12 Months

What Most Babies Do by This Age


  • Is shy or nervous with strangers
  • Cries when parents leave
  • Has favorite things and people
  • Shows fear in some situations
  • Repeats sounds or actions to get attention
  • Puts out arm or leg to help with dressing
  • Plays games such as “peek-a-boo”

Problem Solving

  • Explores things in different ways, like shaking, banging, throwing
  • Finds hidden things easily
  • Looks at the right picture or thing when it’s named
  • Starts to use things correctly; for example, drinks from a cup, brushes hair
  • Bangs two things together
  • Puts things in a container, takes things out of a container
  • Pokes with index (pointer) finger
  • Follows simple directions like “pick up the toy”

Language and Communication

  • Responds to simple spoken requests
  • Uses simple gestures, like shaking head “no” or waving “bye-bye”
  • Makes sounds with changes in tone (sounds more like speech)
  • Says “mama” and “dada” and exclamations like “uh-oh!”
  • Tries to say words you say


  • Gets to a sitting position without help
  • Pulls up to stand, walks holding on to furniture (“cruising”)
  • May take a few steps without holding on
  • May stand alone

What Families Can Do

  • Develop and maintain consistent routines.
  • Help your baby learn limits by saying “no” in a firm quiet voice.
  • Provide your baby with choices, such as, “Do you want to wear your red shirt or your blue shirt?”
  • Give your baby lots of hugs and kisses.
  • Say what you think your baby is feeling, such as happy, mad or sad.
  • Play, sing and read to your baby.
  • Talk to your baby about what you are doing such as, “I am changing your diaper.”
  • Let your baby turn the pages when looking at a book together and take turns naming items in the pictures.
  • Use words to tell your baby what comes next, such as “Mommy is putting on your socks and then we will put on your shoes.”
  • Build on what your baby says or tries to say, or points to – if your baby points to a dog and says “da,” respond, “Yes, that’s a little, black dog.
  • Play with blocks, shape sorters and other toys that encourage your baby to use his/her hands.
  • Give your baby crayons and paper and let him/her draw freely.
  • Hide small toys and have your baby find them.
  • Name body parts out loud.
  • Sing songs with actions like “The Itsy-Bitsy Spider” and “Wheels on the Bus”; teach your baby the actions.
  • Child-proof your home: lock up household cleaning, laundry, lawn care and car care products; use safety gates; and lock doors to outside and basement.
  • Provide push toys such as a car or wagon.

Developmental Milestones