By Audra Richards, Wood’s Homes Program Manager
During this time your infant will be learning how to crawl, walk (holding onto furniture or by themselves), copy actions and try words, as well as begin eating solid foods. By this time, your infant will have a preference for you, their primary caregiver, over others.
Some activities you can do to help support your infants’ development during this time are:
Talking and singing songs to your infant. Your infant will babble a lot during this time, so this is an important step in language learning. You can support this by talking back to your infant and making sounds when they make sounds. This shows the back and forth exchange that occurs when people communicate through language. Singing songs that include simple actions such as “You are my Sunshine” and “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” are helpful in supporting language development, as well as body movement and control development (gross motor and fine motor development).
Exposing your infant to different textures is a good way to develop their sense of touch. The different textures could include touching soft, smooth and rough or bumpy textures such as velvet, fake fur or a scarf made of silk. Rough or crinkly textures could be a rubber mat or a stuffed toy with different textures to it.
Infants between the ages of 6-12 months will be more mobile and curious than ever before, and it is important to support and encourage this by giving your infant opportunities to explore. An activity that many infants enjoy is to play with household items such as Tupperware containers (putting the lids on and taking the lids off), as well as making noise with the containers by banging the them together.
A great way to assist your infant in learning to crawl is to place a toy or object they like in front of them just out of reach while they are on their stomach and encouraging them to reach and push with their feet to get to it. Be sure to give them lots of praise for trying! You can also support them by putting your hands behind their feet to assist them in pushing themselves up on their knees.
You can assist your infant in learning to stand and walk by putting a toy object just above their reach on a piece of sturdy furniture (sofa). This, in turn, encourages them to reach for their toy by pulling themselves up on the furniture. You can also hold their hands and help them to walk to another caregiver a few steps away. As your child becomes stronger and more able, only hold one hand and then keeping your hands close by them as they try to take a step by themselves.
Allowing your child to explore these activities is a great way to build your attachment by sharing in the excitement of your baby’s discoveries! Crawling away from you and back again means your baby’s curious and confident, but still needs you to reassure them. Praise them for their achievements no matter how small, as it builds their confidence and you want to encourage progress.
Please stay tuned for the next entry which will include developmental milestones for children age 1-2 years!
Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your friends, family and community – let’s work together!