Baby’s first birthday is coming up and there is so much to celebrate—first steps, first words, and increased control over her actions. She will show that she is a “big girl” by imitating some of the things you do like talking on the phone or pushing her stroller. However, as baby insists on doing things on her own, expect frustration when she is not able to do certain things. Keep your cool and observe first if she can work things out eventually. If not, figure out what is frustrating her; is she tired, is it too difficult, has she tried many times to no avail? Step in and help out if this is the case. More importantly, because it is now very clear to her that she is a separate being, give her the love and attention that she needs to reassure her that you will always be there.
How to interact with your 12-month old:
• First words will not be very clear and may sound like the same word for different things. If you hear baby say a word often enough and it sounds like she means a particular object or picture, show this to her and get her to repeat the word. • When baby “talks” with you, do talk back. Not with baby talk but with real words. She’s probably telling you something about what she is doing or commenting on where you are. Tell her that, “Yes, it is a windy day and the leaves dancing”, or that “You really seem to be enjoying the game that you’re playing”. Be sure that you use simple words that will be easy for baby to understand especially when giving directions. • Since baby loves to imitate Mom and Dad, get her to copy what you are doing such as putting the spoon in your mouth, reading a book right side up and from left to right, or packing toys away.
SOURCES:Curtis, G. B. & Schuler, J. (2000). Your Baby’s First Year Week by Week. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Publishing.First 5 Commission of San Diego. (2008). How Kids Develop. Retrieved from http://www.howkidsdevelop.com/developSkills.html Orenstein, J. (2000). 365 Tips for Baby’s First Year. Holbrook, MA: Adams Media Corporation.Powell, J. and Smith, C.A. (1994). The 1st year. In Developmental milestones: A guide for parents. Manhattan, KS: Kansas State University Cooperative Extension Service. Retrieved from http://www.nichcy.org/Disabilities/Milestones/Pages/Default.aspx