Before you know it, your child will be one year old and you will see great changes in their cognitive development at 12 months. The good news is that you can reinforce it through play!

Developmental milestones at 12 months

Your 12-month-old baby is now gaining more independence. It is normal for them to imitate their parents’ behavior in everyday situations such as answering the phone or making gestures of some other daily activity.

In the same way, in the social and emotional area, you will notice that your baby is shy around strangers, tends to cry when their parents are not around, and has favorite toys or things to which they will pay more attention.

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In this area, your little one will gain new skills and, therefore, we would like to present some activities that you can do to boost cognitive development at 12 months and make this process more natural for your child.

Activities and tips to support your child’s cognitive development at 12 months

1. Offer them tools to experiment with

Your child will explore objects in different ways. Many times you will see them shake, hit, or throw something. During this stage, they will be more perceptive of their environment and will seek to explore what surrounds them.

Try to be part of this process and give your little one different things to play with. They may be toys, but really anything —safe for them— will catch their eye and will be just as stimulating.

2. Help your child solve problems, without solving them for them

Remember that your child is constantly learning from the world around them, therefore, they will run into small obstacles quite often. This is not a bad thing, since it will allow your little one to activate different parts of their brain and further develop their cognitive skills.

You can give them tips and clues to solve the challenge they are facing. You will be amazed at how quickly your baby learns new things and begins to adapt more and more to their environment!

3. Teach your little one self-care

Teach them simple things like combing their hair, brushing their teeth, or washing their hands and face. Show them how to use simple tools that are part of their daily routine and boost their self-confidence to do things on their own.

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Some children may take a little longer than others to gain independence and learn about self-care, so don’t worry. Just enjoy those moments when you are together!

Bonus: An exercise that can help you

There is a very simple game that can help you encourage cognitive development at 12 months.

First, find some eye-catching objects; it could be some keys, a telephone, or a ball. The important thing is that your baby is able to grab it with their little hand. Then, invite someone else to join you during the activity. It could be your partner, an uncle, or your child’s older sibling.

Gradually hand over the objects to your baby and give them instructions such as: “Give the keys to dad”. You can model the exercise by doing it yourself first so that your child is motivated to imitate the action. Remember that the instructions must be clear and short so that your baby can follow them easily.

Cognitive, social, and motor development are skills that children develop little by little, but with these exercises, you can boost your baby’s abilities.

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