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Emotional Development 1-2 Years

Your baby is now a year old and may be a lot more mobile. Parenting can start to become demanding in a different way. You now need to think about safety and appropriate boundaries as well as caring for your baby.

Some parents miss their tiny baby and others are pleased that their baby has a little more independence. 

Remember as this independence grows your baby will still need you. They will continue to return to you for reassurance that things are okay. 

  • Your toddler is developing fast, but they still need lots of support to continue learning new skills. 

    • Praising your toddler when they have done something right is more effective than telling them off for doing something wrong
    • Talk to your child about what you are doing, feeling and seeing. This helps develops their own understanding of emotions
    • Routines like bedtime and meal times help to give the day structure. This helps your child knows what is happening next and what to expect, making them feel safe and secure
    • Preparing for change (transitions) is really important for a toddler. They need ‘warning’ of going between activities as it takes them longer to process this change. For example 'In 5 minutes we’ll be having lunch. Then we’ll play with your bricks again' helps your toddler to know what’s coming next. They don’t have to panic that they will never play with their bricks again!

    All children develop at different rates - even within a family - so don’t expect your child to do the same thing at the same time as another child.

  • Toddlers will continue to need support with games and puzzles and they will show strong emotions such as joy and pleasure when they succeed. Sad or angry feelings when things are not going right or as expected are just as important. 

    Help your toddler to develop their play skills. For example you could:

    • Roll a ball or a car between you
    • Explore sand and water
    • Build with blocks and knock them down again.

    Turn-taking in play gives your child a growing sense of self. This teaches them that they are separate from you, increasing their independence and ability to make their own choices.

    To make the most of your child’s playtime you can:

    1. Follow your child’s lead. Try providing a box and some bricks and see what your toddler does with them
    2. Go slowly
    3. Talk to your toddler about what they’re doing “Clever, building the bricks!” “What a tall tower!” “All fall down” as they knocks them over.



Who Can Help?

You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520 631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.


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