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Formerly the Welcome Baby Newsletter
Have you noticed your baby moving through focused stages of development - say, one month intent on motor skills, a few weeks later homing in on language? This feature article talks about differences in development across children and the power that routines have for all children.
What's Your Baby's Major?
Babies, like older children, tend to focus on one area of development at a time. Your baby may be making many new sounds and may have even said his first word, while your friend’s 10-month-old, in contrast, is a quiet dynamo.
It’s almost as if your baby chooses a major – just as college students do. Your baby, of course, doesn’t really have a choice. Each child’s unique developmental schedule is inherited like eye or hair color. After focusing efforts on one area of development, your baby will move to a new area. For most babies, 10 months is a period of intense motor development. The drive to be in motion is so strong that even your baby’s sleep may be disrupted.
These periods of intense development usually make life harder for both of you. Try to remember that your baby isn’t trying to be difficult. She’s just doing what’s normal and natural as she moves toward the next developmental milestone.
Sticking to normal routines, such as his bedtime rituals – a warm bath, quiet song or bedtime story, and being tucked in with his blankie or other security object – will help him relax into sleep. Even so, sometimes he may be too wound up to fall asleep right away. Without the security of these routines, he’ll have even more trouble.
If you haven’t established routines around eating, sleeping (both at naptime and bedtime), and play, it’s not too late. Getting into a comfortable pattern will help both of your weather the developmental storms ahead.
Reprinted with permission from Welcome Words, a publication of the Welcome Baby Program of Durham County, NC, Cooperative Extension.
Can you believe your baby is nearly a year old? We're reviewing some of the major developmental milestones for this age. And now that the "baby" is getting big enough to want to play with the big kids, our feature article offers some tips for negotiating changing relationships between siblings.
At 11-12 months old, your baby:
will enjoy "active" games, especially being chased while scooting or crawling
may be able to drink from a cup
may be standing alone briefly
may take first steps!
The Challenge of Siblings and Babies
Even the best of sibling relationships may change as your baby begins to crawl, creep or cruise into the older brother’s or sister’s territory.
Since your baby is still too young to remember that her 4-year-old brother’s Legos are a “no-no,” come up with limits that everyone can live with. Here are some suggestions that may help keep the peace at your house:
Give your older child a time and place, such as a high table, to play with big- kid toys.
If necessary, help your older child put these toys safely away when time’s up.
Help protect your older child’s privacy and possessions. While it’s important for him to learn to share, this will be easier if he know you respect his ownership of belongings.
Unless your older child is a teenager, don’t use him or her as a babysitter. Never leave your baby alone with a preschooler, even for a few minutes. Older children are often charming playmates for babies, but don’t expect this from your older child too often. He needs time with friends his own age, as well as time alone.
Offer support and sympathy to siblings, but make clear that physical harm – hitting, pushing, pinching or biting – is not allowed, and will result in a consequence such as a time-out, or loss of a privilege (maybe a favorite TV show).
If you see your older child hurting the baby, try to stay calm. Separate them and comfort the baby while you and the older child have a chance to cool down. Be clear that “hitting your sister is not allowed, even when you’re very angry.” After everyone’s calmed down, help your older child try to put his feelings into words: “The baby knocked over your tower and you got really furious It’s hard when there’s a baby getting into your things.”
Try to give each child some of your undivided attention every day, even if it’s just 5 or 10 minutes.