Your baby’s increasing ability to interact with his world is becoming evident, as he will take every opportunity to explore while he is developing more complex physical and cognitive skills.
Learning to walk and talk are your child’s biggest challenges this year. Enjoy his development and provide a safe place where he gets the opportunity to explore his abilities.
- Almost half of all babies learn to walk around this time, although many will still topple over when they lose momentum. Provide loads of opportunity to use and strengthen your toddler’s leg muscles in preparation for walking. Until the legs strengthen, his balance will be a little unsteady. Soft shoes or bare feet are probably best when your child is learning to walk. Always use baby gates and locked doors to pro tect him from falling down stairs and out of open windows while he is exploring the world.
Fine motor skills:
- Your baby’s fine motor skills develop through practice. At the age of 12 months he learns to reach out by placing his hand over an object, deliberately picking it up, moving it to another place, and letting it go. His hand movements are becoming more sophisticated and he is learning to turn his wrist in order to place an object specifically into the place he wants it to go. Your baby will also stretch his fingers and arm towards something that he wants.
- With the right balance of time and stimulation to assimilate new experiences, your baby’s cognitive development starts to move forward in leaps and bounds.
- Your baby’s first words confirm his cognitive development, and the beginning of a whole new exciting stage where communication extends into verbal communication. When your baby points at something, he is letting you know that it has caught his attention. Teach your baby the names of objects and their functions. He will learn that objects have functions, as he continues to observe what happens around him.
- We are all born with a sense of touch, but its development is dependent on experiencing touch and feeling things. Encourage this by giving your baby a range of different articles to touch, explore and experiment with. These should have different things with different textures, such as crinkly paper, soft toys and various fabrics.
- Ensuring that all your baby’s physical needs are met will help his emotional development during this stage. By now, close attachments have been formed with his parents, primary caregivers and other close family members. It is within these secure emotional attachments that your child’s emotional development will continue and blossom.
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