Raise a Happy Baby

9 to 12 months

What Your Baby Learns: She'll integrate all her senses and motor skills to discover how things work, says William H. Staso, Ph.D., author of Neural Foundations: What Stimulation Your Baby Needs to Become Smart. In addition, her word comprehension will explode during this time.

Brain Boosters: Mobile and extremely curious, your baby needs to be able to explore without restriction. Let her open and close cabinets, empty drawers, and dump toy buckets (with your close supervision); these activities will expand her ability to process information. Also, improve her vocabulary by narrating while you play with her ("We're building a tower with blocks") and by reading to her often.

Keep in Mind: Experts say that the high-pitched singsong tone moms use naturally to communicate helps babies learn how to talk and comprehend.

Copyright© 2004. Reprinted with permission from the December 2003 issue of Parents magazine.

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