Understanding Your Toddler’s Cognitive Milestones

A typical 12-month-old toddler will have already acquired lots of mental skills, or cognitive milestones. And between his 12th and 23rd months, he’ll be picking up more and more.

By the time your toddler turns one, he may have reached many early childhood development milestones, including:

  • Responding to his name
  • Understanding a handful of words
  • The ability to murmur a few of his own simple words, such as “mama” and “papa”
  • Pointing to objects
  • The ability to wave good-bye
  • An attempt to imitate animal sounds

You can keep your active toddler engaged in the world around him through certain types of play, such as reading picture books to reinforce names of objects and taking him to the zoo or park to experience something new. Engaging activities such as these will help him reach cognitive milestones throughout his second year.

Around this time, your toddler will probably also begin to be able to:

  • Realize that objects exist even when he can’t see them
  • Find things in pictures when asked
  • Follow easy directions
  • Demonstrate an understanding of colors and shapes
  • Show an increase in his memory skills

In order to strengthen these skills as your child grows, pick games that encourage him to use his memory, like a matching game, and be sure to schedule lots of playdates for him so he can work on his social skills as well.