The early years of your child’s life are crucial for later health and development. And one of the important reasons for this is the speed at which the brain grows starting before birth and continuing into early childhood.

Brain development of 1-year-old

The typical 1-year old child:

  • Starts playing pretend play (e.g., pretending to drink from a cup)
  • Is able to follow a fast-moving object
  • Can respond to their name
  • Says mamma, papa and at least 1 or 2 other words
  • Can understand simple commands
  • Tries to imitate animal sounds
  • Can connect names with objects
  • Is able to understand that things exist, even when they can't be seen
  • Can assist in getting dressed (raises arms)
  • Is able to play simple back and forth games (ball game)
  • Can point towards objects with the index finger
  • Waves goodbye
  • Can develop an attachment to a toy or object
  • Gets anxious when separated from parents and may cling to parents

Things you should show

Nurturing and responsive care for the child’s body and mind is the important thing for healthy brain development. Positive or negative experiences can play roles in shaping a child’s development and can have lifelong impacts.

How can you play a role in encouraging your child’s brain development?

  • You can support healthy brain growth by speaking to, playing with and caring for your child.
  • Children learn best when you take turns while talking and playing and build on your child’s skills and interests.
  • Nurturing a baby by understanding their requirements and responding sensitively can help to protect the child’s mind from stress.
  • Talking to your children and giving them exposure to books, stories and songs can help in strengthening children’s language and communication that can put them on a path towards learning and succeeding in school.
  • When the child gets exposed to stress and trauma, it can have a long-term negative impact, while talking, reading and playing can stimulate brain growth.
  • When children are at risk, following children’s development and ensuring that they reach developmental milestones can help ensure that any problems are detected early, and they receive the intervention they may need.


  1. Early Brain Development and Health[Internet]. Available at: Accessed on Feb 28, 2020.