keep in mind that all babies are unique. Whether your baby
reaches milestones early or late, she has her own developmental
path to follow. The dividing lines between these months are
very fuzzy. If you have any concerns or questions about your
baby’s development, please check with her health care provider.
Maybe this scenario is familiar...
you are at your child’s weekly playgroup, watching your child
play alongside another child of about the same age. Your child
is playing with a particular toy that the other child is eyeing.
Inevitably, the other child reaches for it, grabbing on tight
and pulling away. Your child lets out an angry squeal and
looks to you for help. You and the other parent jump in. One
of you offers, "Let’s try to share."
These children are still what developmental
experts refer to as "egocentric." The children honestly believe
that the world revolves around them and are incapable of taking
another perspective. So, unfortunately, their diplomatic skills
have not been honed -- they do not understand how to share.
That doesn’t mean that it is a
waste of time for you to explain to your child that she’ll
have to wait to use a toy or tell her why it is not okay to
take a toy from another child. It is through experience and
their interactions with others that children learn. Right
now, it is their job to pursue their interests -- explore
the world. And this is accomplished through play.
The first way your baby played,
before she became the mobile wonder that is now, is through
her observations of others. This happened every time you propped
her in a bouncy seat in front of another person (including
you). Even though she was not playing directly with the other
children or playing with the toys in the same manner, she
was actively participating though her observations.
Soon after children learn to sit
and become more adept with their fingers, they engage in the
next kind of play known as parallel play. An example of this
type of play is the scenario described above. Even though
they are not playing with each other, sitting side by side,
they study each other’s interactions with toys, verbalize
(to themselves) and learn from each other’s ideas.
Similar to the scene described
above, if a girl is playing with a truck, chances are another
child will want to play with the same truck. The trick is
for parents to learn the delicate balance between supporting
their play and preventing the oh-so-common altercations over
a toy. One way is to make sure when you are hosting playgroups
that you have more than one of particular types of toys, such
as trucks, balls and puzzles, available.
It is important not to rush your
child through this type of play. Children naturally move out
of parallel play with the foundation for successful cooperative
play and the ability to begin understanding the concept of
sharing and negotiating.
Almost Walking and Shoes?
Every parent gives a sigh of relief
when they see their kid make those first monumental steps.
There is a range of ages for when children start to walk.
Some start as early as 10 months (we feel for parents of these
kids) while others aren’t ready until closer to 16 or 17 months.
Whatever the age, you have probably been given advice on how
to support children making their first steps including whether
or not they should wear shoes.
Generally, the consensus among
the experts is to either put them in shoes when they are cruising
along furniture or soon after they start walking. Try to find
shoes that are soft-soled and flexible so that the child’s
foot can still grip to keep from slipping. If you can, keep
your child barefoot, weather and terrain permitting, as long
as possible to help strengthen foot, ankle and leg muscles
as well as provide the best surface for gripping when trying
to walk. Most parents buy shoes a little earlier than needed
-- it is hard to resist. But keep in mind, children’s feet
can grow a size up in as little as six weeks.
Sorting, Stacking, Classifying
If you have ever left a new pile
of laundry in a basket in front of baby, you may have found
one of the age old tricks for entertaining baby. At this age,
they are fascinated by removing objects, comparing sizes and
shapes, putting objects back where they found them (okay .
. . maybe not yet) and sorting out different kinds of objects.
If you don’t want to use the family
laundry basket for this activity, you can purchase stacking
and sorting toys to quench this interest. You may even get
a few treasured moments to sip your coffee while baby quietly
plays and figures out which hole the square block fits in
Chickenpox Vaccine or Not?
At next months exam, your child
is up to bat for the chicken pox vaccine. This relatively
new vaccine offers protection from the childhood ailment that
many of us remember. We even have a few scars to remind us
of the experience. But then again, the question amongst parents
is if it is better to get this disease and build up the natural
immunity? This is a complicated subject and a personal decision
that you need to discuss with your child’s healthcare provider.
Always Time for a Good Book
Even very active babies enjoy some
down time by sitting in mommy’s or daddy’s lap and reading
a good book. Their way of reading may include turning the
pages, pointing to objects, participating by lifting flaps
or sticking little fingers through holes, or the occasional
munch on the corner of the book.
Just because her whole interaction
with reading the book may last only seconds, doesn’t mean
she isn’t benefiting from the experience. That is about the
length of her attention span right now. Continue reading to
her and you may discover as she gets older she’ll sit for
She is probably developing favorites
written about things that interest her -- and you are probably
reading the same ones over and over. When she points to a
word or stops at a page, say the words slowly. She will probably
not repeat these words but that doesn’t mean they are not
being absorbed. With the consistent experiences of reading
books with loving parents and childcare providers, not only
will reading help her cognitive skills, including language
acquisition, but she’ll regard reading in itself as a pleasurable