Week 1: Overview
physical development for the second six months
Children develop at their own pace. As long as your child is developing along the continuum, please don't worry.
The quality of motor progression— not timing is what matters most.
Development starts at the head and neck, back and tummy (core), then extends out to limbs (arms and hands, legs and feet).
In the period of seven and twelve months, your infant is mastering movements and is becoming more intentional, functional and autonomous.
Sequence— from back and belly, side-lying and rolling, to sitting, to pulling into standing, to cruising and walking.
fine motor skills
Before they can develop fine motor skills, your baby needs to have developed stabilization of the shoulder and wrist from weight bearing activities, good thumb development and arching of the hand.
At nine months your baby may be picking up small objects using a pincer grasp (thumb and index), whereas she was raking with 3-4 fingers prior.
Clapping, waving good-bye, poking and pointing, even scribbling will become part of baby's movements in and around first birthday.
By now your baby most likely prefers to play and move on her belly rather than on her back. This is a good thing, because it is far more functional. You can place toys near the side of your baby in both directions, but far enough so that she has to reach and/or move to get them.
If your baby is frustrated and has a short attention span while on her tummy, persevere. It's crucial to continue floor play in order to improve your baby's core development. If her trunk is weak, it could later affect writing, walking and running.
Side lying is a great position for play.
You may also notice that your child goes up on hands and knees and rocks. Rocking provides input to the joints and good sensory input into hands and knees.
Most babies are now able to use their legs in different positions while sitting. However, your baby may fall over at first until she learns to stabilize herself by putting her hand out for protection and strengthen her stomach muscles.
By eight months sitting is usually perfected and is the preferred position. Your baby can now rotate, reach in any direction and get into four point (on hands and knees) and back into sitting without difficulty.
If your child is often sitting in W position, bring her legs forward and say "legs in front".
If your child isn't sitting with legs forward and a straight back by nine months, you might want to ask your paediatrician or consult with an occupational therapist/physiotherapist to check muscle tone.
Crawling (moving on all fours), kneeling, pulling up to stand and cruising are all types of mobility that occur at this stage of your baby's development.
By ten months babies will often creep out of sight and want to pick up anything and everything in sight.
This is a healthy and typical part of development and facilitates the left and ride sides of the brain working together; assists with sensory integration and cognitive skills and increases strength and coordination, especially in the shoulders, wrists, hands and fingers and hips.
At eight or nine months, some babies are able to assume the kneeling position from all fours or crawling. They pull up on furniture or you.
Be sure to let your baby pull into standing on her own. If she is not yet sitting independently or crawling, she needs to further develop her core muscles.
I read that babies don't need to crawl—that their development won't be hindered if they skip this stage. Is this true?
It's true that gross motor activities such as walking, are not necessarily affected by a baby's lack of crawling— indeed, many babies don't love to crawl and you can't force them to. However, as parents we need to look at the bigger picture of our babies' development.
Maybe your child will walk "on time", but that doesn't mean her shoulder, arm and trunk strength will be sufficient to help her climb, hop, skip, grasp and manipulate small objects. Floor time is very necessary to build up core and distal strength.
You can consult with a practitioner (physician, occupational therapist, physiotherapist) if your child would benefit from a home program to further develop these skills.
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