Toddler Milestones 12-17 Months

Your toddler is constantly developing and reacting to the world around him. With such quick development, every day is a new adventure. We outline some of the most exciting milestones so you know what to expect.

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Image Source/ Veer

Gets Attached to Lovey

A toddler's strong attachment to a well-loved stuffed animal or blanket--a lovey--offers her a comforting sense of security. (Bonus: Her beloved blanket can even help tame tantrums!)

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Milestones: Red Flags to Watch For at 12 to 18 Months

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Kathryn Gamble

Starts Showing Right- or Left-Hand Dominance

Set your child's spoon on the high-chair tray and watch--does he pick it up with the same hand each time? A 1-year-old might begin favoring one hand over the other.

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BananaStock/ Jupiter

Loves Playing Games

Even the simplest game of hide-and-seek might have your little guy squealing with delight. Playing games together is healthy for your toddler--and you!

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Holds Out Arms While Getting Dressed

As a child becomes more coordinated, getting her dressed in the morning gets easier. Ask her to hold her arms out while you're slipping her shirt on. Voila!

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Juice Images/Veer

Has Perfected 2 Words

Your little one likely will have perfected a couple of words by now--ball, bye, maybe even Mama or Dada. Keep talking with your tot and watch her vocabulary grow!

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Loves Her Reflection

Mirror, mirror on the wall--your toddler is the fairest of them all! A baby-safe mirror is a great toy for this age; she'll be delighted by her own reflection.

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Bends for an Object & Can Pick It Up

The next time your little one drops a toy, watch to see if he'll retrieve it. He might now be able to bend over and pick up objects without falling.

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BananaStock/Jupiter Images

Follows Simple Instructions

A young toddler's brain is preparing for a game of Simon Says. Play a simplified game with your tot and see if he can follow basic instructions.

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Kaysh Shinn

Eats with His Fingers

Utensils are tricky for small hands with underdeveloped coordination--yet your child is striving for independence and wants to feed himself. Eating with his fingers is a natural, healthy development for your toddler.

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Has Shorter Attention Span

Your active tot might be less occupied with his toys these days and more distracted while you read to him. It's not your imagination--his attention span is shorter.

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Fancy Photography/ Veer

Points at Objects

Your tot might point a chubby finger at what he wants--an effective new communication tool! (Ask him to show you his ears or nose and he might point them out, too.)

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Alexandra Grablewski

Stands Up from a Sitting Position

Your child might be a real stand-up kiddo these days! Set him in the middle of a room--can he get to his feet from a sitting position all by himself?

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Linda Farwell

Grabs Small Objects

By now your little one has likely perfected the pincer grasp--a terrific skill for picking up bits of finger food at mealtime between his thumb and forefinger.

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Kathryn Gamble


Those squiggly lines are so much more than just simple crayon marks. Scribbling is a super skill for your toddler to perfect (as long as it's not on his bedroom wall).

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BananaStock/ Jupiter

Chews Larger Pieces of Food

It's not quite time to ask your toddler how he likes his steak, but you might have noticed that he can now chew larger pieces of food during meals.

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Kathryn Gamble

Obeys Instructions

Part of growing up is knowing how to obey instructions--from parents, teachers, bosses, etc. Help your child practice with some fun directions as he learns this valuable skill.

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BananaStock / Jupiter

Loves Helping Mom

Sometimes toddlers make the best helpers! Your kiddo might be at a stage in which he enjoys sorting socks, putting toys in baskets, or picking up messes with you.

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Alexandra Grablewski

Starts Running

Time to pick up the pace, Mom and Dad! You'll be moving faster to chase after your little one now, as he begins toddling less and running more.

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BananaStock/ Jupiter

Cares About What He Eats

Toddlers are notorious for being tiny food snobs. You tot might have previously gobbled down a variety of foods and now demands only a few select dishes during mealtime.

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Fancy Photography/Veer

Climbs Over Everything

Has your kiddo been scaling everything in sight? You might feel as though you're raising a mountain goat rather than a toddler if your child is a natural climber!

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Enjoys Playing with Friends

Chances are your active child loves moving his large muscles. Take him and a friend to the park and watch them take off across the playground. That's great toddler fun!

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Kathryn Gamble

Understands What Pretend Means

These days your toddler understands pretending and enjoys this new type of play. He might also be clingy with you one minute and want his independence the next.

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Bryan McCay

Colors Well

Pudgy fingers can easily grip jumbo crayons now. Try giving your kiddo a large sheet of paper, and watch him as he creates his own masterpiece (and develops fine motor skills).

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Kathryn Gamble

Sorts Toys

Your tot recognizes more shapes, sizes, and colors now--it's the perfect time for her to play with sorting toys. This sharpens his reasoning and helps develop fine motor skills, too.

Copyright © 2009 Meredith Corporation.

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Milestones: Red Flags to Watch For

While young children can reach milestones at different ages, the CDC... more
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