The One-Year -Old

Right now, I have the great and distinct privilege of closely watching some one to eighteen -month old children grow and develop and change.  I love watching what interests them! 

Have you ever noticed that the one-year old likes to:

  • Eat and drop things over the edge of their chair, feed the dog, and drop the food down their shirt or put it in their hair.
  • Move furniture around
  • Take things in and out of something or open and shut something.
  • Shriek loudly.
  • Wiggle out of your arms and move!
  • Watch what you are doing and imitate the motion of it
  • Use different objects to imitate the gesture of  things (ie,  use a kitchen spatula or a spoon for the gesture of  combing their hair)
  • Be outside to feel the grass, the dirt, the leaves…..and to try to eat it all
  • Be sung to and have fingerplays and rhymes bouncing on your knee
  • Laugh
  • Play peek-a-boo
  • Be held and kissed
  • Catch your eye when they are doing something and smile
  • Empty out a bookshelf or drawer of kitchen supplies
  • Roll a ball back and forth with someone
  • Give you things and take them back
  • Wave bye-bye
  • Make piles of mulch or leaves
  • Ride in a sling
  • Pull the cords out of things – look carefully around your house!
  • Go for walks
  • Talk! Coo! Communicate!

Have you ever noticed that a one to eighteen month old:

  • Is more likely to have erratic napping?
  • May wake up during the night due to teething or other developmental milestones?
  • May have an increase in appetite for solid foods  (or may not!)
  • Will still nurse a lot!
  • Can often have cold hands and feet – keep checking their levels of warmth

Just a few thoughts and observations.

Many blessings,


15 thoughts on “The One-Year -Old

  1. Thanks Carrie! Have a 15 month old and am absolutely loving this stage. All the things you mentioned above are so much fun to watch/participate in. Do you have any advice on the frustration/temper development of a 1 year old? Seems like we have frequent melt downs – wailing on the floor, hitting, biting, etc. when something is taken away or when we move her away from something she wants. We’ve just been gently letting her “express herself” and trying to make sure that she doesn’t hurt herself or anyone/anything else but is there something else we should be doing? Even though this is our second little one, maybe we should go back to the Giselle book on 1 year olds?

    • Hi MCarring,
      Yes, one year olds need to be physically scooped up,moved away, distracted by something else and use your gentle voice for singing and verses…The physical piece of using your gentle hands is important for such a small baby, and I think keeping overstimulation to a minimum. THis is where a sling often works beautifully to calm things down. 🙂
      Many blessings, how fun that you get to have a second little one!
      PS I re-read the Gesell Institute books all the time! They are worth the read!

  2. Carrie, I have a 16 month old and everything you say is spot on for him. But for us I would add one more things – obsessive climber! His determination to scale the heights of the household is quite terrifying!
    I also found that he hit a major frustration time and my sweet babe was turning into a very cross toddler. I meditated on this and realised that he was not spending enough time outdoors. As we are coming into the warmer seasons in our part of the world I have been able to rectify this situation and he is now outdoors for a large part of every day, and so very much happier in himself. Thanks for all your wonderful tips.

    • Vicky,
      Oh yes, the climbing! I meant to add that in, thank you for doing it for me…and outside time is so important.
      Many blessings,

  3. Oh, I think you must have been observing MY one-year-old! 🙂 I love this stage so much, it is just so sweet. And it’s amazing to me how much second is going through all the same stages and playing the same games as my first did at this age. They just know what they need to learn, don’t they? 🙂

  4. This is my almost 18 month old too! She does all of those things and it is SO much fun to be with her. I find it so funny that she can get so angry about something unsafe that I won’t let her do, and she’ll run away from me crying and flailing, but then two seconds later she’s walking toward me with her arms reaching out for me for comfort. Awww…

    She’s also potty-training herself and I totally wasn’t prepared for that yet! We haven’t pushed her or tried to get her to use the bathroom, but she wants to and has actually been going many times during the day. Crazy, huh?

  5. This choked me up a little. I have a 15 month old and I’m loving this age. She does everything on this list. What a reminder that age ONE is so spectacular with so much to call it’s own, and so fleeting.

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  7. Hello,

    I am a newcomer to your site and so I would first like to thank you for making your valuable reflections available. I am a new mom living abroad in a country where Waldorf education is nearly unheard of and gentle, hands-on parenting is far from the norm, if not outright discouraged so, while I have been doing my best to follow my heart, I am often at a loss as to how to proceed and do not have many people to lean on.

    My dear daughter is now approaching 11 months and while she seems to be a very lively, happy baby, naptimes and bedtimes are difficult. She sleeps the bare minimum (10-11 hrs at night, 2 one-hour naps) and can’t get to sleep unless I rock and nurse her for a good 30 min. and even then it’s a struggle. We have set nap/bedtimes that we strive to respect and a set rhythm (well, we are working on one), but it doesn’t seem to make a difference. What am I doing wrong?

    With my sincere thanks again,

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  9. McKinley,
    I do not think you are doing anything wrong. The way she behaves I think is normal, maybe a another hour of sleep or so during the night and during the day, but that’s it. Keep up with the rhythm that you are doing, it will take at least two weeks until and she is used to it and bedtime will be getting much easier.
    I would probably try to wean her off the rocking and nursing to sleep as well, you could start with stopping to rock her to sleep and just keep on nursing her in the beginning for about a week. After that try nursing her before you put her to sleep and make sure she is still awake but drowsy when you put her into her bed. It might be difficult at first and she might cry a little, comfort her and than put her back to bed, but still slightly awake. I did this with my son as well and it took about 3 to 4 days for him to fall asleep in his bed. It might take longer for your little one, but if you are consistent, it is so well worth the effort!
    Everybody will sleep much better.

  10. Can you please offer advice to me.

    I hear that it is best when all technology is limited around babies and children. I never have the TV on, we do listen to music … I am on my laptop sometimes while my son is crawling around exploring and playing. Sometimes I’m reading on it or online shopping … my son comes up and wants to tap the key board. He also does this with his grandpa – my dad- who LOVES it because he thinks its a bonding moment while he works …

    If my son is so into the keyboard, mainly b/c he wants to imitate what he sees us do, can I give him an old laptop that does not work? Just to let him tap the key board????

    • RE-
      Again, this is coming from a Waldorf perspective, but many ten month olds would enjoy a game of peek a boo or other playing game, singing, fingerplays and little rhymes, going outside — just as much. In Waldor parenting and education, we talk about de-mechanizing the home so the child sees real work. Yes, children want to imitate and technology is around. Only you will be able to decide the boundaries of technology for your child. Many mothers try to work on their computers less when their child is around, especially as their child grows into toddlerhood because a toddler will run off and explore and get into things whilst you are checked out on technology. Many mothers have a rhythm for their own use of technology. There are several back posts that talk about this.

      You may need to decide what resonates with you about this and what doesn’t.

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