Toddler Development - What to expect from 12 months on

By the time one year rolls around, you officially have a toddler on your hands (aged 1 to 3 years). Your toddler’s development will be coming along in leaps and bounds. They’ll probably be crawling well, curious, eating finger foods and generally bringing a whole lot of fun to your world.

You have a whole host of fun times to look forward too, including your little one learning to walk, speak and watching that personality flourish.

Every toddler is different, yours may already be walking, or they might still seem a long way off - this is all absolutely normal. Your toddler has their own timeline, so don’t be too concerned if they develop at a different rate from the one described here.

Here’s a rundown of what you can expect:

  • Babbling: You might notice your toddler babbling away, imitating adult sentence structures and facial expressions. That’s a sure sign they’re getting ready to start talking!
  • First words: Around a year (sometimes a little earlier, sometimes a little later) your toddler will produce their first recognizable word. From there they’ll just get more and more chatty, by about 18 months they’ll probably be talking to you quite a bit.
  • Getting about: Your toddler will be crawling and may be pretty mobile at 12 months. Before they learn to walk your toddler will probably learn to stand by supporting themselves on various pieces of furniture. Once your toddler can support themselves on furniture, they might cruise from one piece of furniture to another. Eventually they’ll be able to stand on their own, without support from you or the furniture. Once they’ve conquered standing, it’s a matter of waiting for those first baby steps forward. Be patient, it might take a while and eventually you’ll see that tiny person take a slow, shaky step towards you. That’s a moment you’ll never forget! It can take a bit longer to get the hang of walking steadily by themselves, and most toddlers are walking by around 18 months of age.
  • The world of play: Expect a whole lot of fun times. Active play and fantasy play are great for developing your little one’s mind, muscles and coordination.
  • Self-feeding: Your toddler will get pretty good at manning their own spoon, eating with their hands and drinking from a cup.
  • Co-ordination: Learning to jump, climb and get into mischief. Your toddler’s co-ordination skills will be getting better all the time.
  • Using the bathroom: You might see signs that little one is ready to start toilet training as they get closer to 2 years of age, but all toddlers are ready at different times.
  • Sleeping: All toddlers have different sleeping patterns, but at this stage they should be having 11-14 hours of good quality sleep every day, including one or two sleeps during the day, usually as an afternoon nap.
  • Safety: Now you really have your hands full! Your toddler is mobile, curious and full of beans. You will need to keep them safe and away from dangerous situations. This means keeping doors shut, putting equipment away, using safety gates and safety locks (child resistant catches) and always having someone around to watch them. 

Kitchen safety: Keep your toddler away from the food preparation and cooking area. Use the back elements on the stove top and turn pot handles to the back, so tiny hands can’t reach them. Keep electric kettle cords at the back of the bench and make sure knives and household cleaners are out of sight and reach.

Dining room safety: Keep hot drinks out of reach and avoid hanging tablecloths so your toddler can’t pull the contents onto themselves. Use a high chair with a 5-point harness and place in a safe spot. Always actively supervise your toddler when in their highchair and eating.


The materials published on this website are of a general nature and have been provided for informational purposes only. Always consult your medical practitioner or a qualified health provider for any further advice in relation to the topics discussed.

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