty of reassuring is key.
Your 1 year old child is certainly going to be entertaining!
At this age, the world is huge and exciting to them and they’re starting to find their feet (literally) around the house. They’ll show their personality in bursts but they’ll also want to be close to you for reassurance. They’ll start to talk and communicate with you in different ways too, and they’ll also push their boundaries in order to learn.
1 year onwards may be a challenge, but it’s an exciting and fulfilling one, for sure.