Major motor skills

DevelopmentBy 12 months, a baby should be able to rise to a sitting position from lying and pull themselves to standing, as well as be able to lower themselves. Crawling should be well developed and they should be able to walk with hand(s) held. Occasionally a child of this age may be walking unaided, but this is not typically mastered until about 14 months.

Fine motor skills

A 12 month old can typically hold a spoon but cannot use it alone; can drink from a cup with help; and can cooperate with dressing by holding out limbs.


Children often wave goodbye, respond to simple instructions, babble about 2 or 3 words, and understand several words.

Vision and hearing

Children should demonstrate rapid localisation of quiet meaningful sounds and begin to demonstrate everyday visual competence for near and far.

Social achievements and play

Children readily explore and manipulate toys, and often cast objects to the floor repeatedly. If a toy is hidden under a cup or cushion while the child is watching, they should retrieve it. They should know and turn to their own name, as well as comprehend simple commands such as “give me” or “say bye bye”. Often they can clap their hands and give cuddles. Caregivers will often report that they are dependent on familiar adults and demonstrate affection.

When to be concerned

If a child does not respond to their name, it may indicate problems with hearing, or be an early indicator for developmental problems. Tell your doctor if a 12-month-old child is not:

  • Moving around by some means;
  • Pulling themseves up to stand;
  • Laughing/smiling;
  • Trying to attract the attention of caregivers;
  • Copying simple sounds; or
  • Showing an attachment to parents.

More information

Developmental milestones in childhood For more information on developmental milestones in childhood, including recommended health check-ups and childhood immunisation, see Developmental Milestones.


  1. Sheridan M. Birth to Five Years: Children’s Developmental Progress (2nd edition). Australian Council for Educational Research; 1997.
  2. Parenting and Child Health: Children, Youth and Women’s Health Service. Child development: 0-3 months [online]. Adelaide: Government of South Australia. 11 September 2008 [cited 31 October 2008]. Available from URL: HealthTopics/ HealthTopicDetails.aspx? p=114&np=122&id=1963
  3. Slater A, Hocking I, Loose J. Theories and issues in child development. In: Slater A, Bremner G [eds]. An Introduction to Developmental Psychology. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing; 2003, 34-63.