Solutions For Parents

Infants » Newborn Development

Ages and Stages 6 to 12 Months

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As the baby grows he/she will…

And so the baby needs…

You can help the baby learn if you …

Self Care

cry because he needs help; begin to hold his/her own bottle;

begin to try to feed him/her self;

want to hold and try to use his/her drinking cup;

reach for and try to use the spoon to feed him/her self; start trying to pick up things he/she has dropped;

begin to take off clothing that he/she can remove easily

to be helped before he/she reaches hysteria; to be allowed to do this when he/she wants to; opportunities to learn to use his fingers and hands for eating; help in learning how to handle a cup; to learn how to use his/her spoon for eating; to practice a new skill: "picking up"; many times when it's all right to take things off

are always aware of what's happening; just hand the baby his/her bottle and let him/her take it from there; give baby finger foods to practice on, and give him/her time to practice; help him/her learn, even if it is messy and takes a lot of time, be patient; realize that baby is new at this, and so will spill more than he/she gets into his/her mouth; give him/her chances to "pick up" all kinds of objects; let baby do as much as possible for him/her self when you undress him/her

Social / Emotional

recognize you, his/her principal caregiver; recognize other people that are important, but will probably be shy of strangers; respond to his/her own image in a mirror; have emotional attachments to particular people, and begin to distinguish between their angry or friendly talking; begin to respond to more than one familiar person at a time; respond well to his/her caregiver's actions, and begin to recognize his/her own name; indicates his/her wants by gestures and vocalizations; enjoy participating in games with others, and will perhaps offer toys to them if you prompt him/her

frequent contact with you, his/her principal caregiver at the center, to reassure him/her that you'll be there for most of the day; opportunities to get to know and recognize others while he/she is with his/her principal caregiver; opportunities to recognize and get to know him/her self; many opportunities for interaction with familiar people; opportunities to play and interact in games and activities with more than one familiar person; activities that help him become aware of him/her self and that help his/her awareness of others; good responses to his/her needs so that he/she feels that he/she is being successful at communicating; continued reassurance from you, so that he/she may now begin to tentatively accept and play with people he/she hasn't seen before

try not to let totally unfamiliar people take him/her away where he/she can't see you; always reassure him/her and stay with him/her when strangers stop to chat or play with him/her; let baby look at him/her self in the mirror and smile at and talk to him/her self, use his/her name and talk about what he/she sees; draw baby's attention to activities and other aspects of yourself and other familiar people, talk to him/her; let him/her try going back and forth from you to other people; always use baby's name when you talk to him/her, and play with baby to encourage him/her to respond to you; try to understand what baby is trying to say, and respond in an appropriate manner; encourage him/her to play games with you and with others, but make sure that they are quiet, slow, simple and non-threatening games


look at and play with his/her fingers and toes; babble and coo in "baby talk," instead of crying when he/she is alone; turn his/her head when called by name, or when familiar objects are named; begin to repeat words or sounds of more than one syllable;  begin to say real words, such as "Mama," "Dada, etc.; begin to know what the names of many things are begin to say several words, combined with his/her babbling, and try to use words to describe actions; begin to know and name familiar objects and their owners; begin to name and point out familiar pictures in a book; take an interest in music and rhythm; begin to point to and name his/her body parts; begin to understand when you ask him/her to do something

the opportunity to freely play and talk about the motions he/she makes; good language response from you and others; many opportunities to hear his/her own name and the names of objects; practice in using this new language skill; many opportunities to use new words, while relating them to the real person or object; to hear  often, the names of all the many objects he/she can see opportunities to use his/her new words and to relate them to his/her or your actions; encouragement and help in naming things and their owners; colorful and large picture books and magazines to practice naming pictures; opportunities to learn to do things with music; many opportunities to learn and use the names of body parts; opportunities to hear and try to follow directions

find ways to play with and talk to baby about his/her fingers, toes, and other body parts; notice when the baby is babbling to him/her self and make similar noises for him/her; call baby by name as you talk to him/her, name the objects he/she sees; imitate his/her sounds, and give him/her new words and sounds to try; respond enthusiastically whenever baby says a real word; tell baby the names of all the things you and he/she see and use all day tell baby the names of the actions that you and he/she are doing; reply to baby when he/she correctly names an object by agreeing and repeating the name in a sentence; look at picture books and magazines with baby, letting him/her try to name familiar objects, or articles; play and sing simple songs and do finger plays with baby; always refer to baby's hand, leg, etc. by name and encourage baby to repeat it; show baby things he/she can do and say, by giving him/her simple directions


turn his/her eyes toward the source of sounds; smile and talk to faces or objects, such as a mirror; follow a moving object with his/her eyes, but will not look for an object that has disappeared; reject an object or toy after playing with it many times; watch a fast moving object as it goes up, down or sideways; usually not turn objects over to see the other side; look carefully at an object set in front of him/her by picking it up and turning it in many ways be able to find and grab an object which moves after he/she begins to reach for it, he/she will reach for toys out of his/her reach; imitate you in doing "Patty Cake," hand-clapping and other simple movements such as shaking a bell or a rattle; be able to line up a cube in one hand with one in his/her other hand; uncover a toy he/she has seen hidden; search for a toy removed from his/her sight, but will always look in the place where it first disappeared; repeat his actions if he gets people to laugh and play with him/her; begin to see and handle things with more awareness (notices it is round or soft, etc.)

to be spoken to and to hear other noises from all areas of the room; much opportunity to interact with others; opportunities to observe that appear, disappear, reappear; a variety of toys and objects that are continually new and different to him/her; moving objects to watch; many interesting objects to play with; many odd shaped objects to play with and study moving objects to reach for and nonmoving items that are placed just out of his/her reach; people to interact with him/her and give him/her actions to imitate; blocks and cubes to play with; opportunities to watch and find things he/she sees disappear; opportunity to practice searching for objects; much encouragement from his/her "audience" for him/her to perform; help in finding out that his/her environment is not flat

provide baby with much interaction by calling to him/her, playing music, or making various noises to attract his/her attention; play "Peek-a-boo" games with baby, so that he/she can become familiar with them and learn to expect a series of actions; place mobiles over his/her crib or playpen that are partially screened as they move; provide toys and objects that encourage handling and exploring for size, shape, color, texture, movement, position, and sound; play with baby by moving objects, including your face, for baby to follow; show baby an object, and then turn it over, let baby try to do it, then give him/her the object to play with; introduce baby to variety of objects with odd and interesting shapes and features hold a small object in front of baby, and when he/she reaches for it, place it in back of something that will hide it, move what hides it and let him reach for it; play simple hand-clapping games with him/her, along with other simple motion games; show him/her how to put cubes and other objects together in a line, encourage him/her to try; show baby favorite toy, then partly hide it under a blanket, see if he/she can uncover it and find it; hide an object, let baby find it, then try hiding it in a different place, try not to overdo this but help baby to be interested in continuing this kind of play and learning by much response to him/her; help him/her to become aware of the various qualities of objects, and to become aware of two as well as one 

Gross Motor

actively move arms and legs; turn body towards object; gradually gain control of back muscles - sit up, with support; try hitting (with up and down arm movement) and shaking (side to side arm movement); bounce his/her body in a rhythmic manner; sit without support; perform much gross motor activity; crawl to get from one place to another; pull him/her self upright, and stand firmly while holding on; crawl up and down steps

activities and objects to stimulate movement; opportunities to perform directed body turns; opportunities to practice sitting up; many objects and toys, so he/she can practice these movements; to become used to gently swaying and other rhythmic movements as he/she is held in caregiver's arms; practice in controlling things around him/her by using his/her body; opportunity to practice these new motor skills; plenty of opportunity to practice moving around, and to learn to make body fit into the space available; opportunities to move around and practice beginning walking; opportunity to practice this skill in a safe environment

change baby's position many times, from back to stomach, place objects (rattle, large plastic ring, etc.) in his/her hand; try to get the infant to adjust his/her body to the movement of the object you are holding so he/she can see it; play exercise games while you hold his/her hands; demonstrate hitting an object against a hard surface, and then pat the surface with your hand, encourage baby to copy you; bounce him/her on your knees, while music is in the background set to the tempo; place attractive toys near him/her, but so that he/she must reach for them; see that he/she has many interesting objects and people to interact with; place baby on a clean rug or blanket that will not move under him/her, creating a safe, attractive area for him/her to move in

Fine Motor

look all around at things, near and far; hold onto objects, look at them, put them in his/her mouth; spend time looking at his/her own hands; bring his/her hands in front of his/her body and hold them together; turn his/her body and grab an object with both hands; be able to hold two toys at once, reaching across his/her body to get the second toy; learn about things by handling them - his/her eyes and hands are learning to work together; put his spoon into his cup and let go of it, hold his/her cup with both hands and drink from it

interesting objects, people, etc. to look at; many and varied articles to play with and hold; time and freedom to do this; opportunity and encouragement to practice this new skill; to practice these coordinating skills; to practice grabbing one object as he/she holds another; to discover the size, shape, weight, feel of things for him/her self; spoons and cups to practice with

move around, try to catch baby's attention; give baby safe objects with interesting shapes that he/she can easily hold; move mobiles and other objects further away, let baby look at his/her hands; hold small, safe objects in front of baby so he/she can grab for them with both hands; let baby play with objects that he must turn toward and reach out for; play toy-passing games using only two toys, extend a toy to the hand that already has a toy; give him many interesting things to look at and explore; show baby how to do this, then let him/her try

Ask Dr. Susan