Your Baby's Intellectual Development: Month 8

Around the 8-month mark, babies start to show a wider variety of developmental milestones. Here's an idea of what you can look forward to right now.

Baby clapping Blend Images/Shutterstock

Your little one is likely moving and shaking by now, and may even be a total chatterbox. Babies at this age tend to show a wider range in their development of certain skills -- some make faster strides with language; some master physical skills first -- so it's important to follow your baby's lead. Here's a look at what might be happening on the intellectual front this month.

What to expect: Baby might be roaming (or crawling) around the house this month, preferring the freedom to explore over being contained in a jumper or behind baby gates. Your baby is getting a better sense of where things are in the house and what he can expect to find in each room -- and he may even come to find you if he hears your voice from another room. His language skills are likely on full display, but his babbling still might vary from day to day, depending on other things happening in his life, such as teething or illness.

If Baby didn't have the patience to listen to longer books last month, try again; he might be more interested now. You'll likely see a preference for certain stories emerge as he develops a preference for colors, images, and the cadence of the story. He will likely continue to enjoy anything new.

Your baby might start to mimic clapping, waving, and nodding his head, so try these motions -- tiny clapping hands are one of the cutest milestones yet!

Progression: Baby may get closer to directing that "mama" at the right person, though that milestone may take another month or two to happen. But she'll likely utter more recognizable sounds and start to understand your own language better.

How to help: Ask your baby questions and give him time to consider an answer. You may be surprised to see a gesture that indicates his understanding. Baby sign language can also be a helpful tool and your wee one is at a prime age to start learning a sign or two. Continue to read books to your baby, listen to music, and talk to him throughout the day to foster language development. Remember to change up the assortment of toys as well as the scenery -- walking or playing outside gives Baby a new world to explore.

If your little guy is becoming impatient, there are ways to help. "Your goal is to slowly stretch your baby's patience, which will take some time," 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. "In general, don't be too quick to rush to give him what he needs. Try counting to three and then handing him the toy. Or put him on your lap and somewhere he can learn to sit quietly as you read him a fun story. Think of a rubber band -- your goal is to gently stretch your child from where he was, patience-wise -- maybe two to three seconds -- to a little bit longer, without snapping his spirit," she explains.

Don't freak out if: He's not hitting all of the milestones mentioned this month -- your baby is developing at her own pace! Baby might also refuse milk or food at times or she may be overly fussy due to teething. (Keep an eye on her to ensure the hunger strike doesn't persist and call the doctor if it does.)

When you should you worry: If Baby isn't babbling at all or is generally unresponsive to your attempts to get her to engage with you, check in with your pediatrician.

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