The Average One-Year-Old Behavior

By Cindi Pearce

Your 1-year-old baby may very well be ambulatory, walking all over the place and trying to get into every nook and cranny. Some babies start walking very early (about 9 months), while others opt to take their good old time and not get walking down pat until they're 14 months old. Year-old babies may be shy and exhibit some stranger anxiety, meaning they don't want to go to anyone other than their parents, caregiver or close relatives. Your 12-month-old baby may be able to say mommy and daddy, or a version thereof, and can say a few other words, such as "bye." He can follow simple instructions, particularly if you show him the accompanying action, such as waving goodbye.

Starting to Understand and Responding Appropriately

One-year-olds are beginning to understand what you are saying and they respond appropriately. If you ask your child where his toes are, he may point to his toes. This is the time to introduce him to manners, so tell him when to say please and thank you.

Little Imps!

Most babies this age get a real kick out of throwing things or knocking things over. Babies this age like to drop things deliberately because they like to see where they have fallen. They also like to put objects into other objects. Give your baby a bunch of pots and pans and he'll figure out the smaller ones go into the bigger containers. He'll also enjoy making a lot of noise when he is playing. Year-old babies like to socialize but may have frequent moods swings, going from lovable to grouchy in a split second. Your baby will show a preference of one hand over the other. He will point his fingers at something that interests him, and is able to turn several pages of a book at once.

Not Quite Walking

If you child isn't yet walking, he probably is able to stand alone for a few minutes and he can crawl. He can get into a sitting position from lying down, and he can stand up without holding on to you or furniture.


Children this age may resist taking naps. Try to keep your baby on a routine so he will cooperate and take regular naps. This way, both of you can get some rest. Tell him a story, massage him, and try to get him to relax.

Separation Anxiety

It is typical for your baby is showing signs of separation anxiety. He will be upset when you leave because he is attached to you. In time, he will start being more independent and not as needy. Allow him to explore within reason to begin establishing some independence.

Talking to Your Child

Talking to your child helps him develop cognitively. Tell him what you are doing. Point to a spoon and tell him to hand it to you. This is how he learns the names of objects and how to follow commands. When you start "labeling" objects --- say things like, "This is a hat," or, "This is a dog" --- your baby's vocabulary increases.


Year-old babies should sleep, ideally, about 15 hours a day. But most only sleep 12 hours, according to As your child gets older and heads toward the 1 1/2-year-old mark, he will probably give up a nap and take only one a day.