Developmental Milestones: 6 – 12 Months
Babies are really starting to show interest in their new surroundings and know/recognise their main carers. They are gaining rapidly in confidence, but may face anxiety or separation fears when left.
Experimenting together with noises and actions is highly entertaining, especially when mimicking others. This is a great age to converse with your baby – by listening to your language and noise making, your baby will soon be picking up the sounds and trying hard to copy you.
As muscles are getting stronger now babies will start to sit, crawl, stand and may take their first steps. Hand-eye coordination is developing – finding their hands and feet is always a popular activity. Mark-making using a chunky crayon or some finger paints is ideal for this age group.
Please keep in mind that these milestones are guidelines only, as all children are different and develop at their own pace. Do not be concerned if your child does not perfectly ‘tick all the boxes’ and avoid comparing your child to other children of a similar age. If you are worried that your child’s development is particularly delayed, visit your GP.
- Trial and error learning is the most basic form of logic. Babies are starting to experiment around this age and love getting a reaction to something they have done. Building a tower of bricks for them to knock over always gets a smile!
- This age group are trying to make different noises and soon know how to get their care-giver’s attention
- Their own attention is fleeting and they enjoy the surprise of novelty as their short term memory is not yet developed, so out of sight is very much out of mind
- Babies are beginning to become more aware of other people around them and enjoy being around people. They will start to smile socially and they will love getting a reaction back, encouraging them to do this again and again
- Infants enjoy looking in mirrors and observing facial expressions
- Around this age children can adjust their crying depending on their individual needs
- Children can become fearful of strangers and show signs of anxiety and distress when separated from their comfort zone. Cuddly toys, clothes or cloths can be provided as emotional support to a child
- Big muscles develop first and help support babies as they learn to sit, stand, and eventually walk, however, balance is still very unstable at this stage.
- Thumb apposition (where the thumb can face and touch another finger) doesn’t happen until around 7-11 months so children benefit from activities that can still be done with the whole hand but which encourage pincer movements with the thumb and fingers
- Infants will begin to sit up and support their own body, this allows arms to be free to use in play activities and to develop arm muscles and basic hand-eye coordination
- Children often start to crawl around now which strengthens their gross motor skills as well as developing postural control
- They will be gaining physical strength and even more control over their movements adapting these to their current environment
- Children who initiate communication with others have a head start in social development over more passive children
- Much of the communication at this age is non-verbal, but the beginning of babbling is the start of meaningful verbal communication
- When children start babbling, parents can respond encouragingly to give positive reinforcement
- Mark-making using chunky crayons, chalk, or large paintbrushes will stimulate fine motor skill development whilst also allowing the baby to start realising that his/her actions have a ’cause and effect’ reaction
- Manipulating materials (e.g. squelching mashed potato or hand printing) will help children begin to understand that they can create things themselves and change the appearance of something by pulling, squeezing or prodding it
- They love to create patterns by dipping their hands in paint and dragging them across some paper
- They will observe the effects of actions, for example, what happens if they drop a toy
- Being able to sit up by themselves will enable babies to explore their world more
- Babies will enjoy interacting with others and will form attachments to familiar individuals (parents, siblings, grandparents)