1year

“Life’s super exciting for a one-year-old as they start saying their first words and taking those first steps.”

Because proud parents like to broadcast their children’s latest achievements far and wide, it can feel like some toddlers are mastering the violin, chatting in French and solving complex mathematical equations, while you’re quietly proud of animal impressions and tower building. But the truth is, all children develop at different speeds, and all that matters is that you celebrate every major milestone like mad. What could be more exciting than watching your little superstar take their first steps!

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What to expect

Here’s a list of things you might expect around the one-year-old mark:

  • Walking unaided – even it’s a bit wobbly!
  • Rising to standing without help from furniture or people
  • Pointing to objects of interest
  • Speaking two or three recognisable words
  • Deliberately dropping toys and looking for them.

What not to worry about – shyness with other kids

Some children are naturally introverted than others, especially around strangers, and they might need more encouragement in social situations. It’s the most normal thing in the world, but with a little preparation you can help them blossom.

Try instigating one-to-one play dates in your home, rather than joining large mother baby groups. You can help prepare your child for the playdate in advance, telling them who’s coming and what you’ll all play with.

How you can help your child at this age

  • Children of this age love stacking toys, building with bricks or putting things inside containers – it all helps develop those fine motor skills
  • Encourage your child to get creative with crayons, paints and play dough
  • Pretend to be different animals together – promoting imagination and creativity
  • Buy a baby pushchair or baby shopping trolley – waddling along pushing it will help them feel more confident about walking alone
  • Playing is one of the main ways children learn, and you can build their physical, social, emotional and intellectual skills with a mixture of great games.

How your baby’s growing

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Happy birthday, baby! Your first year is over and babyhood is behind you. Hold on for the toddler years… In the coming months, your little one will seek more independence, discover the world from an upright position, find his sense of humour, and best of all, learn to say he loves you. F

How your life’s changing

Though your baby is beginning to discover his independence, he probably still has bouts of separation anxiety. This is natural. To ease departures, allow plenty of time. Getting to the nursery early or asking your baby’s carer to be around well before you leave gives him a chance to adjust. It’s best to be matter-of-fact when you leave.

Don’t sneak away or prolong the agony with extended good-byes; make it quick, with just one kiss. If you listen outside, you’ll usually find that your baby’s tears subside soon after you’re out of sight. (If they don’t, you might want to review your childcare arrangements particularly if you have other worries about the carers.) It’s hard not to feel guilty, but you can help your child feel more independent by not hovering over him all the time.

As your child’s first year comes to a close, it can be a good time to think about yourself and your partner. Do you feel your relationship with your partner has been put under strain over the past year, or has it brought you closer together? Caring for a baby can wreak havoc on a relationship, especially during those intense early months. You may find yourselves bickering a lot or just not talking the way you used to. Don’t despair — remember that you all need time to adjust to being a family and your life as a family is just beginning. Now that your baby-turned-toddler is becoming less dependent on you, you can make a point of getting away to do adult things, just the two of you.

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