Your baby will assert her independence in big ways during these second six months of life after birth.
By the end of her first year, she will be ready to walk, to climb stairs, and to use new words and gestures to get her point across.
Here is what you have to look forward to—and how to prepare for it.
A Fast Learner
As we’ve described for months 1 to 3 and months 4 to 6 , your baby is growing in four big ways: in her thinking (cognitive skills), in how she relates to people (emotional/social skills), in controlling her own little movements (fine motor skills), and in making big motions with her body (large motor skills).
And she is learning all those skills at once!
By the end of her first year, your child will be acting more like a toddler, less like a baby. Watch for these developments:
- Communicating with a handful of words and gestures (Have you tried baby sign language yet?)
- Getting herself anywhere she wants to be – upstairs, on sofas, in cabinets, into the dog food bowl. . .
- Recognizing what’s normal – and reacting fearfully to what’s not
Create an Encouraging Environment
Because your child is getting so independent, you’ll want to make her world a safe and exciting place to explore. Here are some great things you can do:
- Childproof your home. Set aside time to get down on her level and see what mischief is accessible. What poisons should you move up high and out of reach? Where can you put breakable or valuable things (like your phone) so you’re not constantly having to snatch them from her grasping fingers? What sharp cornered furniture can you move out of her way?
- Talk to your baby a lot. She enjoys the give-and-take of conversation. So talk to her (in real words) and listen when she “talks” to you. Talk about what you’re doing (“Let’s put on your pink shoes and go outside”), about her toys (“Can you find the blue ball?”), and about herself (“Yes, that’s your nose”). Neither TV nor technology can replace a real conversation with you.
- Ease her separation anxiety. Having you nearby is normal. Having you leave, therefore, starts to upset your baby around eight months of age, when she gets that you are a separate person from her. Being a dependable parent goes a long way to getting her through this fearful time. Don’t sneak away from her; just leave her with a trustworthy person, kiss her good-bye, and return as promised. This article has more helpful tips.
- Play games. Peek-a-boo is a favorite with children this age; they’re finally noticing that hidden things aren’t really gone forever. Your child may also like pat-a-cake. She will probably also delight in throwing things down for you to pick up—a million times. Be patient.
- Read books together. This is a great time to make use of the children’s section of our local library and their children’s programs. Bright, colorful board books with lots of rhyme and rhythm (and repetition!) will be a big hit.
- Create sensory experiences. Children this age love to make noise, pick up small objects with thumb and forefinger, and put things in containers. Let your child experiment with your pots and pans, plastic cups and bowls, and other colorful everyday objects.
Lots of Changes
The following infographic introduces some of the many changes you’ll observe in your seven- to twelve-month-old. For a detailed list of skills your child is likely to learn each month, check out this chart. Keep in mind that her skills will emerge uniquely; don’t compare your child to others her age. Charts and lists are only guidelines. Talk to your pediatrician if you are concerned about any red flags in her development.
Children at this age can sure keep you on your toes, can’t they?
For help navigating the wonderful challenges of life with a 7- to 12-month-old,
stop by Choices Pregnancy Center today.
We’re happy to talk through your questions and concerns.
And we’ve got childproofing gear—available free through our Earn While You Learn program.
If you’re not already a member, text or call to see how you can sign up today.