As you watch your best friend's toddler running around the house and pulling all the books off the bookshelf, you may wonder when your little crawler will follow suit. All children develop at different rates, so it's not necessarily worrisome if it seems like your child is ahead of or behind the rest of the children you know. The Centers for Disease control have compiled a list of basic milestones that most -- but not all -- children meet by their first birthday. If your child hasn't met a particular milestone and you are concerned, be sure to bring it up to your pediatrician.
A 1-year-old child should be able to sit up without assistance and pull himself into a sitting position so that he can look at the world around him. He might also be able to pull himself up using a chair or couch and cruise along toward your expensive vase on the end table. If he's further ahead in physical development, he'll skip cruising along the furniture and toddle over to your china cabinet in the corner, seeing what he can help himself to. Just in case you had any doubts, now you know it's definitely time to childproof the house.
Cognitive abilities focus on your child's ability to think, learn and solve problems. He should explore items he encounters by shaking or feeling them. He might also give you a headache as he bangs two things together, like a metal spoon against a pot while you trip over him in your attempt to make dinner. A 1-year-old should also be able to point to things and complete simple instructions such as "pick up your toy" or "give me your cup."
While your child might not be able to communicate with you in proper sentences, you shouldn't need to play guessing games to figure out what he wants. He should start to mimic the words that you say and be able to say a few basic words such as "mama" or "dada." Expect him to use hand gestures, like waving goodbye to Daddy as he heads off to work for the day or hello to Grandma when she comes to visit.
Emotional and Social Skills
Social skills are also important for development. Even if your child doesn't interact with other children through daycare or other activities, he should still have some basic concepts from interacting with adults. It is normal for him to get upset when Mommy and Daddy head out for date night or when strangers walk up to him and tell you how cute he is in his little overalls. He'll also interact with you directly by participating in basic games such as peekaboo or patty-cake.