Milestones Continued: 12 months to 2 years of Age


Motor Development

Now that your child is one year old, you will start to see how much more she moves around! Babies become more aware of everything around them and also with themselves.

They start walking, running, climbing up stairs, throwing, dancing and kicking. They will start doing coloring, puzzles, building towers and imitating all you do. Puzzles are great at this age. He will start feeding himself and drinking from a cup. He will also start undressing himself.

motor development


Continue reading everyday to your child and talking to him all the time. He will start to learn body parts, objects, and shapes. Your child will learn to say a handful of words by 18 months. Then, speech development becomes exponential by 2 years of age and he will say 100s of words and start saying two-word sentences. Whatever she says, repeat it and expand also upon it.

Your child’s speech will be unclear (even at 2 years, only about 50% of the speech should be understandable), but always still talk to her like you normally do with other adults and enunciate the words properly. If your child points to something, teach him the word for it.  He will also start imitating and following more commands (like cleaning up, for example.)  Remember to always praise when he completes what is asked. Positive reinforcement really does make children feel good about what they have done and increases good behaviors.


Child-proof your house at this age. Safety tips to remember in toddlers include:

  • Never leave your child near water unattended. (Example: bathtubs and pools)
  • Block stairs and dangerous rooms.
  • Cover all unused outlets with child proof covers.
  • Keep bathroom and kitchen medicines and cleaning supplies locked away.
  • Learn about and implement car seat safety. For example, keep your toddler in a rear-facing car seat until 2 years of age – or as long as possible – until she reaches the maximum height and weight for the car seat.  Then you can turn her forward-facing when she is big enough.


This is often a topic I’m asked about now. Limit the screen time. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that it is best for children less than 2 years of age to not watch any TV or screen media. I personally avoided screen time with my older daughter until she was 2. She knew about all the Sesame Street characters, Disney and all the other characters that her friends knew about, and learned through books and other non-television means. Although most parents find this difficult, I would suggest doing the best you can to limit screen time.


Avoid juice and sugar drinks. Stick to water and milk. My daughter drinks water and milk and doesn’t even have an interest in juice since she was rarely exposed to it. I would suggest sticking to juice and sugary drinks for special occasions only, as it’s really just empty calories with minimal nutritional benefit. At this age, some kids can become VERY picky.

Try to keep introducing new foods. Also, give him the choice of two foods to choose from, as this helps him feel in control (which toddlers want), and this does often help him eat the foods you choose for him.

It is truly amazing how much your child will learn in this year! Just think – you have a one-year birthday for a child who didn’t talk or walk much, and at 2 years of age, you now have this little person with an amazing personality talking to you every day.

Enjoy every minute. At times when your toddler is being a ‘toddler’, take a breath and remember how much everything she is doing is actually a learning process.

This is just a high level overview of the main topics of development from 12 months to 2 years of age. Be sure to have your child seen for a well-child checkup with your pediatrician at 12 months, 15 months, 18 months and 2 years of age. Also, call your pediatrician if you have any questions or concerns in between your visits.

For ‘Baby Milestones in the First Year of Life’, click here.

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Ali is a board certified pediatrician who practiced general pediatrics for five years in a busy private practice in Manhattan NY. She since has moved into the pharmaceutical industry and oversees and mentors many physicians globally. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and experiences as a pediatrician with other moms and dads. Ali’s outside interests include working out, acting, piano, guitar, dance and being a mom! Ali currently lives in NYC with her husband, 2 ½ year old daughter and 5 month old son.

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