By 12 months your baby may:

  • sit for an indefinite time without support.
  • crawl on hands and knees.
  • walk while holding on to the furniture.
  • wave bye-bye.
  • understand several words, respond to simple commands.
  • may point at something he wants.
  • say mama, dada, repeat simple sounds.
  • respond to his name.
  • point to his nose, tummy or the dog, when asked to.

You can encourage development by:


  • lots of interaction – point out animals, colours, shapes.
  • giving him shape sorter toys, push along toys, building blocks, pegboards with large, coloured pegs.
  • talking to him – he’ll try and join in conversation.
  • praising him – he’ll love to show off new skills (like waving).

At 15 months, immunisations for MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) and the second Hib (haemophilus influenza type b vaccine) are given. These immunisations are free to all children and help protect your child against these diseases. In New Zealand, most people choose to immunise their children. However, outbreaks of diseases like measles, mumps, rubella and whooping cough still occur because not enough people are immunised.

Check the white pages for a toy library in your area

By 18 months your toddler will

probably have seemingly endless energy and capacity for making a mess.

He may be:

  • much more confident on his feet.
  • able to build a tower of three or four blocks.
  • “helping” you clear up toys and copying you doing housework.
  • speaking a few simple words.
  • able to feed himself with a spoon and fork and drink from a cup.

You can encourage development by:

  • letting him explore in a safe environment.
  • reading to him (rhyming and repetition are especially good).
  • singing and dancing together.
  • letting him scribble with big crayons.
  • playing with playdough.
  • letting him enjoy playing with water at the kitchen bench while you work.
  • walking in the park, feeding the ducks.
  • getting him together with other children.

He will imitate whatever you are doing. This is time for lots of hugs and cuddles.

At this stage he cannot remember concepts clearly so cannot decide what is right and wrong. Let him make simple choices, like which shirt or shoes to wear today. Say it is dinner time; don’t ask if he is hungry. He also has no concept of time, so he won’t understand if you say you will do something later.

His concentration span is short so he will play with a toy briefly before discarding it for another one.

Around 2 years

By now you will enjoy seeing the real person emerging. If he likes something he can be happy and sunny, but if something frustrates him he may fly into a rage!

  • By 2 years your toddler may:
  • start climbing.
  • fetch something when asked.
  • know names of body parts.
  • join words together.
  • become easily frustrated
  • refuse to do what he is asked.
  • “No” is the favourite word.

You can encourage development by

  • giving lots of cuddles and hugs.
  • being pleased when he learns a new skill.
  • notice him when he is good.
  • praising him will make him want to do things that please you.
  • listening to him.
  • talking to him.
  • letting him help you cook.
  • giving him clothes to dress up in.
  • making a “house” out of cardboard cartons, stretching his imagination.