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6 Months to 1 Year of Age

The second six months of life are another period of amazing accomplishments for your baby. Little legs usually become strong and sturdy enough for baby to stand. Coming from your baby's mouth are words like "mamma," "dada," "bye-bye" and others.

That tiny newborn has grown into a child who looks different and acts different. Starting to assert some independence, he wants to help feed and dress himself. He is very curious about his environment.

One of your most important jobs as a parent during this time is keeping your baby safe. Remember that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." It is up to you to anticipate potentially dangerous situations and keep him out of harm's way. You cannot expect a 9-month-old to know not to drink bleach or put his finger in a light socket. He doesn't yet have those reasoning skills.

Talking to him, singing to him and playing games with him are very important. This is when you should begin teaching your baby his name and the names of objects all around him. He will learn by listening to you. As you are teaching your baby, think about being in a foreign country where you don't know how to speak the language. That's a little bit how your baby's world is. Communication takes a while to learn. Repetition is the key to success.

Physical Development

Characteristic 1-Year Milestones:

  • Drinks from a cup with help and eats finger foods.
  • May eat less, but more frequently.
  • Stacks blocks.
  • Crawls well.
  • Pulls self to a standing position.
  • Stands alone holding onto furniture for support.
  • May begin to walk without adult help.
  • Uses thumb and forefinger to grasp items.

To stimulate development, you can:

  • Provide opportunities for your child to experience new finger foods and drink from a cup.
  • Give your baby blocks for stacking and other toys for grasping and holding. Items should be at least 1 ½ to 2 inches wide.
  • Provide busy boxes and toys to push or pull.
  • Provide wheeled toys without pedals.
  • Play music for listening and movement.
  • Provide a safe area with furniture that is appropriate for your child to practice pulling self to an upright position.

Intellectual and Language Development

Characteristic 1-Year Milestones:

  • Babbling that sounds like talking to express moods, demand attention or refer to objects
  • Saying words, perhaps "mama" and "dada"
  • Imitates sounds and actions you make
  • Responds to simple commands or requests
  • Looks for an object that has fallen or rolled out of sight - memory is developing
  • Responds to music by moving body to the rhythm of the music
  • Likes picture books, likes to be read to
  • Stacks objects or drops them into a container

To stimulate development, you can:

  • Listen to her and talk to her.
  • Play peek-a-boo or pat-a-cake so your child has the opportunity to imitate your actions.
  • Give your child simple commands to follow and encourage her as she carries them out.
  • Hold your child and dance with him.
  • Hold your child and show him picture books with animals, toys and people. Talk to him about what he sees in the pictures and teach him names of objects and animal sounds.
  • Provide stacking toys such as blocks, nesting rings or cups. In addition to stacking, they can be sorted by color, shape and size.

Social/Emotional Development

Characteristic 1-Year Milestones:

  • Recognizes names of family members
  • May demonstrate anxiety when separated from a parent and apprehension toward strangers
  • Cooperates with dressing by holding out an arm or foot
  • Responds to facial expressions and voice tones
  • Enjoys being around other children
  • Is developing a sense of humor
  • Shows interest in feeding self with a spoon
  • Delights in seeing his reflection in a mirror

To stimulate development, you can:

  • Say family member's names to your child.
  • Cuddle and hold your child, speak soothingly, tell her stories or sing to her.
  • As you dress your child, encourage him to help by holding out his arm or foot.
  • Change your facial expression and the tone of your voice to indicate approval or disapproval.
  • Make opportunities for your child to be around other children.
  • Encourage laughter with funny stories.
  • Include child during family mealtime and show her how to use utensils and drink from a cup.
  • Show your child his image in a mirror and point out eyes, nose, mouth and ears.

Appropriate Toys

1 Year Old:

  • Rings on a spindle and blocks or nesting cups to stack. Blocks should be 1 ½ to 2 inches across.
  • Pull toys, push toys, busy boxes, activity boxes and musical toys.
  • Cloth toys, musical toys, bath toys and balls.
  • Cloth books, hard cover books with bright, colorful pictures.
  • Stuffed animals and cuddly toys, and those that make sounds.
  • Mirrors for infants and toddlers.
  • Household items such as measuring cups, plastic containers with lids.
  • Music for listening or for motion (dancing).
  • Wheeled toys without pedals or ride on toys.
  • Nesting toys.
  • Bath toys that float or for filling and emptying.
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