Parenting 3 to 12 Months

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Child Development

Parenting Children from 3 to 12 Months

The Developing Child

All babies develop at a rate that works for them but there are milestones which most babies reach around the same age.

By 3 months, most babies can smile when someone smiles at or plays with them.

By 6 months, most babies can sit up with assistance, begin making cooing sounds in an attempt to communicate and are interested in the activities going on around them.

By 9 months of age, most babies can pick up small bits of food with their fingers and deposit it in their mouth. They are able to track moving objects such as a rolling ball and they enjoy games such as peek-a-boo.

By 12 months most babies can throw objects and attempt to locate them, they copy other's gestures, take objects in and out of containers and follow one step instructions.

The period of growth between 6-12 months is intense. As the brain develops new functions the baby becomes more and more curious and finds pleasure in investigating new objects such as your phone or a colorful toy. They develop their senses by tasting, feeling and listening to everything they hold. At this level of development, play doubles as entertainment and learning experiences.

You will notice your child's evolving brain development as they grow. Your 6-month-old will put a toy cup in her mouth to taste it, the 9-month-old will bang the cup and a 12-month-old will attempt to drink out of it. these milestones are generally a source of pride and entertainment for the parent as they watch their child grow and learn.

The Child's Needs

During this stage in your child's life, many changes will take place that will require the parent to be constantly aware of what patterns and habits need to change in order to accommodate the baby's needs. While a newborn sleeps most of the time the growing child will fall into patterns of sleep and wake cycles.

At first the baby may take three naps a day but will eventually need only two naps a day. This is often difficult for parents as the parent learns to arrange their day around the baby's sleep cycle. When the baby's needs change the parent has to rearrange their schedule once again. And the older we get the harder change is.

Choosing to have a child means choosing to put another person's needs above your own. There will always be times when you want to think about yourself instead of taking care of the needs of your child, but successful parenting requires the parent to be able to fill their own needs without neglecting the needs of their child.

Children at this age are not capable of deceit, manipulation or altruism. Their every move is either a learning experience or a way to self-nurture. They cannot understand sharing, right vs wrong or revenge. A mistake some parents make is to believe that their infant is trying to manipulate them or that they are being willfully disobedient. Neither of these behaviors are abilities the infant has. These behaviors require brain function that has not yet developed in the infant. When a parent begins to attribute adult thinking to an infant it is important to back up and take a personal inventory of their own feelings and expectations.
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