Caring for your child: Nine to Twelve Months
At nine months your baby is moving around by crawling or pulling along with their arms. Safety is very important now. Your baby is also ‘talking’ with recognisable sounds and may even say simple words.
Your baby is moving around now and the pace of life has quickened somewhat. They are ‘talking’ and making recognisable sounds, and they will love it when you talk to them and repeat single words. Your baby may be clingy and wary of strangers, but they are forming special relationships with family members too. Their unique personality is becoming much clearer to you.
Social and emotional development
It is usually in these three months that your baby begins to understand their special relationship with you, and with relatives and friends. Developmental characteristics include:
- They start to know that when you go away, you will come back again, and that you are still there even when they can’t see you – no wonder ‘peek-a-boo’ and ‘hiding’ are favourite games.
- They still think that if they can’t see you, you can’t see them.
- They start to understand they are a person, and can recognise themselves in the mirror.
- They have developed some definite ideas about likes and dislikes – they may kick and resist change or other restrictions to their freedom.
- They smile and babble and try to engage you in conversation.
- They can copy simple hand games like ‘clap hands’ or ‘bye bye’.
- They are clingy and wary of strangers.
Games to Play
Many of these will go on being favourites for a long time and do not abandon some of the earlier ones as they are fond of those too.
- Hide and seek: Sit your baby on the floor, show him/her a toy or object and make a noise with it. Now hide it behind your back. The aim is to get baby to look for it. When s/he does, give it to him/her and tell him how clever s/he is. If baby can’t find it, make a noise with it so that baby can find it. This game goes one step on from teaching the idea that things still exist when s/he can’t see them, as it encourages baby to see where things disappear to.
- Simple jigsaws or shape sorter: These may still take baby a while to work out but if s/he’s struggling with something, give him/her time to work it out before you jump in. You can use spoons, pots, plastic cups, bottles made of strong glass, yoghurt containers as well as toys like age- appropriate blocks.
- Stacking Cups: By around 11 months, your baby will be able to stack toys and objects, as the skill of letting go accurately as well as holding things finally comes into play. Use plastic cups or yoghurt containers – anything that they can stack easily.
- Sand: Let the baby play in soft sand that s/he can put into containers and experiment with. This activity teaches hand-eye coordination, imagination and creativity along with the concept of ‘full’ and ’empty’.