Your baby’s memory is getting better all the time. A few months ago every day was like a totally fresh start, but now they recognise lots of familiar faces (even relatives they haven’t seen for a month), they remember their toys, and can figure out they’re going to the park just by the route you take with the buggy.
At a glance
- They remember their toys, and can figure out they’re going to the park just by the route you take with the buggy
- Some babies may be trying out a few words by now; others may be waiting until they feel more confident
- Giving your baby a blow-by-blow description of what you're doing is also a good idea to encourage language
Your baby will repeat sounds, gesture for your attention and may wave goodbye when they see you head for the door. They are really beginning to understand much of what you say to them – perhaps even simple instructions like ‘please pass me the ball’ - even if they can’t say much yet.
Your baby's personality is really emerging now. Their social skills are blossoming and they might give broad smiles to everyone they meet. Or they may be a little shy, hiding their face when well-meaning strangers try to chat. They’re developing a real mind of their own – especially when they don’t fancy getting into their car seat or buggy and instead do their very best impersonation of a plank of wood...
Did you say Mama?
Some babies may be trying out a few words by now; others may be waiting until they feel more confident. Studies show the average age for a first word is 10-11 months. Somewhat annoyingly for mums, Dada is usually first.
What’s that noise?
Sometimes around now some babies become scared of sounds that never used to bother them, such as the doorbell, vacuum cleaner, washing machine or your phone. All you can do is comfort them and reassure them they’re fine and that you’re here.
How to help
If they’re trying to say a word and haven’t quite got it, nod and repeat the correct word back – ‘yes, that’s right, it’s your car’. Encourage and praise their efforts rather than point out mistakes
- Your baby may now understand the concept of role-play, so choose something from your cupboards or toys like plastic food and tools, to inspire pretend play and enhance your baby’s imagination
Giving your baby a blow-by-blow description of what you're doing is also a good idea to encourage language, whether you're chopping onions for dinner or folding the laundry. When you put them in the buggy to go out, say, "There you go, into your blue pushchair. Now let's buckle you in and get you comfortable. OK, we're off to the park"
They’ll love action songs that link words and gestures now, such as Pat-a-Cake Pat-a-Cake or This Little Piggy
Their pincer movement is pretty good now, so toys with moving parts, such as wheels, levers, or doors that open and close will be a big hit. Big plastic cars that your baby can roll around on the floor are fun toys for both boys and girls
Game of the month
Catch: - They’ve loved dropping things out of the high chair for months – but now see if they can throw and catch. Gently throw a beanbag or toy on to the tray and as they prepare to drop it, lean over and catch it, then throw it gently back.
They're all different
A small note on developmental milestones: it’s really true – all babies are different and although we can encourage them, they will do things at their own pace and in their own time. Read more about baby development anxiety here and our at-a-glance milestones guide here.