Happy birthday, baby! Help your toddler identify their world with words by mixing language into everything you do. Put words to their gestures and help them identify things in their environment. 

Download printable checklist

What's happening at 1 year:

Your little one is listening to everything you say and storing it away at an incredible rate. Instead of using "baby" words, use the correct names for people, places, and things. Speak slowly and clearly, and keep it simple. Provide words for your child’s gestures—when they point at the refrigerator ask, “Would you like some juice?” Play games that help your child identify the environment— ask, “Where is Daddy?” or “Can you show me where your nose is? 

Look for these expected behaviors at 1 year: 

  • Is shy or nervous with strangers
  • Cries when mom or dad leaves
  • Has favorite things and people
  • Shows fear in some situations
  • Hands you a book when he wants to hear a story
  • Repeats sounds or actions to get attention
  • Puts out arm or leg to help with dressing
  • Plays games such as “peek-a-boo” and “pat-a-cake”
  • 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
  • Explores things in different ways, like shaking, banging, throwing
  • Finds hidden things easily
  • Looks at the right picture or thing when it’s named
  • Copies gestures • 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
  • Lets things go without help
  • Pokes with index (pointer) finger
  • Follows simple directions like “pick up the toy”
  • 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

Talk to your doctor if you notice your child:

  • Doesn't respond to loud sounds
  • Doesn't watch things as they move
  • Doesn't smile at people
  • Doesn't bring hands to mouth
  • Can't hold head up when pushing up when on tummy

Additional Resources:

Talk With Me Baby is made possible by a grant from the United Way of Atlanta and is a collaborative effort among organizations.