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Milestones: 12-15 Months: Cognitive Development

To the eyes of a toddler, the world is a never-ending source of amazement and constant frustration. Your toddler is soaking up information about the world, making new connections and learning new things every day. Your baby’s world is constantly expanding as they are learning new skills all the time. Learning can be frustrating, and it’s not uncommon for toddlers to express frustration when their ambition develops faster than their skills. Just imagine living in an adult-sized world when you are less than 3 feet tall. As a parent, you can help your toddler by providing a supporting and encouraging environment and giving your child access to plenty of stimulation.

By 12-15 months, most toddlers can:

Say a few words, perhaps including “daddy,” and “mommy,” and a few other words.

Say “no!”

Wave bye-bye, either to people or objects (for reasons experts are still trying to figure out why, babies wave “bye-bye” a lot more often than they wave “hello!”).

Point to things to play with or look at.

Understand and respond to verbal commands.

By 12-15 months, some toddlers are trying to:

“Use” household objects and appliances (phones, utensils, remote controls, vacuum cleaners).

Take books down from shelves or out of piles, and leaf through them independently.

Communicate with you via gestures, when she sees that you can\’t understand what she\’s saying.

By 12-15 months, a few toddlers can:

Use five words.

Point to a limited number of objects, people, or pictures as you name them (i.e., “cat,” “dog,” “baby,” etc.).

Follow simple directions, including “Follow me!” or “Please give that to me.”

Shake head to indicate “no” or nod for “yes.”

Recognize and point to body parts, like “belly” and “head.”

Remember each toddler is different. It’s never productive to compare your toddler to others. Just try to provide a healthy environment and enjoy watching your toddler discover the world around him or her. Continue reading to and with your child. The benefits of reading are profound and linked to all manner of healthy cognitive development in the coming months and years.

More in milestones:

12-15 Months: Emotional Development

12-15 Months: Physical Development

Why developmental milestones will make you crazy


  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Important Milestones: Babies at 18 Months.
    National Institutes of Health
  • Developmental Milestone Records – 18 Months.
    Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services
  • Developmental Milestones.
    Wisconsin Child Welfare System
  • Developmental Stages of Infants and Children.

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