The Eighth Month: Repetition is the name of the game for baby. More muscle control means she can do a lot more physical skills such as clapping, opening and closing her hands (“Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”), flapping like a bird, and touching her toes. She enjoys learning about and discovering things in her surroundings, so try to make all experiences as meaningful as possible by providing stimulating activities, interesting things to read, and exciting places to visit.
Here is what you can typically expect during the eighth month:
Laughs out loud
Conflict between wanting to explore the world and wanting to be safe with Mom and Dad
Continues to communicate using body language and facial expressions
May follow a simple instruction (receptive language still more developed than verbal language)
Sits up unaided
Stands when you hold them up and may pull to standing
Pincer grasp established
Easily moves a toy from hand to hand
Object permanence established
Learning that actions have effects so acts intentionally
Pays more attention to size and shape of objects
Enjoys repeating an action over and over
How to interact with your eight-month old:
Be sensitive to your baby’s need to be with you when she feels anxious or clingy. Do not be quick to label her spoiled or anti-social. Consider the fact that, as she becomes her own person, she is learning that you are a separate person and this will be disconcerting to her.
Read your baby’s emotional signals and try to respond appropriately. If you are out and she suddenly clings to you and buries her face into your chest, try to find out what is causing the distress—a loud noise or an unfamiliar person? Point to and label what you think she is afraid of reassure her that there is nothing that will harm her.
When playing, emphasize colors, shapes, and sizes of toys aside from labeling what the toys actually are. You can start teaching baby to roll a ball to you or hand you a toy.
No matter how bored you are with the game that baby insists on playing over and over again, do indulge her. She is mastering skills this way and, more importantly, is getting praise and recognition from you when she does a skill well.
Curtis, G. B. & Schuler, J. (2000). Your Baby’s First Year Week by Week. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Publishing.