Toddler Milestones 12-17 Months

Children reach dozens of new milestones during their second year, from walking, running, and jumping to speaking and learning how to play. Here's everything you need to know about your toddler's development.

young child walking
Photo: Getty
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Gets Attached to Lovey

Small boy sleeping with teddy bear

While not every toddler will have or use a "lovey," many young children will develop a strong attachment to a specific stuffed animal or blanket. Why? Because these objects offer a comforting sense of security. They can also help tame tantrums, a win-win for parents during this transitional age.

02 of 21

Starts Showing Right- or Left-Hand Dominance

toddler playing with ball

Set your child's spoon on their high-chair tray and watch: Do they pick it up with the same hand each time? Many children begin favoring one hand over the other at this age.

03 of 21

Loves Playing Games

baby playing hide and seek

Even the simplest game of hide-and-seek might have your little one squealing with delight. Children learn to love play at or around one year of age. Playing games together is also great for bonding. It is healthy for your toddler—and you!

04 of 21

Has Perfected 2 Words

child talking on cell phone

By baby's first birthday, they've probably perfected a couple of words—ball, bye, maybe even Mama or Dada. Keep talking with your tot and watch their vocabulary grow!

05 of 21

Loves Their Reflection

child looking in mirror kissing 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; they'll be delighted by their own reflection.

06 of 21

Bends for an Object and Can Pick It Up

toddler bending over and picking up blocks

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

07 of 21

Follows Simple Instructions

woman talking to child holding hands

Your child will learn to follow simple instructions between 12 and 18 months. Play a few games of Simon Says with your tot to strengthen their listening and reactive skills.

08 of 21

Eats with Their Fingers

baby reaches for apple with fingers

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

09 of 21

Has Shorter Attention Span

baby girl looking out snowy window

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

10 of 21

Points at Objects

baby standing in crib reaching for camera

Young children may not have all the words, but they do have gestures. Toddlers tend to point their fingers at what they want—as it is an effective communication tool! You can encourage this behavior by asking your tyke to show you their ears, nose, or other like objects.

11 of 21

Stands Up from a Sitting Position

Black mother watching toddler walk

Your child might be a real stand-up kiddo these days! Literally. Set them in the middle of a room and see what happens. Odds are they can get to their feet from a sitting position all by themself.

12 of 21

Grabs Small Objects

Toddler boy enjoys playing with toys in waiting room

By now your little one has likely perfected the pincer grasp—a terrific skill for picking up bits of finger food. Encourage this behavior by asking your little one to pick up blocks, toys, and other objects around the house.

13 of 21


toddler scribbles

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 their bedroom wall).

14 of 21

Chews Larger Pieces of Food

toddler eating food

While it's not quite time to ask your toddler how they like their steak, you might have noticed that they can now chew larger pieces of food, opening up their palate to a wider array of options.

15 of 21

Obeys Instructions

toddler points finger at something

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

16 of 21

Loves Helping

little girl folding laundry

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

17 of 21

Starts Running

toddler running through grass

Time to pick up the pace! You'll be moving faster to chase after your little one now, as they begin toddling less and running more. (But don't worry if your toddler isn't running just yet—some take more time to get their feet under them!)

18 of 21

Cares About What They Eat

toddler refusing to eat food

Toddlers are notorious food snobs. You tot might have previously gobbled down a variety of foods and now demands only a few select dishes during mealtime. Be calm, patient, and know this behavior is normal.

19 of 21

Climbs Over Everything

young girl climbing playground equipment

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!

20 of 21

Enjoys Playing Around Friends

two toddlers playing together

Toddlers at this age may play in the company of other children, a stage called "parallel play." They're near other friends and they may be doing the same activity, but they're rarely engaging with each other in terms of taking turns or sharing.

21 of 21

Sorts Toys

toddler sorting toy blocks

When your tot begins to recognize more shapes, sizes, and colors, it's time to play with sorting toys. They sharpen their reasoning and help develop fine motor skills.

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