Throughout the first year of life, your baby will undergo rapid social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development. He will recognize your face and imitate gestures you make, such as smiling or sticking out your tongue. Your baby will begin to crawl, and later walk, expanding his reach from just inside a crib to the entire world. He will start to babble, eventually forming sounds and then words like ‘mama' and ‘dada.' She'll start swatting at objects and eventually learn to grasp and even feed herself. These miraculous changes develop over time and at different rates for different children, but keep in mind the following developmental generalizations as you watch your child grow.
As a new parent, you've no doubt been watching your little one very closely. You may have noticed that she lost a few ounces in the first few days of life. Not to worry: most babies regain their birth weight within two weeks and continue gaining 6 to 8 ounces a week for the next few months. At each checkup your doctor will chart your child's length, weight, and growth rate (how her size compares with other babies her age). Keep in mind that all babies are grow at different rates. Length measurements shouldn't be taken too seriously either, since measuring a squirmy infant is a tough task.
Within the first three months, your baby will begin to smile and track people and objects with her eyes. She may also begin discovering her own feet and hands as well as the ability to lift her head and turn towards sounds. Every day, your baby will be learning from the world around her.
How to Support Your Child's Learning Process
- Repeat the sounds and words your child uses and have talk to your baby often.
- Making eye contact and changing your tone of voice will help your baby know what you are saying. Even though they can't talk back, your baby is taking in all that you say and do.
- Read, sing, and tell stories. These are fun ways to help your child understand the meaning of new words and ideas.
- Encourage your child to explore toys in different ways by touching, banging, stacking, shaking.
- Use words to help your child understand his feelings. “Y ou are really mad because we have to leave the park.”
- Stay calm when your child is upset. This helps him feel safe and get back in control.
Social and Emotional Development
- Begins to develop a social smile
- Enjoys playing with other people and may cry when playing stops
- Becomes more communicative and expressive with face and body
- Imitates some movements and facial expressions
- Raises head and chest when lying on stomach
- Supports upper body with arms when lying on stomach
- Stretches legs out and kicks when lying on stomach or back
- Opens and shuts hands
- Pushes down on legs when feet are placed on a firm surface
- Sucking and grasping reflexes develop
- Is able to focus and follow objects with eyes
- Brings hand to mouth
- Takes swipes at dangling objects with hands
Cognitive & Language Development
- Watches faces intently
- Follows moving objects
- Recognizes familiar objects and people at a distance
- Starts using hands and eyes in coordination
- Smiles at the sound of your voice
- Smiles and coos in response to others
- Begins to imitate movements and facial expressions (sticking out tongue)
- Begins to babble
- Begins to imitate some sounds
- Turns head toward direction of sound