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Emotional Development 6-12 Months

Between six and twelve months of age, babies grow and develop rapidly. 

Your baby may be learning to roll over, sit up, crawl or walk. All of these changes bring new feelings for you both. Babies learn best when you give them the space and time to explore and creating safe and stimulating environments is important. 

During this time your baby might show signs of being ready to try food. You might have a variety of feelings about this as it marks the beginning of a new stage. 

This may be a time when you start to think about leaving your baby with other caregivers. It is important to think about how to do this in a way that feels safe for all of you. 

 

 

  • At anytime between about 9 and 12 months, you may notice your baby or toddler becoming more aware of where you are in the house. You might also notice that your baby prefers to be with you as parents. This is because babies start to understand that their parents are not always close by. This is a new experience for your baby, who until now has had a sense that they are a part of you and not a separate little person. 

    You may notice that your baby becomes distressed when you pop to the toilet or go out of the room. This is a natural development phase and with support your baby will learn that if you do leave them for short periods, you will return.

    Here are some ideas to help you support your baby with this important phase of their lives:

    • To start off with do not leave your baby for long, try telling them that you are just popping into the kitchen to get a drink, then return quickly and comfort them if they are distressed.
    • Prepare your baby for separations by talking to them and telling them what is going to happen. Don't just slip away when you think they might not notice.
    • Make a point of saying hello to your baby when you return. This will help them to learn that if you go away, you will also come back.
    • Keep surroundings as familiar as possible. If your baby is starting at nursery or being cared for in a new environment, make a few short visits there before they start. This will ensure they get to know the people who will be caring for them and become familiar with the surroundings.

    Overall, the best thing you can do as a parent when you are going to separate from your baby is to reassure them that you will soon return.

  • Positive relationships give babies a sense of comfort, safety, confidence, and encouragement. They are the foundations to learn the skills to form friendships, communicate emotions, and to deal with challenges. Strong, positive relationships also help children develop trust, empathy, compassion, and a sense of right and wrong.

    Starting from birth, babies are learning who they are by how they are treated. Through everyday interactions, parents, relatives and caregivers send babies messages like: You’re clever. You’re good at figuring things out. You’re loved. You make me laugh. I enjoy being with you. These messages shape a baby’s self-esteem.

    Be patient during the tough times. When you can support babies even at their most difficult, you are letting them know they can trust and rely on you. This makes them feel safe and makes it more likely they will learn to calm themselves as they grow.

  • Play is how a baby learns to make sense of their world. 

    As your baby learns to sit and move around their view of the world changes.

    Babies need their parents to watch over them as they explore, wait whilst they look at, touch and interact with things around them, and show curiosity and interest in what they want to do.

    Your baby will enjoy joining in with your daily activities, involve them when you do your housework by creating fun and safe activities for them to try. This could be giving your baby a wooden spoon and some saucepans to look at whilst you cook dinner for example. 

    Babies need the opportunity and time to safely explore, as this is how they develop new skills. Watch over with interest as they play and allow them space to do this. Treasure baskets are a way of supporting your baby to learn these skills.  

    Treasure Baskets are containers that hold a variety of different everyday objects. The objects are interesting to look at, feel or shake, and are safe and non-toxic. There is no particular “purpose” to any of the items you put in a treasure basket. The main thing to remember is that the items can be explored and played with by your baby in many ways, as this supports them to follow their interests.

    Reading often with your baby and talking to them about what you’re doing strengthens your relationship, supports their communication development and gives a sense of security. Your local library is a great resource which not only provide books to borrow but might also run singing groups for babies and their parents. Find your local library by clicking here.

     

Who Can Help?

You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520 631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

            

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