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9–12 Months: Your Baby’s Development

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Babies are becoming good communicators as they get closer to turning 1 year old. This makes it a delightful time for parents.

Babies can use their actions and sounds to let loved ones know what they want, like handing a book to a parent so that she’ll read it aloud. How does your 9- to 12-month-old baby “tell” you what he wants?

What Your Baby Can Do What You Can Do
I can understand more words than I can say. Name things your baby looks at or points to. Tell your baby what is happening and what you will do next.
I can creep and crawl. Give your baby lots of time and a safe place to practice new skills.
I know that things still exist even though I can’t see them—especially you! Be sure to say goodbye to your baby so he learns to build trust in you.
I love to do things over and over again. Help your child take the next step in her play.

Spotlight on How Babies Connect Thoughts and Actions

Between 9 and 12 months, babies take action with a goal in mind. For example, your child may crawl off as fast as he can when he sees you holding a clean diaper. He doesn’t want a diaper change, so he crawls away to avoid it! It’s important to understand that babies don’t do this to make us angry. They simply want to make their needs and feelings known. These purposeful actions also show that babies have developed a better memory. They remember that they don’t like lying still or feeling those cold, wet wipes!

What You Can Do

  • Show your child how cause- and-effect works, like letting her press the doorbell or turn on the light switch.
  • Follow your baby’s lead. Notice what your child is interested in and let him (safely) explore an object in his own way.
  • Encourage your baby to use all her senses to learn. Let her touch an ice cube. Notice when it melts. Crinkle leaves in your hands and see what happens. Let her shake a plastic container of dry rice and one full of dry beans. How do they sound different?
  • Child-proof yet again! Now that babies have a goal in mind, like touching the television remote, they are harder to distract. Make your home child-safe so you spend more time playing, and less time saying No.

Download Your Baby’s Development: 9–12 Months.


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