New parents are often focused on their babies' brain development and gross and fine motor skills. But your baby's milestones also include social and emotional skills. Below is an age-by-age guide. Pay attention to his responses because it will help you spot possible issues early on. Keep in mind each child develops at his own pace.
By 2 months, your baby will:
start to smile and look directly at you
cry to get his needs met
be quiet when held or sees faces or hears gentle, loving and soothing voices
calm himself by sucking on hands/fingers
Make your baby feel loved with a lot of skin-to-skin contact. Babies can't get enough of kisses, snuggles, and massages. When you change his nappy or feed or bathe him, make eye contact to build trust. Also, always respond to your baby's cries. Don't worry you're not spoiling her as long you comfort him promptly and consistently when he fusses in the first six months, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
He is engaging and responding to you more. So start narrating your day and your activities when you are with your baby. Show her the world, and it doesn't mean traveling out of town. A trip to the park or even a sari-sari store is already an adventure. Point objects out to him. Forming word-picture associations will benefit your child. Use big gestures to copy your baby's movements and the sounds he makes when engaging your baby; she may be able to copy them later on.
By 6 months, your baby will:
become more aware of who's a familiar face versus a stranger
love to play with others
respond to your emotions by smiling, laughing, and sometimes crying as well
enjoy looking at themselves in the mirror
enjoy watching other babies
Your baby is showing a lot more emotions at this stage, so it's important that you're fully present with your child when you're engaging with her. Be careful not to overstimulate your little one, though. Include quiet times in his routine. Your child may start showing a little bit of personality so take note of his behavior. Observe his social behavior and play to his strengths like encouraging play dates if he enjoys being with other kids.
Keep your baby close when you're in a new environment, or he's meeting a new face including relatives he doesn't see regularly. Take it one step at a time when letting strangers approach your baby. Give him time to get comfortable p and familiar. They may show strong feelings of likes and dislikes so try to follow his lead whenever possible (i.e., when her safety is not at risk).
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By 12 months, your baby will:
play favorites with familiar people
cries when mom or dad leaves
probably repeat sounds and gestures or hand you a toy or book to make particular noises to start an interaction
enjoy simple activities like patty-cake and peek-a-boo
put out arms or legs when dressing
engage in parallel play
At this stage, it's important for you to acknowledge your child's feelings, even though he may not yet fully understand what you're saying. Say, "I see that you're happy," or "I know you're upset but..." You can start to offer him choices. Talk about not just what you're doing but also what happens next. Make storytime and other daily tasks enjoyable with your baby.