Cognitive Milestones for a one-year-old

Developmental milestones are critical to understand a child’s growth and behaviour. Let’s take a look at cognitive milestones for infants.

By Arun Sharma  • 5 min read

Cognitive Milestones for a one-year-old

Adults think that infants are passive beings; but research has established that they continuously learn, observe, think and explore the world around them. They are constantly engaged in assimilating information about themselves, people and the world around them. Here’s their cognitive development during the first twelve months of life.

0 to 4 months 

During the first four months of life, babies learn many new skills. Development during this period involves learning more about their bodies and environment, and the senses. So, even simple activities that you do together with your baby assumes importance. Remember, your baby is actively listening and learning. Some of the things your baby will learn to do in the first four months are:

  • Respond to sounds made by toys like a bell or rattle
  • Understand touch and handling; for example, stop crying when picked up
  • Shift his eyes towards the direction of sound
  • Show an active interest in his surroundings (persons and objects)
  • Respond by babbling, cooing and chuckling when talked to
  • Investigate his environment
  • Put objects into his mouth

4 to 8 months

During these four months, infants start developing a better sense of perception. They start developing an interest in objects that are not in their immediate vicinity. So, try to introduce toys that make noise or move. At this age, your baby can:

  • Recognise familiar faces
  • Focus on an object and reach for it
  • Anticipate being fed
  • Search for things that he may have dropped from his hands
  • Laugh aloud when tickled and talked to
  • Hold arms out to be picked up
  • Look at objects while handling them
  • Turn her eyes and head towards the direction of sound or voice
  • Bring feet to mouth

8 to 12 months

As infants become physically stronger and more adept during this stage, they start exploring their surroundings in greater detail. Being able to sit, crawl and walk gives them the ability to understand the world around them in a better way. They are also able to focus their attention for a while on activities they are doing. During this time, your baby can:

  • Imitate gestures and simple actions
  • Respond with gestures and sounds
  • Point at objects
  • Drop a toy when offered another
  • Play with more than one toy
  • Understand object permanence (that an object continues to exist even when he can’t see it)
  • Manipulate objects (turn objects, put one object into another, etc.)
  • Respond to simple instructions

Remember, these milestones are only a general guide and not all babies will show all the behaviours listed here. This is because the pace of development varies between babies. However, consult your child’s paediatrician if your baby does not achieve most of the milestones listed or exhibits a lack of continuous progress. It could mean that your baby may be suffering from developmental delays for which early intervention is be required.  

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