Happy Birthday Charlie, You Are One Year Old!
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Published on August 01, 2022

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Happy Birthday Charlie, You Are One Year Old!

Image of a one year old and her mom

What's It Like Being One Year Old?

  • I like to imitate adults – like rolling balls back and forth.
  • I am trying to gain independence and help with tasks.
  • I like being independent, but I can be anxious around new people.
  • I like listening to stories.
  • I can understand words and ideas and am starting to say a few little words – especially as I get closer to my second birthday. Some of the letters I am better at sounding are B, H, M, N, P and W.
  • I like trying new things.
  • I have already learned to scoot and crawl. Now I am learning to walk. My gait may be wide but soon I will be less clumsy.
  • I recognize what is mine and sometimes I don’t like to share.
  • As I get closer to my second birthday, I will start enjoying pretend play.

Raising Your One-Year-Old: Developmental Milestones & Toddler Tips

Picture it: The day has finally arrived! You have the balloons out by the end of the driveway with a big 1 on them. Your eyes carry you through pinwheels, teddy bears and yard signs as they line your walkway to the backyard. Guests have arrived with their children, and grandma and grandpa have their favorite one-year-old in their arms. The trees in the backyard provide great shade and the cool breeze this afternoon makes for a great celebration!

As parents, you step back for a moment to contemplate the scene and wonder how you ever got to this point. Why, it only seemed like yesterday that this bundle of joy was so dependent on you for all the feedings, diaper changes and soothing to sleep.

Development of Gross Motor Skills

One of the biggest accomplishments for a one-year-old is learning how to walk. The energy put into this accomplishment builds for a long time. Gross motor development in a child is very predictable.

You have been watching as Charlie develops these skills over the past year. Starting at around 4 months old, he began to hold his head steady – developing neck and upper back strength. Around 6 months old, he began building core strength as he learned to sit up on his own. Around 9 months, he developed stronger pelvic muscles, as he started crawling. Not long after, he was pulling up on the furniture – eventually letting go and taking those infamous first few steps. Now, as he celebrates his first birthday, he is excited to start taking a few more independent steps – improving as the year goes on. He will probably even be running by his next birthday! This time of growth and development has been an exciting time – both for you and Charlie. Your friends and family must learn of this milestone, and you post it on Tik Tok, Instagram and Facebook.

What is interesting about the development of this independence is that young toddlers often quickly learn that they can conquer everything. So be sure as a parent/guardian to go through your house and make sure it is child-proof! You can get a good checklist at American Academy of Pediatrics Home Safety Checklist .

Refining Fine Motor skills

Along with gross motor development, Charlie’s hands and fingers have become better at handling objects, including the spoon and fork. His pincer grasp, with his thumb and index finger, is now fully developed. Picking up Cheerios is now an easy task. So, now is a great time to start letting him practice with a spoon and fork. Sometimes your springer spaniel, Murphy, gets some extra treats when Charlie is in his highchair. This is all just a part of the learning process.

His dexterity has also developed so that he turns pages in a book with care, gradually moving away from that stage where he used to try and eat the book.

Speech Development

Charlie’s speech development is just starting to take off, too. He has been listening (receptive language) a fair amount, and you get the impression he can understand some of what you are saying. However, expressive language always lags receptive language, and at this stage in his life he has about two to three words in his vocabulary that you can understand. His frustrations are frequent as you play guessing games with what he wants, and this will continue for the next year. What is interesting is that his older siblings seem to understand him better than you do, and they frequently speak for him.

Problem Solving and Social Development

As Charlie hits this first-year milestone, his curiosity continues to push him to explore his surroundings. He is learning the concept of space and how objects can go into boxes, and that he can then take them out. Object permanency is also taking place so you can hide objects from him, and he can search for them. He is also learning to scribble on paper as he holds a crayon with an immature grasp (using all five fingers).

Socially, Charlie is still exhibiting some anxiety around strangers. This initially sprung up around the six- to nine-month mark. But if friends and family members can gain his confidence, he loves playing and interacting with them – sharing toys, throwing a ball across the room and passing items back and forth. He is also participating more as you get him dressed in the morning, as he offers you his arms and legs while you try to put on his shirt and pants.

One of the challenges you are noticing with Charlie is the combination of “stranger anxiety” with a need for independence. He wants to do things on his own, in their own way. As parents, if you can recognize the difference between these two things – the anxiety of being around unknown people and the need to be independent – you can then adopt the role of a “helper” by allowing Charlie to try new things on his own, while also staying close and being a comfort when he starts to feel anxious, particularly around new people. Remember: The more you do things for him, the more dissatisfied he will become, and the more likely you are to see some of his frustration. Then, the temper tantrums will start and sometimes it is hard to get out of that cycle.

A tip of advice: Give Charlie space to do things his way, and be encouraging and supportive. A good effort on his part should be celebrated. Positivity begets positivity and creates the beginnings of a life-long trusting foundation of parental support for the child’s independence and endeavors.

So, for now, it is time to celebrate this magical moment of turning one year old. I like chocolate cake, how about you?

References

  1. Ages & Stages Questionnaire
  2. AAP Pediatric Patient Education, Home Safety Checklist
  3. Touchpoints, The Essential Reference, by T. Berry Brazelton, M.D. Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1992.

About the Author

Dr. John Spitzer is a pediatrician at Bronson Primary Care Partners in Texas Corners. He is accepting new patients now.

“I am thankful every day to be a pediatrician. I enjoy being able to work with kids. They are honest, sometimes silly, and always bring pure sweetness. They are deserving of the best care and compassion that I can provide.”

Discover His Care Philosophy