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Developmental Stages

Development 6-12 Months

From six months to a year babies continue to develop at speed! They are starting to really show their character and are fascinated by the world around them. You are their favourite people to explore it with.

There are lots of new experiences that happen during this time – like trying solid foods and becoming more mobile.

Babies are becoming more aware that they are a separate little person. They know who they can rely on and like to be with those people best. They might feel a bit more worried in new situations and need you close by. You may also notice they are more aware of their likes and dislikes.

Dive Deeper

Communication

Your baby will have learnt so many ways to communicate with you since they were born. They understand so much more about the world around them. They know they can rely on you.

Crying

Babies learn more each day about how to let you know how they feel and what they need. Your understanding of how they do this will have grown too!

Your baby will still use crying as one of the ways of letting you know they need you. All babies are different and some babies cry more than others.

The days (and nights!) when they cry a lot are always tough though! Remember - all Babies cry, although this doesn't make it easier when your baby is crying, there is advice and support available. 

Read more about crying 

If the crying seems in some way different to you – is high pitched or your baby is making other sounds that you feel worried about then get some advice. Trust your instincts. If you feel worried that something is not right get in touch with your GP or 111 for advice. If their phone lines are busy and you think your baby is seriously ill or getting worse you should call 999.

Gross Motor Physical Development

Gross motor skills are the movements that use big muscle groups. Your baby will already be using these to improve their sitting and rolling skills. They may already be crawling or even taking some first steps!

Your baby will still be getting to grips with sitting as they reach six months so lots of ‘sitting practise’ on the floor will help them build their muscles. Your baby will enjoy playing with their feet too!

  • Spending time on the floor is still one of the best ways for your baby to develop their physical skills. In time they will like to pull up to a stand.
  • Try and be sock free if it is warm enough at home. They can ‘explore’ their toes and it also helps them with the crawling action.
  • When your baby gets frustrated because they can’t quite get to where they want (they often go backwards when they want to got forwards!) be close by to reassure and encourage.

Fine Motor Physical Development

Fine Motor Skills use the small muscles in the hand and wrist. Your baby might already be able to reach for what they want, and hold things as they get more able to use their new skills. 

Your baby is now developing more advanced use of their hands. This gives them lots of new ways to play and explore. Letting them feel and handle different textures builds on their skills and their confidence.

  • Once your child can sit steadily let them have a go at feeding themselves – chunky bits of banana, fingers of toast. 
  • As they get better at this let them try picking up smaller bits of food like chopped soft veg and fruit. This will help work on using their finger and thumb (pincer grasp) to pick things up.
  • Help your baby get used to a plastic cup or beaker for drinks of water. Let them play with it empty first to get used to holding it.
  • Put together a small strong basket or box of toys / safe objects (a shoe box will do) and put it in reach of your baby. They will enjoy emptying it and looking at everything. Swap the things in the box every few days. 

 

Problem Solving Skills

Problem solving skills describes babies beginning to think about and understand their world. As your baby reaches six months and moves towards their first birthday you might be amazed by how many things they know. 

They are starting to realise that things are still there when they are out of sight. You have probably noticed that when you try and hide the remote or your phone from them, they know where to look for it! They will be really enjoying peekaboo games with you.

  • Get a ball and roll it gently for your child – once you have their attention roll it just out of sight. Encourage them to look for it.
  • Point at things you see that will interest your child – be excited and name what you are looking at. Encourage your child to look and point too.
  • Sing action songs with them and look at books – they will start to get excited at their favourite bits! 

Your baby will enjoy routines and knowing what is going to happen next.

Personal & Social Development

Personal and social development is how we describe a baby’s need to learn about who they. They learn about their feelings and their own likes and dislikes. It is about them developing relationships and learning social skills.

Your baby will be more certain of what they like and don’t like. They may be worried by things and people they don’t know well. They will trust you to keep them safe.

Ask any people that make your baby feel worried to move a little way away and give your baby a moment. Cuddle your baby and let them turn away from the person or thing that has worried them until they feel brave enough to take another peek!

Your baby will get more confident if you take their worries seriously. You can help your baby increase their sense of who they are;

  • Make sure you use your babies name when you talk to them. Make up silly songs with their name in too.
  • Sit in front of a big mirror with your baby – name the different parts of their body.
  • Print off some photos of people they know and make them a photo album. You could buy a cheap one or tape pictures into Ziploc bags.

Who can Help?

If you are worried you can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520 631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

Young people aged 11-19 can text Chat Health on 07480 635060.

To speak to other Norfolk parents and carers, you can join our online community forum below.

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