Growing Together: Enjoying Your Baby's Developmental Stages - Part Four

Apr 13 10:48 2017 Sally Michener Print This Article

This article covers the following topics: At a Glance: Birth To Two Years Chart. This is the last part in this article. I hope you found all four parts and enjoyed them.

Let's look again at that developmental elevator. A baby reaches each developmental floor equipped with certain competencies. How these competencies flower into skills depends upon interaction with the care giving environment baby finds on that floor. If the interaction is responsive and enriching,Guest Posting baby gets back on the elevator with more skills, and the ride up to the next floor is much smoother. Because baby reaches the next floor with more skills, the interaction on the next level of development is even more rewarding.


First Month

Master Skill
Exhibits attachment-promoting behaviors, cries, cuddles, coos

Gross Motor Skills
Lies flexed as in utero
Spring like feel to muscles
Lifts head barely to clear surface
Occasional muscle twitches
Bears no weight on legs

Hand Skills and Self-help
Hands tightly fisted
Can't hold rattle

Language and Social Skills
Demanding cries
Grunting, throaty sounds
Fleeting smiles
Sleep grins
Tells parents' voices from strangers'
Sees best 8-10 inches, blurred vision
Sleeps, wakes, feeds erratically

Cognitive (Thinking) Skills
Inborn attachment-promoting behaviors: cries for comfort or feeding
Behavior mostly reflexive (automatic) rather than thought out
Anticipates distress will be followed by comfort
Begins to learn trust

What Babies Like
Skin-to-skin cuddling
Being carried in arms or sling
Feeding on cue, not on schedule
Eye-to-eye contact
Hearing parents' voices
Womblike sounds

Second Month

Master Skills
Visually connects to parents

Gross Motor Skills
Limbs relax, stretch partway out
Lifts head 45 degrees
Head wobbly while held sitting
Muscle twitches lessen

Hand Skills and Self-help
Hands partially unfold
Swipes aimlessly
Briefly holds rattle

Language and Social Skills
Coos, squeals, gurgles
Wet noises, chest rattles
Smiles responsively
Shows emotions: delight, distress
Catches moods: upset when parent is
Quiets self with thumb
Holds eye contact, studies face
Vaguely mimics facial gestures
Tracks moving persons
Cries when put down

Cognitive (Thinking) Skills
Shows engaging behaviors: communicates moods, protests if anticipated needs not met
Gives cue, expects response, trusts both
Makes associations: cries -- gets hold or fed

What Babies Like
Being worn in sling
Looking at mobiles
Black-and-white patterns
Music box: prefers classical music
Animated talk and gestures
Infant massage
Lying on Dad's chest

Third Month

Master Skill
Hand play

Gross Motor Skills
Stretches limbs all the way out; cycles and makes freestyle movement
Holds head higher than bottom, searches
Briefly bears weight on legs
Holds head steady when held
Rolls from back to side

Hand Skills and Self-Help
Hands open and inviting
Makes swiping reaches, more misses than hits, karate chops
Holds and shakes rattle longer
Grabs clothing and hair of others
Sucks fingers and fists
Plays with hands, midline

Language and Social Skills
Draws out vowel sounds: "aaah," "eeeh," eeee," "ooh"
Makes louder sounds, screeches
Cries differently for different needs, anticipating pauses between cries
Begins to laugh

Cognitive (Thinking) Skills
Learns cause and effect: hit mobile, it moves!
Learns competence: can cause persons to react by smiles, cries, body language

What Babies Like
Standing on your lap, leaning on your chest and peering over your shoulder
Playing with own hands
Playing sitting semi-upright better than lying on back
Swiping at mobiles
Manipulating grab rings and shaker toys
Freestyle floor play, "flapping wings"

Fourth Month

Master Skill
Displays accurate visual tracking

Gross Motor Skills
Stands supported
Sits propped on arms
Lifts head 90 degrees, scans 180 degrees
Rests on elbows
Rolls from tummy to side

Hand Skills and Self-Help
Two-handed embracing reach
Accurately gathers in dangled toy
Explores clothing, pats mother's breast
Uses mitten like grasp

Language and Social Skills
Shapes mouth to change sounds: "ah-oh"
Glows bubbles, sputters loudly
Laughs hilariously when tickled
Social gesturing: flaps arms to signal "Pick me up"
Develops binocular vision: better depth perception, gazes intently, tracks accurately

Cognitive (Thinking) Skills
Forms mental images of what to expect when give a cue (e.g., nursing)
Is aware that persons and things have labels (e.g., "cat")

What Babies Like
Greeting caregivers and inviting play
Amusing self with fingers
Playing with bracelet, rattles
Rolling on beach ball
Changing to forward position in sling

Fifth Month

Master Skill
Reaches accurately

Gross Motor Skills
Sits propped on floor and with pillow in high chair
Stands, holds on only for balance
Rolls from tummy to back
Rocks on tummy: airplanes
Assumes push-up position: chest and part of tummy off floor
Wiggles a few feet forward
Cranes neck forward to see
Possibly grabs toes

Hand Skills and Self-help
Reaches with one hand -- good aim
Transfers toys purposely hand to hand and mouth
Begins block play

Language and Social Skills
Babbles "ba-ba-ba" to get attention
Turns head toward speaker
Attempts to mimic sounds, inflection, and gestures
Watches mouth movements
Vocalizes different sounds for different needs
May show beginning interest in solid foods
Show interest in colors

Cognitive (Thinking) Skills
Learns which sounds and gestures get a response
Shows decision-making expressions during hand play
Figures out objects and change hand shape to accommodate shape of objects before making contact
Uses hand to push away your arm when you're giving medicine

What Babies Like
Pushing off with feet
Grabbing your nose, pulling hair
Squeeze and squeak toys
High-chair and lap play
Playing peek-a-boo

Sixth Month

Master Skills

Gross Motor Skills
Sits briefly by self, uses arms for balance and to break falls, may slump forward
Sits in high chair
Stands briefly while leaning on furniture
Rolls over both ways
Digs in with toes and hands to move toward toy

Hand Skills and Self-Help
Reaches precisely
Points at toys
Manipulates blocks
Uses whole hand to rake in and pick up small objects with thumb and fingers

Language and Social Skills
Strings out longer and more varied sounds
Experiments with pitch and volume of new sounds, notices reactions they produce
Reflects moods by sound and body language: shouts, belly laughs, clapping arms, grunts, growls, droopy face
Mimics facial gestures better

Cognitive (Thinking) Skills
Shows more "intentionality" during play: tries to figure out how to pick up third block with a block in each hand
Spends longer studying toys and what to do with them

What Babies Like
Playing with blocks
Banging toys
Swinging, bouncing
Floor play, propped up
Playing wheelbarrow, rolling on foam cylinders
Changing to hip carry in sling

6 to 9 Months

Master Skills
Cross-crawls, cruises

Gross Motor Skills
Masters cross-crawling
Goes from crawling to sitting
Scales and climbs furniture
Crawls up stairs, not down
Cruises around furniture
Stands without holding on
Walks with assistance
First solo steps, stiff, unsteady, wide based, frequent falls

Hand Skills and Self-Help
Well-developed pincer grasp
Points and pokes with index finger
Changes hand to accommodate shape of objects
Stacks and drops blocks
Shows hand dominance

Language and Social Skills
Two-syllable sounds ("ma-ma," "da-da"), associates sounds with right person
Understands "no"
Imitates sounds: cough, tongue clicks
Understands gestures: waves bye-bye

Cognitive (Thinking) Skills
Shows memory of recent events
Cue words trigger mental picture of action to expect: "go . . ." -- looks toward door
Remembers where toy is when hidden under one of two covers
"Mama's coming" trigger mental picture of mama, stops fussing
Shows separation anxiety

What Babies Like
Container play: pouring, filling, dumping
"Pick pocketing" dad's shirt
Flirting with self in mirror
Banging and matching lids on pots and pans
Stacking 2 or 3 large blocks

12 to 15 Months

Master Skills

Gross Motor Skills
Walks along: officially a toddler
Tries various walking styles
Climbs up stairs, backs down
Tries to climb out of high chair
Get-up-and-go movements: crawls, squats, stands, walks

Hand Skills and Self-Help
Uses tools: utensils, toothbrush, hairbrush, telephone
Opens cabinets, removes contents
Fits graduated cylinder
Tosses ball with hands
Cooperates in dressing
Feeds self, holds bottle

Language and Social Skills
Says 4-6 intelligible words
Uses b, c, d, g words: "ball," "cat," "dog," "go"
Utters partial words: "ba" for "ball"
Says and gestures "no" ("na-na-na") and shakes head
Asks for help by pointing and gesturing, some sounds
Recognizes names and points to familiar persons
Understands and follows one-step direction: "Throw ball to daddy"
Laughs at funny scenes

Cognitive (Thinking) Skills
Growing vocabulary and growing mind make memory easier
Associates familiar persons and things with word for them
Gives impression that your words and gestures trigger thoughts
Begins learning how things fit: tries to match lids, stack blocks

What Babies Like
Pushing and pulling toys while walking
Throwing balls, flinging toys
Touching games: this-little-piggy and where's daddy's-nose
Emptying cabinets, sorting containers
Riding on daddy's shoulders
Talking to toys
Mimicking animal sounds, "woof-woof:

15 to 18 Months

Master Skills
Understands simple language

Gross Motor Skills
Walks in circles, backward, pivots
Walks faster, trots, prances
Walks up stairs -- needs help
Stops and stoops to pick up toy
Climbs onto furniture, tries to climb out of crib
Rides on four-wheeled toy
Tries to kick balls, many misses
Positions self in a chair

Hand Skills and Self-help
Scribbles random lines and semicircles
Open drawers
Cooperates in dressing
Throws ball with whole arm
Dips morsels of food

Language and Social Skills
Says 10-20 intelligible words
Uses complete words: "ba" becomes "ball"
Puts two short words together: "bye-bye, " "all done," "no-no"
Makes first sentences: "Go bye-bye"
Responds to verbal requests without accompanying gestures
Chatters and parrots
Understands "up," "down," "off," "hot"
Uses feeding words: "num-num," "ba-ba"
Understands "other"
Gesticulates: "shhh" for "hush"

Cognitive (Thinking Skills
Sorts shapes, graduated rings
Learns by exploring all over house
Identified familiar pictures in book: "find the cat"
Matches round peg in round hole
Separation anxiety lessens: Can retain mental pictures of persons when they're out of sight

What Babies Like
Pushing toy lawn mowers, buggies
Pounding toys: rubber hammer
Stacking 4 or 5 large blocks
Playing body-part games: "Where's nose?"
Dancing to music
Turning knobs, pressing buttons
Playing peek-a-boo and chase

18 to 24 Months

Master Skill
Figures out before acting, understands most daily language

Gross Motor Skills
Runs, tries to escape from caregiver
Looks down to dodge obstacles
Jumps in place and off step
Pedals first tricycle
Kicks ball without stumbling
May climb out of crib
Walks up stairs without help, both feet on each step, may need help coming down
Open doors

Hand skills and Self-Help
Unwraps packages
Removes clothing, washes hands
Fits lid on shoe box
Builds tower of 6 blocks
Folds paper, fits simple puzzle
Throws ball overhand
Seats self at table

Language and Social Skills
Says 20-50 intelligible words
Attempts multi-syllable words: "Ben-ben-ben," for Benjamin
Answers "What does dog say"
Makes three-word sentences, telegram style: "Me want more"
Normal to "say little, understand all"
Likes challenge words ("helicopter," "dinosaur"), with cute mess-ups, of course!
May give first and last name
Hums and sings
Normal behavior: tantrums, whining, biting, screaming

Cognitive (Thinking) Skills
Figures things out in head before rushing into task
Copies circles, makes line drawings
Aligns simple inset puzzles
Shows mind-set: peanut butter must be on top of jelly
Understands and remembers two-step request: "Go to kitchen and bring daddy a pretzel"

What Babies Like
Pulling wagons
Helping around house
Gymnastics: somersaults
Standing on stools, "helping" at sink
Using own play shelves, table and chairs
Rearranging furniture
"Reading" picture books, turning pages one at a time

There will be more articles on infants, breast or bottle feeding and other related topics to follow. So please keep an eye out for more of my articles.

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About Article Author

Sally Michener
Sally Michener

Here at ring sling baby carriers we know your baby is precious and worth keeping close. Our ring sling baby carriers help you make the most of life while making the most of your baby's. Please visit our website ring sling baby carriers to see our broad selection of Hotslings adjustable pouch, Rockin Baby pouch, Rockin Baby ring sling, Seven Every Day Slings and Lil Cub Hub convertible sling baby carriers and find the right print and style for you and your baby.

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