Pregnancy and Beyond

The 12 to 18 month old baby is interested in everything. She wants to practice every new skill she learns over and over again. Once you have created a safe environment for your baby, enjoy re-exploring your house and yard with her. Spend time with your baby! She will enjoy playing with you, singing children's songs, dancing, playing Itsy Bitsy Spider, stacking toys, etc.

General Development

By her first birthday your baby will probably have tripled her birth weight. She will also continue to gain in length, but the rate she is growing will be slower from now on. She is getting longer in her trunk and extremities (taller) while her head grows more slowly. She should be sleeping 12-14 hours at night and may only need one daily nap. However, a regular nap routine will keep your baby from getting overly tired. Plan a time for naps and schedule errands and appointments around naptime.

Development of Large Muscles

By 12 months of age your baby will probably be doing some type of walking. It may be that she is pulling up to furniture, and then cruising along it. She may be trying just a step or two on her own or she may be actually walking by now. She will walk with a wide straddle-legged step holding her arms up and out at shoulder level to help her balance. She's a toddler.

Development of Small Muscles

The toddler is an imitator. She will try to do whatever she sees you do, whether it's folding the laundry or sweeping the floors. She continues to practice new skills such as scribbling on paper. She will enjoy stacking blocks and dumping games. Her attention span is short (1-2 minutes), so keeping her busy while you get something done can be a challenge.

Development of Self Help Skills

Babies are learning many new skills during this period. While dressing, your baby will anticipate what happens next by holding out her foot for a shoe or putting out her arms when she sees her coat. She will soon be able to take off her own coat.

Development of Social Skills

The 12 to 18 month old understands simple commands. She can give you something she has, or get you something you both can see. She may not remember long enough to be able to get something from another room. She understands "no" but her desire to explore and learn about the world is stronger than her memory of "no." An immediate and consistent reaction from you (such as removing her from the object) will teach her that you mean what you say.

For more information on child development, you may contact Parents as Teachers by calling your local school district office or by visiting the National Parents as Teachers website. Another resource is ParentLink at 1-800-552-8522 or the ParentLink website.