Learning cause-and-effect relationships, gesturing, and language development are on Baby's agenda this month.
Baby may be sitting, crawling, and moving around the house and with that increased mobility will come a better understanding of how the world works -- and how he works in it. He may start or continue to string together consonants and you might see him gesture for what he wants. Here are some other intellectual highlights to look for this month.
What to expect: As Baby becomes more mobile, you may be able to watch her figure things out for herself. Does she change the way that she crawls depending on the type of floor that she's on? Is she reaching for toys and adjusting her positioning when she realizes that they are out of her grasp? Behind these physical motions is a growing understanding of how best for her to be in the world.
Baby's language development may flourish this month as your chatterbox strings together long babbling sentences. "Babbles are the foundation of speech and well as language acquisition," says Michele Borba, Ed.D., a Parents advisor and author of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions. "And the best way to help your child acquire language is just naturally speaking to her. Point things out, explain what you are doing, and give each object a name. Your child will tune into your voice and will begin to mimic the sounds," she says. Try responding to Baby's speeches as you would to a normal conversation (pausing when it's her turn and so on) to reinforce her learning. Your little one might also show signs of understanding short phrases such as "no" or "let's go" and may listen intently to new or sudden sounds.
If your little one reaches for you, she may want help standing up or to be picked up. (She may also simply be going through a phase where she is demanding more of your attention.) The more you react to what your baby wants, the better she'll be at letting you know his desires.
Progression: Baby may make more recognizable sounds as the month goes on (though it may still be another month or two before she is able to direct that "dada" to the right person). You may also be able to start to recognize the meaning behind different sounds as your baby gets better at letting you know when he's tired, hungry, or frustrated.
How to help: Continue to name objects as you go about your day and read to your baby. Baby might also enjoy taking things out of boxes or baskets, exploring a low shelf or cupboard, or trying to fit one toy into another. "Babies are easy to please -- they don't need pricey toys -- and they love things around the house! Put the laundry basket on the floor and dump out a few socks. Show baby how to pick each one up and put it back in the basket like it's a game," Dr. Borba says. "Your goal isn't to have your child learn how to do the laundry -- just to mimic your actions. Keep things fun! All of these activities will help her sort out the world around her."
Don't freak out if: Your baby starts to show signs of separation anxiety. If he becomes distraught when you leave the room, continue to talk to him so he'll know you're nearby.
When you should you worry: If your baby isn't making any noises, showing interest in things around her, or seems unable to focus on objects or toys, call your doctor.
Playing With Baby: Memory Building Activities
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