Month 13

Toddler Development and Milestones: Your 13-Month-Old


Get ready for a whole new level of interaction! Your toddler is discovering the magic of pointing and protesting. This is the beginning of two-way communication. Before, he was a passive baby and you had to anticipate and guess his needs. Now at 13 months, your toddler is taking an active interest in having those needs met!

Physical Development

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During your 13 month old development and milestones, the bones in your 13 month old baby’s feet are not strong yet. Avoid putting sturdy shoes on those little feet. Doing so may cause his growing feet to take the shape of the shoes.

Cruising, crawling, walking, climbing – your toddler is all about movement. Whether he is standing on his own, or climbing low steps, or even walking, you need eyes in the back of your head. And preferably around corners too!

All this walking and moving means he has very little patience for sitting down and none at all for staying put! Your 13 month old little one does not want to be confined in a stroller or a playpen. Of course, sometimes he has no choice.

As part of his 13 month old development and milestones, despite being able to stand up on his own now, your toddler is still adjusting. As a result, he might still do things clumsily, especially when bending over to pick something up. There’s no need to worry if your little one occasionally stumbles and falls while trying to figure this out. As he grows older, his bones will grow stronger, straighter and sturdier. Soon his strides will be surer and tumbles will become fewer.

Other developments you might notice include his growing gross motor skills. Suddenly, all he wants to do is pick up blocks and put them into a container. He will do this not just once, but over and over again so he can show it to you. You might not be prepared for the mess he is about to make when it comes to opening, closing and taking things out, but be rest assured, this is also part of his learning journey.

Nicer things to look forward to are his finer motor skills like being able to build a tower of two blocks high, clapping his hands together and waving goodbye.

Activities to boost physical development:

When your child begins to explore and take his first few steps without support, don’t forget to praise him for his efforts. Short strolls are great because it gives him plenty of opportunities to point out stuff and bend down to look at things.

Let him play with a simple everyday empty container. Allow your child to put some blocks inside, close it, shake it and open it to empty it out all over again. Not only is he practising his gross motor skill, but it also teaching him cause and effect.

Allow your 13 month old toddler to take pointers from you. Let him watch and imitate you: be it blowing kisses, waving goodbye or even putting things away. Soon he will get the hang of it.

When to Talk to Your Doctor:

  • If you notice he is unable to stand, even when supported
  • If he does not wave goodbye or point to things
  • When he is not able to build a tower of at least two blocks

Cognitive Development

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Your toddler is discovering cause and effect. If he drops his pacifier, mummy will scoop it up. To confirm this, he would drop it again and again! He really loves this newfound sense of control over his environment, even if you don’t find it nearly quite as fun after the tenth or twentieth time around.

Actually your 13 month old can already follow instructions, however, this does not mean he will follow every single one of them to the tee. He also knows now that even when he doesn’t see something, it doesn’t mean that it is not there. This is all thanks to months of playing peek-a-boo with your little one.

Also, if you have been diligently reading to him every night, chances are he will be able to point things out when you ask him to. 

Activities to Boost Cognitive Development:

Do continue to keep reading to him, because kids soak up so much information at this age. Aim for about 20 minutes of reading per day and encourage your child to participate by asking questions like: “Can you find the red apple?” or “Where’s that yellow duckling hiding?”

Teach him about shapes, colours and numbers by lining up some colourful blocks and counting them together out loud.

Play games with instructions. He will be so proud of himself when he can do what you ask.

When to Talk to Your Doctor:

  • If your child is unable to follow simple instructions
  • When your child is unable to make associations or recognise daily objects
  • If your child is not able to find hidden objects

Social and Emotional Development

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Inside your toddler’s head, he knows exactly what he wants, but the world just doesn’t understand him! And since patience is not yet one of his virtues, you will most likely see the first signs of stubbornness and frustration.

As part of your toddler’s 13 month old development and milestones, he will start showing a wider array of emotions, including some of the less lovely kind. He will also start to display preferences, like playing instead of eating. Diaper changes might become a battle as he refuses to lie down.

Even if your 13 month old child appears endlessly defiant, remember he is just testing his boundaries. Despite this growing independence, he will still look to you for guidance especially when there are unfamiliar faces around.

Mummy and daddy are still the centre of your toddlers’ world, but part of growing up is also getting to know other people as well. He might begin to take an interest in other children, play alongside them, and even start to make eye contact with friends.

Soon he will be able to express his emotions to the people he is around, such as smiling at mummy and frowning at strangers.

Activities to Boost Socio-Emotional Development:

A good game for this age group is hide-and-seek because it helps toddlers with separation anxiety. Through this activity, he can see that mum and dad are still there, even if he can’t see you.

Games that teach your toddler about emotions are a great way to help him better understand the feelings he is experiencing. Make different faces and have him guess the emotion. When he knows how to name these emotions, then he can start to express himself more. 

A good tip when dropping your little one with a carer is to keep the goodbyes short. This will be easier on the both of you. Remember to leave with a smiling face, even though it breaks your heart to hear him sobbing. 

When to Talk to Your Doctor:

  • If your child continues to show strong anxiety separation issues
  • When your child shows no emotions or interest in socialising with others

Speech and Language Development

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Your toddler’s first language is still body language. If you have been practising sign language, it will probably speed up around the 13 month old development and milestones stage. There is a sudden surge of vocabulary, even if he may not be able to verbalise it just yet. But his two favourite words, for now, will be “hello” and “bye”, even if he is still mostly pointing to get his message across.

This might frustrate your little tot as he struggles to tell you his needs while combining speech and gestures together. Be patient and give your child your full attention when he is trying to communicate with you. Be mindful of what you say because he is constantly listening and absorbing everything you do. For the most of it, his speech will be one-word sentences for now. But soon, it will progress to two words as he is exposed to new words every day.

Activities to Boost Language Development:

Continue to keep talking to your little one in a slow and clear voice, making sure to pronounce each word clearly. Use complete sentences so that he can learn from you, even if he may mostly be answering in one-word sentences during his 13 month old development and milestones phase.

Continue reading and engaging him to participate by asking him to point out various things that caught his interest. Singing action and nursery rhymes together is also a fun way to expand his vocabulary. 

Play the name game! Point to different parts of your face and say the name out clearly. You’ll be surprised at how fast he will pick it up the next time you ask him where’s his nose!

When to Talk to Your Doctor:

  • If your child does not respond to his own name or when he is being called
  • When your child is unable to converse using single words like “hello”, “bye” or call mum and dad in their own way

Health and Nutrition

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Right about now your toddler should weight about 8.8-11.0 kg and be roughly 70.0-79.3 cm tall. During his 13 month old development and milestones, your toddler is still trying out new textures and tasting a variety of food. Continue to offer nutritious and healthy food choices. Don’t stress too much if he is being picky because he can still get nutrients from his milk. So make sure to choose whole milk for the dietary fats needed for normal growth and brain development. 

Toddlers need between 1,000 and 1,400 calories a day, depending on their age, size, and physical activity level. Generally, a toddler needs about 3 servings of grains (at least half must be whole grains), 1 serving each of fruits and vegetables, 2 servings of protein and 2 servings of milk per day. That is equivalent to 1/2 of pasta, 1 cup sliced or cubed fruit, 1 cup cooked mashed or finely chopped vegetables including legumes, meat 1/3 the size of your palm and one cup of milk or yoghurt.

Some parents might allow their kids to self-feed right about now. With this new found independence, he might test his boundaries by throwing food just to see what happens. Do bear in mind that his actions are more curious rather than malicious. Dinner might feel like a battleground sometimes, but try and keep your cool in the midst of the mess. All of this is normal and part of your toddler’s 13 month old development and milestones.

Don’t forget that Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib) and meningitis C vaccinations are due if you haven’t gotten around to this at 12 months. But for this month, it is vaccinations for measles, mumps, rubella and pneumococcal infection.

When to Talk to Your Doctor:

  • If your toddler gags at sight, touch and taste of table food repeatedly
  • When your child refuses to eat and is not gaining any weight