What a 1 year old should be able to do: 5 important skills and abilities

During the first year of life, the child is rapidly acquiring a host of new skills and improving higher mental functions. This is a highly sensitive and startling period. Parents trace amazing transformations as an infant transforms before their eyes into a curious, active child. By the age of one, important mental formations are formed, as well as primary socialization within the family.

A pillow for a toddler 1 year old

The age to one year is considered a lot of psychological concepts on which to build approaches to understanding human personality from its inception to extinction. Here are a few well-known concepts, differing in their view of the age periodization and the goals of age groups:

  1. Psychoanalytic theory.Sigmund Freud founded the age periodization of personality formation, which is based on psychosexual development. So, a child under the age of one goes through the oral stage. Getting pleasure and new experiences, learning about the world happens through the mouth: the baby tastes objects to become more familiar with them.

  2. The humanistic theory.Abraham Maslow saw the goal of development as personal comfort and the satisfaction of needs. In the first year, the child has a small spectrum of needs: physiological (eating, sleeping, etc.), psychological and physical.d.), safety (protection from the outside world by significant adults) and love (attention, care and expression of affection from parents).

  3. Cognitive theory.A prominent representative of the theory, Jean Piaget, viewed a child’s maturation in terms of acquiring new knowledge and improving cognitive (thinking) functions. During the first year, the child undergoes sensorimotor development: through tactile contact with objects, manipulation with them, and perception of them through the visual analyzer, visual thinking develops.

  4. Behaviorism.Representatives of the current view behavior as an analytic unit of development. In particular, the cause-and-effect relations of behavioral acts are explored. So, D. Watson and B. Skinner believe that before one year of age, the child is dominated by instinctive behaviors and imitation (assimilation of social norms, norms of behavior by looking at parents).

Each theory is true, but they reflect a one-sided view of a child’s maturation. In the following, we will look at the developmental norms up to the age of one year from the perspective of different aspects.

Important skills and abilities a child develops by the age of 1 year

The diversity of acquisitions of the age period requires a detailed analysis with a division into groups. The important skills, abilities and mental functions that form in the first year of life are divided into different developmental areas for the baby.

Communicative skills

We are not talking about speech development, but about the emotional component of a child’s communicative processes. This is no accident, as the leading activity of the child under one year of age is emotional communication. As a result of one style or another of parent-child interaction, the child develops different ideas about the world around him:

  1. Basic trust in the world(confidence in him, openness, ease of interaction with others) is formed as a result of the care, support and love of the mother. If the mother emotionally rejects the infant, the infant develops distrust in the world. An adult toddler with negative attitudes has difficulty adapting in society and has trouble building relationships with people.

  2. The formation of basic mental skills(operative interaction with objects, the formation of speech, thinking, memory, intelligence, etc.d.). Research by S.s. Savenysheva and V.f. Chizhov’s research proves that mothers’ emotional and verbal sensitivity to their children is directly related to active speech development, intelligence quotient, and the formation of important skills.

This aspect depends directly on the child’s parenting style, so it is important for parents to choose it responsibly. The child’s qualitative mastery of the primary skills of communicating with the world depends on this decision.


By one year of age, the baby is already perceiving the speech of others in terms of content and emotional coloring. Specialists believe that by the age of one year a child normally has a vocabulary of at least 10 words. These include animal imitation sounds (woof-woof, meow-meow, etc.).d.), babbling words (e.g. “zya” – can’t, caca, yum, etc.d.), mom, dad, and others. If after one year, the child addresses adults not through speech, but through tactile contact and mooing, this is a reason to intensively engage in the child’s speech development. What can help:

  1. Finger games.Speech development is directly related to fine motor skills – a child’s ability to make subtle and precise hand movements. Research M.m. Koltsova, published in her book, “The Child Learns to Speak,” testifies to the existence of a significant connection between the fingers of the hand and the cerebral cortex of the large hemispheres of the brain. Manipulation with objects stimulates the development of motor muscle functions, which in turn contributes to the development of sensory and motor aspects of speech.

  2. Massage. Stimulating speech therapy massage of the feet and ears helps make the movements more precise and confident, which also stimulates speech skills. Specialist research project proves that massage stimulates different areas of child development – motor, speech and cognitive.

  3. Case study demonstration.By imitating, a baby learns a lot of age-related skills. By the example of adults, he/she takes action with the objects, starts to walk, etc.d. In order to stimulate the speech development, it is necessary to constantly demonstrate an appropriate example. As you walk, comment on everything you see and bring it to your baby’s attention. Read them brightly colored picture books and comment on them.

It is important to keep in mind that each child is individual and may not fit into general standards. But it is the parents’ duty to monitor their children’s well-being and be alert to warning signs.



By the end of the first year, there is a real breakthrough in the baby’s emotional development. If before, the child demonstrated a lack of attention, a desire to socialize or eat by crying, by the end of the year, his emotional repertoire is added:

  1. Mimic reactions (wrinkles, grimaces),

  2. Smiles (as a reflection of pleasure, comfort, good humor),

  3. Sounds (harsh, loud shouts to get attention, laughter).

By the age of one, children begin to differentiate between people around them and can tell the difference between mom and grandma, for example. Also a new emotional skill for the child is the manifestation of love for parents. Children start hugging them, kissing them to express tender feelings. Manifestation of feelings also concerns favorite toys, other children and other adults. What other emotional changes appear by one year of age?

  1. Expanding range of emotions.Joy, elation, sadness, anger, etc., appear.d. It is worth noting that the baby finds it difficult to cope with new feelings and may get lost in them. This is demonstrated by rapid mood changes, concern.

  2. The baby adopts the behavioral acts of adults.He or she imitates talking on the phone, cleaning the house, reading books, and other actions regularly done by adults. This is how he or she begins to socialize and try to become more like an adult.

  3. The child begins to understand simple requests(bring a toy, throw a piece of paper in the trash, hand over a specific item, etc.).d.). He is able to act with objects that he knows what they look like and where they are.

  4. By the age of one year, the infantIs responsive to musical motifsand begin to dance for the first time. If adults show an example of dance moves, the baby quickly adopts and copies them.

  5. The baby reacts differently to his reflection in the mirror: now he is aware that it is his reflection. He likes to pose in front of the mirror and look at himself, so he becomes an object of interest to himself.

  6. The child reacts to his name. He begins to understand that he is being addressed using a certain word. He also remembers the names of the people closest to him, with whom he often has contact. If you ask him to approach a close relative by saying his name, he will do it.

Motor skills

Here’s a look at the child’s large and fine motor skills. According to developmental standards, by the age of one, the infant is already doing the first steps by itself. Independent steps are possible with a little support from an adult (by one hand). Is able to stand easily without assistance, and can sit down and stand up independently from a sitting position. The child is capable of climbing onto a sofa or a chair and getting off from it as well.

After one year, the child’s main activity is object-oriented. He cognizes the world through objects, manipulation with them allows him to develop mentally and physically. This is why it is so important to acquire a sufficient set of psychomotor functions by one year of age. What the child is already able to do normally:

  1. Grasp small objects with two fingers(with the thumb and forefinger). Even if he can’t do it yet, he tries to grasp the object not with the palm of his hand but with two fingers. At this stage, it is important to encourage parents in independent activities. It has been noted that children in African tribes develop motor skills faster than children in European countries. This is due to the high need in tribes for the child to soon gain autonomy from the parent and join the household. Excessive tutelage and suppression of the initiative to be independent leads to a delay of psychomotor development.

  2. Tries to put the object into the object.One year old children really enjoy putting toys in boxes, pots and wherever. This urge can be used to develop thinking and memory. Sorter toys with large slots and simple shapes (squares, triangles, circles) help to improve motor functions and initiate imaginative thinking.

  3. He puts the pyramids together, puts the object on top of the object.By a year, a baby can already put a ring on the center of a pyramid and place one cube on top of another. Get your baby a colorful pyramid and picture books. So you can not only improve motor functions, but also begin to learn colors, shapes, objects.

  4. Experiments with objects.Your baby already understands that cars drive, people walk, fruit needs to be eaten, etc.d. With toys, he simulates different situations and tests their capabilities. So let him act with objects on his own, this is how he learns the world


According to Piaget’s theory, a baby’s mental development is based on tactile information received from interaction with the world and through adult experience. Sensomotor development occurs in 6 stages, 4 of which are in the first year of life. In brief, the transformation of thinking in the first year of life is as follows:

  1. The child exercises the basic skills needed to meet needs. Cries when feeling uncomfortable, hungry. Grasps an object which arouses interest.

  2. As the child gets older, new environments emerge. To learn to exist in it, the child transforms old ways of responding. For example, when beginning complementary feeding, the baby adapts the sucking reflex to the new way of eating.

  3. The child is aware of the actions that bring him pleasure and tries to repeat them. Also, the first fears of people, objects and things that cause unpleasant feelings arise.

By one year of age, all of these skills are transformed and improved. A new skill also emerges – anticipating events. The first trace connections appear. For example, at the sight of a vial of medicine or a syringe, the child begins to cry, as he knows that unpleasant feelings will follow.


Watching a child’s development is an amazing process. Parents want the best for their children with all their hearts, and that is why they are so sensitive to tracking developmental norms. If your child hasn’t learned to walk on his own by a year or doesn’t speak enough words, that’s nothing to worry about. Give the baby time, give him a little more attention. The love and support of his parents will help him catch up, and most importantly, will allow him to feel happy and safe.

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