Your little one is probably moving and shaking right now, and may even be a total chatterbox. Babies at this age tend to show more extensive development of certain skills —- Some children progress more quickly in language; others master physical skills first —- so it’s important to follow your child’s lead. Here’s a look at what may happen this month in the intellectual area.
Why: This month your baby may be wandering (or crawling) all over the house, preferring to explore freely rather than sitting in a sweater or behind a baby gate. Your baby has a better sense of what’s in the room and can expect to find something in each room —- If he hears your voice from another room, he may even come to you. His language skills may be on full display, but his teething may vary from day to day, depending on other things happening in his life, such as teething or illness.
If your baby didn’t have the patience to listen to a longer book last month, try again; he may be more interested now. You may see a preference for certain stories as he develops a preference for colors, images, and the rhythm of the story. He may continue to enjoy anything new.
Your baby may begin to mimic clapping, waving, and nodding, so try these actions —- Tiny clapping hands are one of the cutest milestones!
Progress: Your baby may be closer to instructing “mommy” in the right person, although this milestone may take a month or two to occur. But she may make more recognizable sounds and begin to understand your own language better.
How to help: Ask your baby questions and give him time to think about the answers. You may be surprised to see a gesture that indicates he understands. Baby sign language can also be a useful tool, and your little one is the prime age to start learning one or two signs. Continue to read to your baby, listen to music, and talk to him throughout the day to promote language development. Remember to vary the variety of toys as well as the scenery —- taking walks or playing outside gives your baby a new world to explore.
If your little one is becoming impatient, there are many ways to help. “Your goal is to slowly stretch your baby’s patience, and that takes some time,” says Michelle Borba, a parenting consultant and author of The Complete Parenting Solution: 101 Answers to Your Daily Challenges and Wildest Concerns. “As a general rule, don’t rush to give him what he needs. Try counting to three and handing him the toy. Or put him on your lap and he can learn to sit quietly while you tell him a funny story. Think of a rubber band – your goal is to gently pull your child away from where he is and be patient – maybe two to three seconds – and stretch a little longer without making him mental breakdown,” she explains.
Don’t panic: He hasn’t reached all the milestones mentioned this month —- Your baby is growing at her own pace! Babies can sometimes refuse milk or food, or be too fussy because of teething. (Keep a close eye on her to make sure the hunger strike protests don’t continue, and call the doctor if they do.)
When you should be worried: If your baby is not teething at all, or is usually unresponsive to your attempts to get her to communicate with you, then see your pediatrician.