Mother

Part 6: Baby Skills

Have you ever been bored by new parents telling you for the tenth time how cute their baby is when they blink; or sort of smile or make an incomprehensible sound? Well it’s not really their fault. They have been so excited by the arrival of this baby that when it finally arrives and doesn’t react, it is no wonder that they are desperate for any sign of communication.

These early months may seem rather quiet but babies are actually going through tremendous internal changes. The brain is developing and reorganising itself, and the muscles and organs continue to develop and mature. It is a very important time for the baby’s development. It is essential that the parents and the people around the baby stimulate him or her. This way, the baby will be interested in his environment and will develop the curiosity necessary to drive his/her progress. It is important to remember that children are very sensitive and easily stimulated so filling the room with every colour under the sun, a frenzy of mobiles and animals will seem to the baby like a serious acid trip. Parents should try to stimulate but not overwhelm, they should try to strike a balance.

Another problem one can face is ‘parent competition’. “My son was walking at 12 months.” “Really? My daughter was walking at 10 months.”
I hesitate to give approximate ages at which infants should have acquired certain skills because they can vary so much. Parents tend to use their speed or delay as a measure of future ability. This is simply not realistic. Here are some of the APPROXIMATE ages a baby acquires skills. At about 5 months he/she should be able to grasp things. The child will start to sit up with support at around 4 months and should be able to sit alone by 7 months. At 8 months the first signs of independence, he/she should be able to get himself in a sitting position. He/She should be standing holding furniture at around 9 months and crawling at around 10 months. He/She should be walking alone at around 13 months but will really have you running after him/her at 18 months.

Children are partly slaves to their biological maturity, when the body clock says it is time to do something and the muscles and brain cells have developed sufficiently. Nevertheless the environment plays a role too and children need an opportunity to practice these skills and get them wrong. So bear in mind that overprotecting your child can actually delay his development and after all, if he/she falls he/she won’t have that far to go.

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