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Tips on Encouraging Your Baby to Reach His One-Year Milestones

Although every child's development is unique, at the end of his first year, your child should reach milestones in areas that include gross motor, fine motor, emotional, social and cognitive skills. If you're worried that he won't meet these marks, encouraging your baby through activities, games and cheerleader-like support can help.

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Movement Milestones

By 12 months, most babies can stand or even walk according to the American Academy of Pediatrics' HealthyChildren.org. If your baby isn't doing either, hold his hands as he tries to toddle. You can also place a toy out of his reach and let him move to get to it. The child's hands should be able to pick up and let go of objects by now. Some blocks or a crayon to play with can help give him a little grip.

Social and Emotional Development

Even though she may suddenly seem shy, a baby nearing one is growing more social. She will imitate other people and may seem to enjoy "talking" to or playing with you. You can enhance that through interaction. Sit on the floor and pass a soft ball back and forth to her, and say encouraging words while you do. You can also carry on conversations with her as you go about your daily tasks.

Cognitive Marks

A 1-year-old should be able to find hidden objects and use items in the correct manner. You can help him develop these cognitive skills with toys designed to stimulate a baby's need to explore says early childhood special education teacher Gabriel Guyton in his 2011 article "Using Toys to Support Infant-Toddler Learning and Development." Household items such as cardboard boxes, plastic bottles or pieces of fabric will work just as well as expensive store toys.

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Language Learning

A vocabulary of about three words isn't uncommon for a 1-year-old, but she may understand about 50. She should be able to recognize routinely used phrases according to PBS Parents. If your infant doesn't seem to be so word savvy, and the pediatrician has ruled out a medical or developmental cause, just talk with her and read to her. The simple act of regularly reading to a baby can help her better understand spoken language and start identifying names with pictures.

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