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Keep an eye out for upcoming Development Posts covering all developmental stages from 0-18!
- Everything Parents Need to Know- Development in the First 6 Weeks
- Everything Parents Need to Know- Development from 6 Weeks to 6 Months Old
Welcome to When Fit Hits the Shan’s Development Series!!
We’ll cover each major developmental phase of life from age 0-18, diving deep into what affects children during that particular phase, what you as a parent need to be aware of, and how you can help your child develop properly.
Each post (including this one!) covers helpful topics for each developmental stage of life- including:
- Milestones, New Skills, and Developmental Goals
- Activities to Boost Development
- Warning Signs or Potential Dangers
- Typical Struggles for Mom and What to Do
- GREAT Things About This Developmental Phase
- What’s Coming Up Next for Your Child??
Let’s dive into what it takes to care for a baby from 6 months to their first birthday!!!
And congratulations mama, you survived the infant stage! Your little one is a baby now- through and through. That brings new perks and a few new challenges!
Milestones, New Skills, and Developmental Goals
Here are some great new milestones and skills to watch for!
Don’t compare to your neighbor’s 6 month old. After all, each child will reach milestones at their own pace.
During the baby phase from 6 months to 1 year, your child will:
- Begin to experiment with sitting up on his own (around 6 months), crawling (around 9 months), standing (around 9 months), and walking (around 12 months). Some children also learn to climb! Caution- although your baby will be practicing these new motor skills, it will take a lot of practice to master them. Expect your baby to fall often and beware of unsafe situations!
- Improve her ability to use her hands and fingers. By the time your child is 12 months, she will be able to pick up, hold, examine, and throw objects! She will learn to put objects into containers and to pick up small items using her thumb and pointer finger (this is called the pincer grasp).
- Improve his vision, including seeing in color, following moving objects or people with his eyes, and seeing over longer distances.
- Improve her language skills, including all of the following:
- Say consonant sounds,
- notice emotion in other people’s voices,
- express her own emotions through her jabbers,
- have “conversations” by talking when others are talking,
- imitate sounds and words,
- recognize her name and the names of others,
- understand simple directions,
- use body language to express herself- such as waving bye or pointing to something she wants, and
- say her first words!!!!
- Enjoy stimulating activities like:
- Hiding and finding objects,
- making animal sounds,
- banging toys together,
- dancing to music, or
- interacting with his own reflection in a mirror.
- Try new foods and learn new feeding skills, including:
- Chewing (although the child will need food cut small for a few years),
- eating baby food or soft foods and slowly integrating solids,
- using her hands to feed herself,
- holding her own bottle or sippy cup,
- and experimenting with utensils (although she will probably make a big mess until she masters them).
- Experience separation anxiety, which is normal and shows a healthy attachment to the child’s parents.
Activities to Boost Development
Every parent wants to do everything they can to give their baby the best jump start to life possible. Here’s how you can do this for your little one between 6 months old and 1 year old!
- Provide toys that teach new skills- like:
- putting objects into containers,
- identifying colors/shapes,
- identifying animal sounds,
- any new vocabulary words,
- sharing or interacting with others,
- finding hidden objects, etc.
- Allow your child to get to know other adults and children by arranging play dates or hanging out with friends.
- Play with movement.
- Hold your child in a standing position with less and less support,
- let your child hold onto your legs or hands while you walk around the house together,
- dance to music,
- use a walker or a jump-a-roo to encourage standing and walking,
- play in a swimming pool,
- use a Bumbo to encourage sitting without the risk of falling, etc!
- Allow your child to try new foods and offer him the opportunity to feed himself, despite the mess.
- Always talk!
- Have conversations,
- describe your daily activities to the child,
- explain what you’re doing and why,
- ask questions,
- sing songs and rhymes,
- read books,
- enjoy finger plays,
- review the animal sounds,
- label colors and shapes and prepositions (over, under, around, near, behind, next to, etc.),
- and laugh together!
Warning Signs or Potential Dangers
Of course, every stage has its own dangers. Here are a few to look out for.
It’s always safer to call the doctor or nurse if you have questions! They’ve heard it all before, there are no stupid questions, and your baby will be safer because you checked!
- Falling. Now that your child is mobile, he will be experimenting with his new skills. However, he’s no master! Your child will probably get a few bumps and bruises, but watch out for sharp edges, large drops, or other dangerous situations that could cause major injury.
- Choking. Introducing solid foods and allowing babies with the opportunity to feed themselves means one more risk- choking. You can stay safe by:
- Stay close by when your child is eating so that you can keep an eye on things. Never leave the child alone during meal and snack times.
- Pay attention to warning labels on baby food items- they often suggest what age range is safe to give certain foods to.
- Always cut baby’s food into small pieces.
- Keep small items or toys off the ground.
- Prepare yourself by learning infant CPR as choking situations can require quick response.
- Dangerous items. Now that your child can get around without you, she has access to objects around the house without you providing it. That means your child will get into things you didn’t intend.
- New dangers include hot objects, sharp objects, anything heavy that can fall, anything breakable, chemicals, and anything small enough to choke on.
- Baby-proof your home by using child-proof locks on cabinets, cupboards, drawers, and doors.
- Losing any skills they used to have. Occasionally, a child will begin to speak or progress in other developmental milestones and then lose those skills suddenly. This can be a sign of Autism, so report it to your doctor immediately.
- Failure to reach milestones by 12 months. Be patient and give your child plenty of time to reach the developmental milestones. However, there may be a need for intervention if your child has not reached the following basic milestones by 12 months old:
- Searching for hidden or partially hidden objects,
- attempt simple words like “mama” or “baba”, or
- using gestures like pointing, waving bye, or shaking head “no”.
Typical Struggles for Mom and What to Do
The baby phase comes with its own unique challenges for parents.
Here are some challenges to be aware of, and some solutions to help a mama out!
- Separation anxiety. It can be really tough on moms when babies cry during separation. If you work, you might have to deal with this every day for a while. If you don’t work, you still need breaks! It can be tough to get a night away or have a date with your man or just get some “me-time” when your baby only wants you and nobody else! This kind of constant clingy-ness can be exhausting for mom. What’s the solution?
- Practice makes perfect. The more you leave and come back, the more your baby will learn the pattern. You have to go sometimes, but you always come back!
- Comfort items. Having something familiar can comfort your baby when you’re gone. For example, a teddy bear, a blanket, a snuggly soft toy, a picture of you.
- Put Dad to work! If there is another person that your child loves and trusts, such as his father, grandparents, or a good friend, ask them for help. Being left with a familiar adult isn’t nearly as scary as being left with a stranger. Win win for mom and baby!
- Take much-needed breaks when baby is sleeping! She’ll never even know that she was left with a babysitter if you leave for a fun evening after her bedtime!
- Mobility. It’s exciting and all, but all that moving around means a lot more work for mom. You’ll be running to and fro trying to get everything done on your checklist AND constantly watching to make sure baby is safe and not getting into things he shouldn’t get into. What can a mom do about it?
- Provide lots of stimulating toys and switch them out frequently. This prevents your child from getting bored. The more entertained she is, the less exploring she’ll do!
- Baby proof everything dangerous, and everything that’s just too messy to clean up every day. Better to prevent than to deal with the problem day in and day out!
- Have a good sense of humor when baby gets into things she shouldn’t. Expect messes, and try to laugh about them! I have a friend who made it a habit to get her camera right away when something frustrating happened. Instead of freaking out, it helped her laugh at cute memories of her silly kids.
- Baby gates are our friends. Keep kids away from the stairs…. or just keep the baby in one safe room.
- Feeding. It’s great that babies are starting to eat solids, but there are a few downsides. It’s messy, it’s time consuming, babies can be picky, and it’s expensive!
- Once your baby can eat solids, offer the child whatever the family is having for dinner (cut into small pieces of course). This is cost-effective (rather than buying separate food for baby), time-efficient (rather than preparing two meals), and helps the child adapt to the family’s diet.
- Don’t be offended or frustrated if your child doesn’t like some of the foods that he tries, but always encourage him to try it again. The mom’s job is to offer healthy choices. The baby’s job is to decide which of the choices he will eat and how much he will eat. Never try to take over the baby’s jobs by force feeding!
- Eliminate distractions. A distracted baby can’t eat very well. Turn off the TV, involve the entire family in the meal instead of eating separately, and keep toys away from the table.
- Be a role model of healthy eating. Help your child learn to eat healthy foods by eating them yourself. Be a good example of trying new foods. Show your children how to have good table manners.
- Put a piece of plastic (like a shower curtain) or an old bed sheet under the baby’s place at the table. This makes clean up much easier! Just shake it off and throw it in the washer!
- Or… Try these helpful items!!!
Munchkin Stay Put Suction Bowl, 3 Count
- Little Experiments. Now that your baby is able to put objects into containers, you’ll find that she will experiment with that skill. Suddenly, there will be coins shoved into your DVD player, pencils down the vents, and toothpicks in the electrical outlets.
- Provide typical household activities for your baby to play with. After all, a major part of his exploring is the need to understand his environment. Allowing him that opportunity in a safe and controlled way means less frustration.
- Provide toys that meet this developmental need- things that have containers for objects. Even an old purse might do the trick!
GREAT Things About This Developmental Phase
No developmental phase is all bad… in fact, they’re all a lot of fun!
The baby phase is no exception. Here are some things you’ll LOVE!!!!
- Mobility! Ok, I know, mobility is one of the hardest things about this phase and yet one of the best things too. A little more independence for baby means a little more flexibility for mom. You don’t have to carry him everywhere anymore! He’s learning to feed himself. He’s learning to get things he wants on his own. All these skills help you out eventually!
- FUN!!! This stage is fun, above all! For your child’s entire life, the most reciprocation you get is a little gurgling and a few laughs, when you’re lucky. Now, your child is starting to play games! She’ll learn to interact with you, including
- responding to your requests,
- saying your name (Awwwww!!!!),
- remembering things you’ve taught (such as animal sounds),
- and showing you affection! What better “thank you” can a parent ask for?
- You get to sleep through the night! Ok, so you might not get to sleep through the night at first. Some babies have night feedings up until 9 months old. But it’s on the horizon, mama! Your sleep is almost back!!!! WOOOO HOOOOOOOOO!
What’s Coming Up Next for Your Child??
Ok mom, hold your breath, cause this is difficult to take in…. Ready???
Your baby is almost a TODDLER!!!!
What???? Yeah I know. It’s insane and ridiculous and unbelievable. It just can’t be so, and yet it is.
Your baby is morphing into a toddler and you’re about to leave this stage behind! What are you going to do???
Watch out for my next development article: Everything Parents Need to Know- Development from 12 Months to 24 Months Old.
Need more information about babies from age 6 months to 12 months? Check out this great article by The Tot: INFANT DEVELOPMENTAL MILESTONES: 6-12 MONTHS.
Who is Mrs. S… and why do people call you that?
It’s my favorite nickname! That’s what all my students call me!
I’ve been around the block a time or two. I’ve worked with children from ages 0-18, some with mental illness, some with disabilities, some with Autism, and many with behavioral problems.
I also worked as a parent educator!
All that doesn’t hold a candle to my best experience with children- being a mom. Want to learn more about me? Click here!