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Magic of Everyday Moments - Chart on everyday ways to learn (9-12 months)

Based on content from ZERO TO THREE®: National Center for Infants, Toddler and Families.

For every age range, there are important developmental milestones. Learn "What to expect" and "What you can do" to enrich your baby's learning through everyday routines and interactions.

What to expect between 9 and 12 months

Look I Found It!

What To Expect:
At around 9 months, babies begin to develop an awareness that things continue to exist, even when they don't see them. This is called "object permanence."

What You Can Do:

  • Play hide-and-seek games that will help him master object permanence. After you show him the ball, hide it behind the couch and encourage him to hunt for it.
  • Talk to him when you move out of his sight so he knows you are near. This will reduce his anxiety and may help him play alone for a few minutes.
  • Be patient! Babies often become very persistent as they develop "object permanence." They remember the toy they had yesterday and they want exactly the same thing now!

Good-Byes Are Hard

What To Expect:
Separations may become more difficult. As your baby's new physical independence increases, so does her emotional dependence on you.

What You Can Do:

  • When saying good-bye, use positive language-with your words and body. Children take their cues from you. So, with a smile, tell her that you will really miss each other, but that she is going to have so much fun with Miss Marie. And when you come back, like you always do, you'll read your favorite book together!
  • Give her a picture of you. Make an audiotape of yourself singing songs or reading a cherished book.

Watch Me Move

What To Expect:
Your child becomes more independent as he uses his body to move away from you-creeping, crawling, or even taking baby steps.

What You Can Do:

  • Offer him a "safe base." He needs to know you'll still be there when he decides he's gone far enough. This sense of security helps him feel safe to venture out again.
  • Avoid walkers. They can be dangerous and can interfere with muscle and joint development.
  • Recognize his need to practice new skills. If he refuses to lie down for diaper changes, you can say, "You don't want to lie down now that you can stand all by yourself! Okay, we'll do this together. You hold the diaper while I fasten it."

I Get It!

What To Expect:
Your child becomes more independent as he uses his body to move away from you-creeping, crawling, or even taking baby steps.

Your child understands more than she can say and can even follow simple commands such as "Go get your ball."

What You Can Do:

  • Put her actions into words and build on them. "You're holding bear. Does he want a drink?" and hold out a cup. Use visual cues to help build comprehension. Ask, "Where are your shoes?" as you point to them.

I've Got Something to Say

What To Expect:
Your child uses his gestures and vocalizations to communicate. He may point to the juice and say "juju" to show you what he wants. He may push the cracker off the highchair and say "nuhnuh."

What You Can Do:

  • Help him show you what he wants. Present two toys and ask, "Which do you want?" Encourage him to respond by pointing or reaching. If he looks at or talks to one toy more than the other, say, "You want this one!"
  • Play back-and-forth games. Roll a ball to your baby and encourage him to roll it back. These games promote his social development and lead to the back and forth of conversations.

I Want What I Want!

What To Expect:
Your child may become more selective about foods (and everything else!) and want to eat on her own.

What You Can Do:

  • Offer her choices because yesterday's favorite food may be rejected tomorrow. Be patient and experiment with foods to help her find what she likes.
  • Allow and encourage her to feed herself. She can practice using a spoon and drinking from a sipper cup. She will be proud to be in charge of her feeding when you give her the chance. Of course, she'll need some help.

Just Say No!

What To Expect:
Your child discovers "No!" and uses it with great abandon.

What You Can Do:

  • Learn to distinguish what your baby means by "No!" It can be his way of declaring his independence. When he kicks and shouts and shakes his head, "No," as you lift him into the car, he may be saying, "I'm the boss of me!" He may be sharing his likes and dislikes-" No peas . . . more carrots." Or, he may be telling you, "I'm too tired to cope," as he protests, "No" when you carry him to his crib.

Keep Me Safe

What To Expect:
Your baby loves to explore, but she still needs grown-ups to keep her safe.

What You Can Do:

  • Create a safe home. It helps to get down on all fours to see your home from your baby's viewpoint to make sure no dangers are within reach. Install baby gates, outlet covers and other safety items where necessary.
  • Create a stimulating home without having to spend a lot of money on expensive toys. Make sure each room contains things that interest her, like big, colorful books in the family room or a drawer full of plastic containers in the kitchen.