Constantly watching your baby to protect her as she explores is exhausting work. Remember to have fun with her too. Take this opportunity to show her interesting and beautiful things. Let her smell the flowers and feel the pebbles in the pond. Enjoy creation with your little one while she sees it for the first time.
What Your Baby is Learning
Your 10 month old is able to move around fast these days. Although she may have been crawling for a month of so, she is lightening fast at it now. She may be crawling upstairs too.
She is probably pulling herself up to her feet and cruising around with the help of the furniture. Again, she is much faster at this than she was just a short while ago. She is probably trying to let go and stand briefly by herself. She can “walk” while being held by her hands. Since her goal is to reach a toy or something else that interests her, she may let go of your hand and try to snag a toy as she walks with help. Most babies take their first steps between 9 and 12 months.
She no longer tolerates lying on her back except when she is asleep. She quickly rolls over or sits up. She can turn to either side and lean at almost any angle to reach a toy and then sit up straight again.
She can now hold out her arm or leg to help you dress her. She may be able to drink from a cup by herself, but she probably cannot put the cup back on the table gently.
10 month olds have mastered the pincer grip. She can pick up and hold even tiny crumbs between her thumb and forefinger. She doesn’t need the help of her other fingers or to rest her wrist to steady her hand.
Her index finger is getting very skillful. Where she could only put her index finger into a tiny crack or hole, now she is poking and prying with it. She wants to find out what is inside the hole. If she can enlarge the hole, she will work at it to get a better look inside. She is beginning to learn about the third dimension. She now points with her index finger and makes demanding sounds to get what she wants.
10 month olds still frequently bring objects to their mouth to explore them with her lips and tongue. But more and more she is using her hands and eyes to learn about the objects around her. She may closely examine one detail and then the next, seemingly more systematic in her attention to details.
She is saying, “mama” and “dada” regularly now. She uses them differently now. When she needs something, she will say, “mama” or “mum mum mum.” She will say this to anyone around who may be able to help her. When her need is satisfied, she will say, “dada.” She does not relate these words to a person yet. But she has learned that if she says, “mamama,” many times her needs are magically met.
The goal of this period is to increase her language learning. Although she cannot say words, she can respond appropriately to words spoken to her. She should stop what she is doing at the word “no.” She may wave at the word “bye” and try to clap at “pat-a-cake.” Say the names of objects she touches or points to. Don’t just repeat her baby talk, but use proper words so she can learn them. Give her a play-by-play description of anything you are doing to her. Describe her bath and meal time and play, so she can identify key words and phrases. Soon she will begin to try to say the words she hears often.
When she rattles off a long string of gibberish, tell her, “That’s interesting. Tell me more.” She’ll probably try another long sentence when she sees you like to hear her talk.
Language is a major key to the child’s future mental life. It has a powerful effect on intelligence. The first two years of life are probably the most important two years in her life.
Your 10 month old may begin to parallel play with other children. She won’t be able to actually play “with” another child, but she will play contentedly alongside another child. Encourage her to develop her social skills in this way. She is too young to understand friendship, but this is the very first stage in social development.
Ways You Can Help
Your 10 month old may seem almost driven to learn. She wants to learn as much as possible as quickly as possible. She will want to see what is on the other side of the wall or under the chairs or across the room.
During her explorations she may get stuck at a dead end. She may never have crawled in reverse except by accident. She may get frustrated and begin to cry.
You could just rescue her and lift her out of the problem and fuss over her. But if you do that, you short-circuit her learning and she may begin to fear new situations. The better response is to comfort her with your voice and hand and help her solve her problem by gently coaxing her backwards until she is free. Then praise her for her bravery and for her new lesson learned.
She needs to experience various distances between objects in order to learn the basic lessons about judging distance and time.
Games for Language Development
The mirror game
Both mom and baby need to be facing a mirror. Point to your baby’s reflection in the mirror and call her by name. Then change your voice a little and say, “Where’s (her name)? Can you find (her name)?” Teach her to point at her image in the mirror when you ask where she is. Play this game often until she recognizes herself and points to herself each time.
Stretch out a long shoelace on the table or floor near your baby. Pull the shoelace towards you and say, “I’m pulling the string.” Then stretch it out again and try to get her to pull the shoelace. Say, “You are pulling the string.” When she gets the idea, tie a toy fish on the far end of the shoelace. When she pulls on the shoelace this time you say, “You are pulling the string. Here comes the fish!” You are supplying the language to describe what she is doing. She will see and understand the connection between the string and the fish.
You are not only teaching her a new game to play, but you are teaching the concept pull and the word “pull” to describe the action. You can make up similar games to teach “push” and “turn.”
What to Expect Next
- Stands alone for a couple of seconds
- Imitates other’s activities
- Puts objects in a container
Temperament is how we think about and react to our environment. A baby’s temperament can be seen in her eating and sleeping patterns, in her sociability or shyness, in her approach to play or quiet. Temperament is largely inborn. In other words, characteristics of temperament you see in your baby will continue throughout life.
By 10 months you can get a pretty accurate picture of her temperament. Observe her actions and attitudes in different situations. Look at overall patterns, not just isolated instances. Watch her through a few different developmental stages. You will begin to see she is more outgoing in a group or more contented when alone. She may be high-energy or more calm. She may be more fascinated by things or by people.
Don’t label your baby or criticize her for these natural characteristics. Don’t make her think you consider her flawed or bad. And carefully watch what you say about her temperament when with other people. You cannot change your baby’s natural temperament, although you can encourage certain behaviors that may help her better relate to her world.
For example, if your baby seems excessively shy, it is important to let her know you understand and sympathize with her. Don’t label her shy or criticize her shyness. Instead encourage her and when she behaves in a way that is more confident with other people, in verbal and non-verbal ways let her know you noticed her effort and you are proud of her. In this way, you can help her in areas of weakness in her temperament.
Discipline is instruction or training which corrects, molds, and strengthens. Punishment, on the other hand, forces obedience or order. Good discipline is helping your baby grow and learn and develop. Punishment is keeping baby from bothering you.
For the 10 month old:
It is time to start setting limits. You are not a mean mom when you make her sit in a car seat instead of your lap or not drink a bottle just before dinner. These are limits for her safety and health.
Although she understands the meaning of “no,” she may purposely choose to ignore you now. It’s better to use “no” sparingly. Use it when you want her to stop and reinforce it by diverting her attention. Then when you need to set important limits it will carry more weight. Right now her desire to explore is stronger than her desire to listen to your warnings. What seems like defiance, however, is her insatiable curiosity at work.
You do not want to stifle her curiosity, yet you do not always want to be saying “no.” Instead of leaving valuable, breakable things where your 10 month old can get to them, put them away for now. Replace them with things that you don’t mind her exploring. Constantly saying “no” and smacking her hand is punishment. It will force her to obey. She will comply. But better to let her satisfy her curiosity now with safe things and keep “no” for serious limitations. There will still be plenty of things you will need to say “no” to without purposely leaving treasures around. She is too young to learn to respect things that belong to other people.
For now, begin to think of discipline as helping baby learn that limits are part of our world. None of us gets her own way all the time. Discipline is teaching, not punishing.
Heavenly Father, I am having to begin to teach my baby limits. It is hard to keep a quiet, peaceful spirit when I have to say “no” many times each day. Help me remember the reason I say “no” is for her safety and her good, not because I’m mean. May I always remember that the reason You say “no” to me is for my safety and my good, not because You are mean. In Jesus’ Name, Amen