As your baby gets older she’ll be developing so quickly that you will barely notice the changes. It’s neat to watch her grow and develop, see her personality starting to emerge, and it’s natural to want to help her, but how do you know what she should be capable of by now or what you can do to help her?
She’ll be more mobile than just a few months ago. If she’s not walking, she’ll be shuffling around on her bottom. It’s likely she’ll be able to stand up and sit down without falling over. Stairs will become appealing to her; she’ll need constant watching since she’s not yet able to understand the concept of danger. She’ll be using both hands to hold and move things and may even show a preference, although you won’t be able to tell if she’s going to be left- or right-handed for a while longer. She’ll have a pincer grasp that allows her to pick up small objects and put them into a container. Having mastered the tripod grasp, she’ll be able to hold and bang things together. You’ll also notice that she finds dropping and throwing toys amusing, even if you don’t. Her eyesight is probably as good as yours now and she’ll spend long periods watching the world around her; people, animals and moving objects will be particularly fascinating. She’ll recognize familiar people and will turn at the sound of her name. She’ll also look for hidden objects, understanding that they haven’t ceased to exist just because she can’t see them anymore.
This is a good time to focus on games that will help her motor skills. Gross motor skills are improved by anything she does to move herself or larger objects around. Push and pull toys that help her be more mobile are good. Stacking toys and shape sorters will allow her to improve her dexterity and ability to manipulate objects as well as giving her the opportunity to exercise her problem-solving skills and enabling her to gain a greater understanding of concepts like shape, color, volume and size. Anything that requires her to use her pincer grasp is good for the fine-motor skills, although you may need to teach her it’s not good to practice on people. She’ll enjoy drawing or painting, not necessarily on the paper provided, and the practice in holding and using crayons will pay off when it comes to learning to write later on. It’s never too early to introduce a baby to books, choose hard cover books early on since they may appeal to her more as chew toys at first. Reading to her, or even just talking about the pictures in the book, will help her learn the rhythm and patterns of language, improve her vocabulary and foster her creativity and imagination, a sound foundation she’ll need for later. It will take time for her to learn these skills and praise and encouragement will go a long way to offsetting some of the frustration she feels at not being able to succeed first, second, or even third time.
This is the time when a baby is moving into toddlerhood and, as a parent you have an important role in helping her develop into a happy, healthy child.