Health Library
12 Month Well-Child Visit

Healthy Child Development and Behavior

Below are milestones most children will reach between now and 15 months of age. Talk with your doctor at your child’s next well-visit if your child is not yet reaching these milestones or there are skills your child no longer shows each day.

Social and Emotional Milestones

  • Copies other children while playing, like taking toys out of a container after seeing another child do it
  • Shows you an object they like
  • Claps when excited
  • Hugs stuffed doll or other toy
  • Shows you affection (hugs, cuddles or kisses you)

Language and Communication Milestones

  • Tries to say one or two words (besides “mama” or “dada”) like “ball” or “dog”
  • Looks at a familiar object when you name it
  • Follows directions given with both a gesture and words (for example, gives you a toy when you hold out your hand and say, “give me the toy.”)
  • Points to ask for something or to get help

Thinking and Learning Milestones

  • Tries to use things the right way, like a phone, cup or book
  • Stacks at least two small objects, like blocks

Physical Development Milestones

  • Takes a few steps on their own
  • Uses fingers to feed themselves

Healthy Ways to Help Your Child Learn and Grow


  • Teach your child to talk by using simple words and phrases. Repeat what your baby tries to say and add to it. If they say “ba,” you say “yes, a ball.” Read books together and use simple words to talk about the pictures.
  • When your baby points to ask for something, say the word of the item to help build language skills.
  • Offer your baby pots and pans to play with or a small musical instrument, like a drum, to encourage your baby to make noise.
  • Read books, sing songs and play with your child often.


  • Use positive words and praise when your child does what you ask them to do.
  • When your child is doing something you don’t want them to, redirect them quickly and consistently by offering a toy or moving them away. Try to use “no” only for behaviors that are unsafe. When you say “no,” say it firmly. Do not spank, yell or give long explanations.


  • Give water and 16–24 ounces of whole milk each day. Avoid sugary drinks like juice.
  • Offer your child healthy foods. Provide three meals and two to three healthy snacks each day. Let your child decide how much to eat. It is common for young toddlers to have small portions or only take a few bites of a food. Offer small amounts of a few different foods.
  • Avoid hard or round foods that can cause choking, such as popcorn, hot dogs, grapes, nuts and hard, raw vegetables.
  • Use a small plate and cup, and encourage your child to feed themselves.


  • Your child may sleep up to 14 hours over a 24-hour period, including one to two naps during the day.
  • Have a consistent routine for bed (bathing, brushing teeth, books, bedtime). The hour before bedtime should be calm. Avoid giving your child a bottle or cup in bed.
  • If your child wakes during the night, avoid giving enjoyable attention. Use words to reassure them and give a blanket or toy to hold for comfort.


  • Schedule your child’s first dental visit. Brush your child’s teeth twice each day. Use a small amount of fluoride toothpaste, no more than a grain of rice.

Digital Media Use

  • Avoid screen time, including TVs, smartphones and tablets. Children learn best by playing and interacting with others.

Water Safety

  • Drowning is silent and can happen quickly. Do NOT leave your child alone near any water (including buckets, bathtubs, toilets, pools, ponds, whirlpools). Install a four-foot-tall fence with a self-closing and self-latching gate around home pools. Learn more about water safety.

Vehicle Safety

Home Safety

  • Use electrical outlet covers and keep hot, sharp and breakable items out of reach.
  • Lock up medicines and cleaning supplies. Save the Poison Help Line number (1-800-222-1222) in all phones.
  • Block stairs with a small gate. Keep furniture away from windows and install window guards.
  • Keep cords, latex balloons, plastic bags and small objects like coins, marbles and batteries away from your child.
  • Toddlers love to explore. Learn more ways to keep them safe at home.

Last Updated 06/2023

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