Starting to crawl, feeding himself finger foods, babbling, saying Mama and Dada, and cutting his first teeth—all very exciting! Your baby may not be doing any of these things yet, but he will start soon. Take time to really enjoy whatever progress your baby is making. Celebrate his success.
What Your Baby is Learning
Sitting up by himself and looking around will be one of his favorite activities this month. He can straighten his back and twist his trunk while he sits. He enjoys seeing his world from this new perspective and likes the freedom that sitting unsupported gives him.
Because he can sit by himself and he also has a great interest in food, this is a good time to start giving him finger foods. Cereal-Os and teething biscuits will probably be among the first things he will feed himself.
He may also be ready to start drinking from a cup. When he drinks well from a cup, it won’t be long before he no longer needs a bottle. If he is breastfeeding, he may never take a bottle, but skip directly from breastfeeding to drinking from a cup. A sippy cup, one with a spout and two handles, is often the easiest way for him to begin drinking from a cup by himself. He may have to learn to tip his head back and let the milk pour out the spout and into his mouth.
He will be practicing letting go of objects when he wants to. At first he will have to straighten his whole arm in order to straighten his fingers and open his hand. So he will be “throwing” objects to release them. Then, as he gets better at this, he will begin throwing things to see what happens. These early experiments will teach him about gravity and that objects thrown, always go down and out of reach.
He will continue to explore everything both with his hands and eyes. When he feels an object and looks at it at the same time he is learning to match the look and feel of objects. His hands begin to teach his eyes how to look and understand what they see. His eyes begin to organize his learning. This will be a necessary skill for reading.
He is beginning to understand how objects relate to one another in three-dimensional space. He will begin to stack objects on top of each other. If your baby is looking in a mirror and you suddenly appear behind his image, he will turn to look for you. He no longer will believe that you are in the mirror.
He is babbling lots now. When the adults in his life reward him with smiles, hugs, and clapping, he is encouraged to keep trying to talk. When adults talk to him and expect him to listen to them, he is encouraged to listen and try to copy them. If no one responds to his babbling, he will lose his incentive to talk. Also, if he is entertained before he babbles, he also will lose his incentive to talk. Allow him to “work” at getting your attention sometimes, but don’t wait too long. Find a good balance.
When you give him many different objects, talk to him about what he is doing. Describe what he feels: curved and straight, rough and smooth, heavy and light, big and little, solid and open, all different colors. Give him a few at a time and when he is tired of these, give him some new ones.
Your baby is beginning to have likes and dislikes. He will begin to express his opinion about the things he eats and also the people he sees and hears.
It is time to begin to teach the meaning of the word “no.” When he reaches for something that is not a toy or tries to wiggle off the changing table, say “no” and shake your head. Then try to distract him. When he reaches again or wiggles again, he is not being disobedient or willful. He just doesn’t remember for more than a few seconds at this age. Repeat the process as many times as necessary. This is only the beginning of his learning limits to his behavior.
He is expressing his emotions more clearly now. He smiles and laughs easily when happy, he cries and turns away when he is afraid or doesn’t like something. He may begin to throw kisses to familiar people, especially if he is rewarded with smiles and claps.
Ways You Can Help
Your baby will have an intense urge to explore everything within grasp by feeling and looking at it. He will be contented for brief periods by himself in these activities. Don’t interrupt him, allow him time to explore objects alone.
Because he will be dropping and throwing everything, try tying a few toys to his chair. When he throws them, show him that he can retrieve them by pulling the cord.
He will love playing games with you. Pat-a-cake, This Little Piggy, Hickory, Dickory, Dock, and Peek-a-Boo will all bring smiles. He will be learning about space and time as he matches the sounds with different motions. The sing-song sound of these rhymes help him learn the rhythm of language. But more than all of this, these games give parents and baby time to enjoy each other. Your relationships will grow during these play times.
He likes predictability. He likes playing the same game or reading the same book over and over. Even though he remembers that the jack-in-the-box pops up at the end of the song, he will still laugh every time.
Hide and Seek is a great way to keep your baby occupied. Hide a favorite toy under something and say something like, “Where’s Bunny? Find Bunny.” When he discovers the toy say, “There’s Bunny! Good job!” If he isn’t ready to find it when it is completely hidden, let a part peek out to get his interest.
Until now, when you left the room, your baby didn’t seem to notice. If he could hear you, he was contented. Now he is aware when you leave the room. He can picture you in his mind and he misses you. He may begin to cry as soon as you’re out of sight.
Since he loves predictability, begin a ritual of leaving that he can rely on. Never sneak out while he is preoccupied to prevent a scene. When it is time to go, make your farewells loving, but brief and positive. Tell him you’ll be back shortly. He won’t understand how long you will be gone, but the routine will comfort him during the separation.
This separation anxiety may even spill over to bedtime. Even if he has been sleeping soundly through the night, he may begin to get anxious about being separated from you for the night. Having a regular bedtime routine will provide him the security he needs to fall asleep.
Make sure his routine includes pleasant activities in his bedroom. He should think of his bedroom as a nice place to be, not just the place where he is “banished” at night. When you settle him in bed, tell him you’ll be back to check on him in a few minutes. Soon he will learn to soothe himself and fall asleep before you even go back into his room.
Even when you are away from home, it is good to stick as closely as possible to your usual routine. He will soon be able to fall asleep even in unfamiliar environments.
What to Expect Next
- Combining syllables into word-like sounds
- Waving goodbye
- Standing while holding onto something
A Positive Home
We all get excited when we see our baby learning new things. Rolling over, sitting up, crawling. We tell everyone when we see the first tooth pop up. We love the sloppy kisses and the big smile that breaks through the tears when he catches a glimpse of us after we have been away for a while. We think about the safety of our homes when our little one begins to crawl, cruise, and walk. But we may not realize how important the atmosphere of our home is. Take a few minutes to think about how positive or negative your home is. You can use the points below as a guide.
A positive home is a peaceful home. All homes have tense moments, even tense times, but constant tension suggests unresolved problems. When both parents are working outside the home and dealing with tensions at work, those tensions may be acted out at home. If money is tight or the extended family has problems, tension increases. Knowing the source of these tensions can reduce the disturbing effects on peace in your home. Remember, the normal condition of a healthy home is peace, not tension.
A positive home is a joyful home. Depression, worry, and anger can lead to name-calling, isolation, and harsh punishment. (Note: If either parent has problems with anger, seek help now before your child gets any older.) But joy is the normal condition of a healthy home. Laughter and overall happiness energize the family.
A positive home is a place of positive attention. Rewarding success and good behavior goes much further than punishing failure or bad behavior. Children want to live up to your best opinion of them. Don’t let discouraging words be what your children remember most about you. Comfort your children, encourage them, listen to them. Reward creativity, too.
A positive home is a fair home. Favoritism can result in serious sibling rivalry. Different personalities attract or repel, but treatment of our children should be fair. One member of the family may need more attention, care, or provisions than the others at times. But if everyone knows that their needs will be met, resentment won’t grow. Guard your heart against favoritism or partiality.
A positive home has good communication. Distraction is a disease of our fast-paced lifestyle. Television or computers often take the place of communication. And computer addiction is growing. They may be used as a way to avoid others in the family and they can dictate the family schedule. Good communication is more than please, thank-you, and I’m sorry. It is also talking about what is important to each one. Practice ways to communicate about the things that matter. A positive home has lots of good conversation.
A positive home is full of love. Love your spouse. Be the example your children need of love, care, respect, and faithfulness. Love is seeing what we can do to help and doing it. Children thrive in an atmosphere of love.
Every family can be negative in one area or another or at one time or another. But we don’t have to stay that way. We all have a part to play. Every home can become more positive. So, seek ways to become more positive. Your children will thrive in a positive home environment and you will enjoy your family even more.