10–12 months old: Social development

10–12 months old: Social development

Your baby’s social development at 10–12 months. Follow your baby’s milestones step-by-step.

Social development refers to the ability to build harmonious and positive relationships with others. As kids develop socially, they learn how to communicate and manage their emotions, consider other points of view before acting, resolve conflicts, cooperate, and participate in society. A child’s temperament, primarily determined by genetics, influences how they interact with others from an early age. However, they continue to develop social skills as they grow, learning from personal experiences and the people around them—namely, their parents and family members.

Social development: 10–12 months old

At this age:

  • Your baby understands when you approve or disapprove of their behaviour.
  • They’re starting to develop autonomy and want to do things on their own, like get undressed.
Remember that not all children develop the same skills at the same speed. The material on this website is for general information purposes only. If you’re concerned about your child’s development, speak with a doctor.
  • They enjoy shaking their head and saying “no,” even when they mean “yes.”
  • They feel intense emotions and must learn to cope with them.
  • They imitate adult behaviour and children’s gestures and games.
  • They increasingly enjoy being the centre of attention.
  • They repeat sounds or gestures that make you laugh.
  • Your baby understands that they’re a separate individual.
  • They experience separation anxiety when they’re away from you.

Over the next few months, your baby will begin to do the following:

  • Move to the sound of music.
  • Demonstrate that they know the day’s routines and rituals.
  • Respond to requests, like giving up a toy when asked.
  • Test their limits.

How can you help your baby progress?

Every child is different and develops at their own pace. That said, you can help foster your baby’s development by adopting the Comfort, Play, and Teach parenting approach, which can easily be integrated into your daily routine. The table below outlines small, age-specific actions you can take that will benefit your baby’s social development.

When you describe how your baby is feeling—for instance, by saying, “William is sad,” and soothing him when he cries—
your baby learns that you understand their emotions and will respond to them.
When you talk about your baby’s daily care—for instance, by saying, “It’s almost bath time,” and allowing them to be involved in the preparations,
your baby begins to recognize certain words that you use to describe emotions. They’re comforted because they know what to expect.
When you show your baby family photos and describe what each person is doing,
your baby begins to put names to faces and tries to pronounce certain names.
When you let your baby crawl and explore in a safe place,
your baby expresses interest in certain objects by staring at them, reaching to touch them, pointing at them, or crawling toward them.
When you tell your baby what you’re doing—for instance, by saying, “Daddy is chopping carrots for dinner,”—and talk about the objects that draw their attention,
they gain a better understanding of the world around them and learn to recognize certain words.


Naître et grandir

Scientific review: Annie Goulet, psychologist
Research and copywriting: The Naître et grandir team
Updated: March 2020


Photo: 123rf.com/Antonio Diaz



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  • Doré, Nicole, and Danielle Le Hénaff. From Tiny Tot to Toddler: A practical guide for parents from pregnancy to age two. Yourchild’sdevelopment.” Quebec City, Institut national de santé publique du Québec. www.inspq.qc.ca
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  • Canadian Paediatric Society. Caring for Kids. “Your child’s development: What to expect.” www.caringforkids.cps.ca
  • Université de Montréal. “Portail enfance et familles : Les étapes de développement de l’enfant de la naissance à l’adolescence.” www.portailenfance.ca