Child Development 7 – 12 months
Hello world! The second half of your baby’s first year is all about exploring and her increasing mobility helps her to do exactly that. Let’s look at some of the developmental milestones you can expect to see at this age. Remember however that these are merely guidelines and that each child will develop at his or her own pace.
Your baby is now fully engaged with the world. As she learns to move about on her own she is able to actively seek things out and is no longer limited to exploring only those things given to her or placed within her reach. Her memory is also improving so that she will begin to recognise familiar faces. She will also start remembering where certain items are stored and will find great delight in unpacking cupboards and finding hidden objects, it’s advisable to start considering ways in which to child-proof cupboards that contain dangerous or fragile objects. Babies love repetition at this stage. You may become bored quite quickly with never-ending games of “drop the spoon” but this repetition is very important for your baby’s brain development so try to persist with these repetitive games for a while.
Your baby is keeping a close eye on all that you do and will soon start imitating behaviours such as talking on the phone or consoling a crying child (or doll). He might be the life of the party at home, but will most likely become shy and reserved around strangers. Separation anxiety typically develops at this age and your child might become clingy and distraught when separated from you. This is due in part to the fact that your little one does not yet have a sense of object permanence (the knowledge that an object continues to exist even when it cannot be seen). Help you baby with this by continuing to talk to him as you move around in the house. Hearing your voice, even when he cannot see you will help him understand that you continue to exist even when he is not with you.
Your baby’s emotions keep developing and you’re likely to see more range in his emotional expression than you did before. Expressions of fear, joy, surprise and frustration all start showing up in his emotional repertoire, but even though he might be able to express these emotions your little one will have no idea how to deal with them and will rely on the adults in her life to “make things right” again.
Your baby’s vision is much clearer than it was at birth. She is increasingly able to distinguish between colours and hues and is starting to recognise herself in the mirror.
Her legs are becoming strong enough to help bear her weight and even before she is able to walk she will be able to bounce on her legs for short periods of time while you hold her.
Your baby is desperate to move and will do this in any way she can: rolling, climbing, crawling, scooting around on her bum or cruising while holding on to objects for support. Towards the end of this period some babies might start talking their first steps, but will tire easily and only walk very short distances at a time.
Your baby will be able to hold a bottle or cup by himself now, but might initially still need some help in bringing it to his mouth. He is starting to use his thumb and forefinger together in a pincer grip to grasp small objects which enables him to start feeding himself and finger foods are a firm favourite at this age.
Most babies start teething at around 6 months with the lower central incisors (bottom lower teeth) typically appearing first.
This is a crucial time for language development. Your little one may not be saying much yet, but her brain is absorbing everything you say like a sponge. Keep talking to her, point out interesting things to her while you’re out and about and read to her every day. Despite her limited verbal expressions your baby will become much more adept at communicating with you than she was before. She will begin to understand gestures, might begin to wave goodbye, shake her head for no and point at objects to bring them and to your attention.
That wraps up some of the main features of development during the first year. As your little one enters toddlerhood and beyond they will develop and refine numerous skills and abilities and for ease of use we will look at each aspect of development on its own going forward, rather than trying to describe development in each age-group.
Baby’s development: 0 – 6 months
Fine motor development
Anel Annandale is a prominent Educational Psychologist with a passion for early childhood development and a special interest in neuropsychology.
She is experienced in the field and has established herself as an expert, often appearing on television shows such as Exspresso. She is also available as a guest speaker at relevant events and functions.