Now that your baby has reached his or her first birthday, you’ll be wondering what to expect next in your baby’s development. You’ll know by now that all babies develop at their own speed, but if your baby was born prematurely then it’s likely that it’ll take him/her slightly longer to reach certain milestones.

1 year old’s language development

Your baby may be starting to say words like ‘mama’ or ‘dada’ to get your attention. He or she may also be chattering away quite incoherently in a language that sounds quite foreign to you. It may even sound like whole sentences are being formed, but as yet you don’t really know what they are and they’re certainly not English yet. To improve your baby’s chances of forming new words, make sure you:

  • Label things as you interact with your baby – as you hand things to him or her, say the name of them.
  • Teach your baby manners by saying ‘please’ and ‘thankyou’. As well as teaching your baby the meaning of the words, you’ll also be beginning to introduce him or her to social etiquette.
  • Ask your baby questions, such as ‘Where’s Daddy?’ and then point to Daddy (or whoever else is in the room) so that your baby can start to make the association between the question and the answer.
  • Give your baby choices to make. Put two different pairs of shoes down and ask which ones he/she would like to wear.

Obviously it will take a while before your child is able to understand what you’re teaching, but this is the beginning of a very important part of your baby’s language and communication skills, so it’s a good idea to put as much effort as possible into helping your child’s development.

Independence and separation

Your baby will be extremely used to you and your partner, which is lovely, but of course there are going to be multiple times where you have to (or are dying to) leave the baby with a sitter, friend or relative so that you’re able to enjoy some more adult activities.
If your baby isn’t good at being separated from you, the only way they’ll get used to it is if you make it normal for them. Once your baby knows that you always come back, then it gets much easier, so start slowly.

  • When your baby crawls into another room, let him or her be by themselves (whilst keeping a watchful eye) for a couple of minutes before going to find them. This helps to build a sense of independence.
  • For the first couple of times that you leave your baby, do it for very short bursts of time. For instance a quick trip to the supermarket or to get your nails done. The quicker you come back, the happier your baby will be. You can then build up to an evening out, an overnight trip away and possibly a short break away depending on how you feel about doing this.
  • When you’re leaving your baby with another person, don’t draw out the goodbye. Just give them a quick kiss and be gone.
  • As much as you might enjoy the privacy of your own home and enjoy alone time with you, your baby and your partner, it’s quite useful to have different people spend time in your home with you and your baby. This helps your baby get used to different faces and it doesn’t seem like such a wrench when you leave.

Bedtime

You may find that your baby is becoming less dependent on naps and will probably start refusing to take them. It’s also possible that he or she will start resisting going to bed.
The best way to ensure that your baby is in bed at a reasonable hour, is to establish a strong sense of routine, so that your baby gets used to going to sleep after a list of activities such as

  • Bathtime
  • Getting changed
  • Storytime

If you want someone other than you or your partner to put your child to bed (for instance if you’re going out), then you’ll need to make sure that they follow your routine to the letter so that your baby doesn’t act up.
Ideally, it’s great to have a friend, relative or sitter put your child to bed on a semi-regular basis, using the ‘routine’, so that way your baby knows to be dependent on the sequence of events and not on your presence.

Walking

This is a big one and hopefully one that you’ll get chance to capture on camcorder.
Yes, after your baby has mastered the art of crawling and pulling him or herself up to stand up straight and lean on things, then the next step is to start walking from one leaning object to another one.
You’ll notice that your baby will probably use their tip-toes at first.
There will be a lot of hand-holding, a lot of bumps and a lot of tears (sometimes yours!) but he or she will get there eventually and you’ll feel so proud!

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