Month-by-Month Guide to Baby's Emotional Development

Your baby's emotional development will grow by leaps and bounds during this remarkable first year. She'll go from quiet observation to active participation. Here's what she's likely to do as she grows.

Month 1

  • Makes eye contact
  • Cries for help
  • Responds to parents' smiles and voices

Month 2

  • Begins to develop a social smile
  • Enjoys playing with other people and may cry when play stops
  • Prefers looking at people rather than objects
  • Studies faces
  • Gurgles and coos in response to sounds around her
  • First begins to express anger

Month 3

  • Starts a "conversation" by smiling at you and gurgling to get your attention
  • Smiles back when you smile at him. The big smile involves his whole body -- hands open wide, arms lift up, legs move
  • Can imitate some movements and facial expressions

Month 4

  • Is intrigued by children. Will turn toward children's voices in person or on TV
  • Laughs when tickled and when interacting with others
  • Cries if play is disrupted

Month 5

  • Becomes increasingly assertive
  • Can differentiate between family members (parents and siblings) and strangers
  • Likes to play during meals

Month 6

  • May quickly tire of a toy but will never tire of your attention
  • Temperament becomes increasingly apparent. You'll see whether she tends to be easygoing or easily upset; gentle or active
  • Recognizes his own name
  • Coos for pleasure and cries with displeasure
  • Can make noises like grunts and squeals; clicks his tongue

Month 7

  • Starts to understand the meaning of "no"
  • Enjoys social interaction
  • Expresses anger more strongly
  • Tries to mimic adult sounds

Month 8

  • Can differentiate between familiar and unfamiliar
  • May become shy or anxious with strangers
  • Cries in frustration when he can't reach a toy or do something he wants to do

Month 9

  • Imitates gestures that other people make
  • Looks at correct picture when an image is named
  • Smiles and kisses own image in the mirror
  • Likes to play near parent (i.e., in kitchen while Mom is cooking)
  • May be more sensitive to the presence of other children

Month 10

  • Separation anxiety may begin
  • Self-esteem begins to develop
  • Responds to positive recognition such as clapping
  • Becomes cautious of heights
  • Shows moods such as sad, happy, and angry

Month 11

  • Tries to gain approval and avoid disapproval
  • Can be uncooperative

Month 12

  • May have temper tantrums
  • Can fluctuate between being cooperative and uncooperative
  • Shows a developing sense of humor
  • May cling to parents or one parent in particular

Copyright © 2001 Reviewed 2008.

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