As your baby grows, she’ll be developing so quickly that you’ll barely notice the changes. It’s fun to watch your child get older and see her personality starting to emerge. It’s also natural to want to help her through her development, but how do you know what she should be capable of by now or what you can do to help her?
Your child will 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 capable of understanding 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 your child 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 an excellent time to focus on games that will help her to develop 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 to be more mobile are helpful. Stacking toys and shape sorters will allow her to improve her dexterity skills and the ability to manipulate objects. This will also allow her to exercise problem-solving skills while enabling her to gain a greater understanding of concepts such as shape, color, volume, and size.
Anything that requires your child to use her pincer grasp is useful for developing fine-motor skills, although you may need to teach her it’s not okay 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 hardcover books early on since they may appeal to her more as chew toys at first. Reading to your child, or even just talking about the pictures in the book, will help her learn the rhythm and patterns of language, improve vocabulary and foster creativity and imagination, a sound foundation she’ll need later. It will take time for your child 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 the first, second, or even the third time.
This is the developmental period when your baby is moving into toddlerhood, and as a parent, you have a significant role in helping your baby grow into a happy, healthy child.