Your Baby's Intellectual Development: Month 12
As your baby approaches one of her biggest milestones yet -- her first birthday -- she'll continue to transform from a baby into a toddler.
Your little one will probably show a stronger urge to be involved in the world around her this month as she's better able to understand the sequence of events that are required to complete specific tasks. It's also a good month to recommit yourself to narrating the day to help foster language development in your tiny tot.
What to expect: As she did last month, Baby will be able to comprehend a lot of what you say, which is why it remains extremely important to continue talking to her throughout the day. She may or may not have started to speak real words by this point, but either way, narrating the events of the day as they happen is a great way to help with language acquisition. "Keep talking to Baby and watching her -- does she respond to simple words or phrases such as 'Where's daddy?' or 'doggy?' as you point to them, says Michele Borba, Ed.D., a Parents advisor and author of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries. By this age, most babies will turn toward the object that you point to or mention if they are familiar with it and some may even point a finger to it themselves.
For the past few months, your little lady may have enjoyed knocking things over (and over), but you might see a change this month as she starts to realize that she can put things together. Give her a chance to try stacking blocks herself if you've been in the habit of doing it for her.
Progression: By the end of this month, your baby might be speaking a few words and may recognize and respond to even more. As Baby's comprehension of the world around him deepens, he might have bouts of fussiness, clinginess, or separation anxiety as he seeks something familiar in the midst of the changes that he's going through.
How to help: Read to Baby regularly and chat with her as you go about your day. "Look for books with simple, colorful objects and no-tear plastic pages," Dr. Borba recommends. "Babies of this age tend to love books that offer surprises such as pages that make sounds or that open up to have hidden objects behind them," she explains. Your baby may insist on reading the same books repeatedly -- and may not let you even open a book that she's not interested in hearing.
Baby will also love exploring -- opening cabinets and drawers, flipping and turning pages and objects over -- and has a great need for new experiences and environments. Try to spend time in different rooms of the house, as well as outdoors, and set up playdates with similarly aged babies so that she can learn from her peers. Always be sure that anywhere you allow your child to play is babyproofed to reduce the likelihood of injury.
Don't freak out if: Your baby doesn't point or speak a real word. This happens in the next few months, so it's no cause for concern. Each baby progresses at his own pace and your baby may be proficient in very different things than his little friends.
When you should you worry: If Baby is listless, weak, or suddenly seems to be having a hard time with balance or focus, call your doctor. You should also worry if Baby doesn't follow your pointing or eye contact.
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