Baby’s First Year: A Mesmerizing Adventure of Growth and Discovery!
Client families know that the nannies we represent are not only experienced and professional, but knowledgeable about the various developmental milestones that children experience. Monitoring these milestones determines whether a child’s development is on track, and can provide warning signs for developmental delays. It also can explain children’s behavior (what is healthy development versus concerning), and give you direction for age-appropriate activities to reach those milestones.
Milestones can be social/emotional, language/communication, cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving, or movement/physical development (or a combination). Here are some key milestones to be aware of over these first 12 months, although there are many more.
- 1-3 Months: Smile, raise their head and chest when on their tummy, and reach for and grip objects
- 4-6 Months: Roll over from front to back or back to front, babble, laugh, manipulate toys and other objects, sit up with support
- 7-9 Months: Start to crawl or scoot, sit without support, respond to words like their name, clap, pull up to a standing position
- 10-12 Months: Begin feeding themselves, holding small objects, move around the room while holding onto furniture, say one or two words (often Mama and/or Dada), point at options, begin pretend play, and take their first steps (around 1 yr, but varies)
While each child is on their own pace, and there is no formula to make sure each child hits every milestone on time, there are some ways to encourage baby’s development in that first year, including:
- Give them time and (safe) space to move. If you’re sitting to fold laundry, let baby lie down near you free of any equipment. Tummy time helps babies develop strength in their neck, shoulders, arms and trunk that they need to roll, crawl and walk (limit time spent in “equipment” such as bouncers, infant seats, swings).
- Provide loving touch like cuddling and tickling.
- Encourage them to grab a toy just out of reach.
- Provide toys and activities with different sounds, textures and colors; different shapes also build different muscles and build dexterity.
- Give them praise and encouragement for attempting something new.
- Use consistent communication by calling things the same name (e.g., the dog, doggy, puppy, their name). The more you talk to them, the more incentive you give them to want to communicate right back. When you talk to them, waiting for them to respond helps to teach them about the rhythms and give-and-take of conversation, even if they aren’t quite ready to talk back yet.
- Making eye contact when you talk to them as a way to grow social skills.
Watching those precious little humans grow and reach their milestones is such a wonderful journey. Remember, there’s no need to stress about babies hitting every milestone right on time. Every child is unique and will blossom at their own pace. The important thing is to provide them with a nurturing and stimulating environment, shower them with love, and celebrate every step they take towards growth and development. So, enjoy the ride, cherish the moments, and let those cuties amaze you with their brilliance!