Growing and Learning: Seven Months to Eight Months

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1 Some background information for parents... Although your baby may have reacted a little cautiously to strangers before, around the eighth month he or she is likely to become even more distressed when an unfamiliar person approaches her. This is also the age when your baby may protest your leaving and may wail loudly even when left with someone familiar to her or him. Introduction to new people and situations should be made gently and with your support. Holding your baby and smiling with the new person will help your little one become comfortable. Watch your child s clues about his or her readiness before thrusting your baby into a stranger s arms. This can be a difficult time for parents. Parents need a break from childcare once in a while. However, "attachment" is an important milestone in baby's development and is a signal that he or she has formed a healthy bond with you. Your baby needs extra support and patience from you and family members during this period. Although he cries when you leave, if you leave him/her with a loving person familiar to him, he'll settle down and you can enjoy an afternoon or evening out without guilt. Your baby enjoys being part of family routines. Sitting her in her high chair at meal times so that she is part of the family gathering helps her growing sense of self. If she has already eaten you can give her some toast or 'Cheerios' to play with in her high chair while the rest of the family eats. She'll enjoy having a spoon to play with too. You may have noticed that she sucks on her hands less frequently now that she has so many other busy things to do with those fingers. Your baby is probably babbling and making sounds much of the time now, especially if you have been talking and singing with him since birth. He may even make sounds like dada' or 'mama'. He's delighted when he knows you recognized his sound and echo it back to him. You may notice that he turns his head toward certain objects when you name them, for example, 'ball', 'bottle', 'teddy'. This is an illustration of how your baby is learning to understand language long before he can actually say the words. Physical control of his body continues to mature. She is probably sitting up easily now and no longer needs to use her hands for balance. She may even be pushing or pulling herself around on her stomach. Some babies are more active than others. Some babies are the quiet, observing types. These modes are related to inborn patterns of growth and temperament, as well as weight and muscle strength. Each baby will learn to crawl and walk according to his inborn timetable. We cannot hurry development. Add more strained vegetables and fruits to meal times along with rice, barley or wheat infant cereals.

2 Activities For Seven Months to Eight Months Your baby is probably siting up now and may even be mobile one way or another, by rolling or scooting. A few babies may even be creeping, or even crawling. For some babies crawling quickly follows learning to sit. With all that mobility, safety becomes a prime concern. Your little one can get himself into tight corners and not know how to back out. He'll be inclined to pull on anything that dangles or sticks out. Pot handles on stoves must be turned around so they don't stick out, curtain cords should be knotted and hung high above his possible reach, cleaning materials should be moved to a high cupboard or secured with a safety lock under the sink. Electrical sockets should be covered to resist inquiring fingers. In addition we have to be careful about small things dropped on the floor or left on low surfaces like coffee tables. Physical Games: Now that he can use his fingers more independently, your little one loves to point and also to poke things. You'll notice him moving food around in his tray with one finger. This new ability encourages him to attempt to push buttons whenever he can. He can't always exert enough pressure yet to always be effective, but VCR and remote control buttons are a good target. And for the next twelve months life is easier if you just move all the hazards and breakables out of his way. You want your baby to be curious and to discover how things work. Restrictions and saying 'NO' a lot may discourage his developing mind. 1. You might look around for toys that include buttons to push such as a toy cash register. He loves the cause and effect of this kind of toy, you push a button and something pops up or makes a sound. 2. Providing him with interesting finger foods on his high chair tray is also helpful in encouraging small motor development. Provide him some Cheerios or Jell-O blocks or even some cooked spaghetti strands. He'll have a great time. 3. Toys may be less important now that he is somewhat mobile and can explore everything around him. He prefers to do that exploration with you close by. That's quite a challenge, but with a little creativity you can work things out. 4. A small rug in the kitchen provides him something fairly soft and warm to sit on while he takes all the pots and pans out of the cupboard. 5. Earlier, she usually dropped whatever she was holding in one hand in order to pick up something in the other. Now she can hold two objects at once, one in each hand, however it may be a few more weeks before she can bang them together. 6. He also can throw surprisingly well. Once again balls and beanbags are satisfying toys.

3 7. Now that she's sitting up, bath time will be both a fun and learning experience if you give her a few plastic containers to dump and fill. A clean dish washing detergent bottle filled with plain water and also a sponge to squeeze will add wonder to her bath time play. Floor Games: 8. Toys on strings continue to fascinate him. You can make a game of hiding some toys behind a cushion with just their strings hanging out. Give the string to your little one to pull and he'll enjoy the surprise of what comes out from behind the cushion. NOTE: Once again, a reminder that long strings that could wind around a baby's neck can be dangerous. 9. Another floor time game is Tug-of-War with a long sock. You and your baby each take an end. She'll enjoy feeling the resistance as you tug gently on one end while she holds it, Don't pull too hard though. She needs to feel successful. 10. Part of his floor time play with you could include some wooden blocks. Show him how he can hold one in each hand and bang them together to make a sound. You can also use small empty, washed milk cartons or small boxes. Seeing Games 10. An enjoyable game providing good exercise is to toss a scarf or piece of light fabric in the air and have your little one try to catch it as it floats down. This requires visual eyehand coordination to be successful. Let him practice. 11. An interesting toy described in the book Games to Play with Babies by Jackie Silberg suggests a fun toy you can make with a straw and lids from drinking cups at a fast food store. Simply thread three lids on a straw. Your little one may enjoy pulling them off. He'll have difficulty putting them back on though. 12. Play the "Where did it go?" game. Pick up a small toy like a rattle. Move it slowly across her line of vision, then put it behind you, or behind a blanket. Watch her eyes. Bring back the toy and say, "Here it is!" Hearing Games: Have you noticed how much your baby loves music? Does he jiggle up and down to certain tunes? Does he try to join in familiar songs with you? 13. Try these activities with your baby: Encourage his responses by dancing with him. Pick him up and sway to the music. Give her a chiffon scarf or paper ribbon to wave. Give her bells and maracas to shake. 14. If you have a musical wind up toy or clock, pop it under a chair or cushion and bring her attention to the sound. Then go on a hunt for the sound together. Interactive Games: As mobility increases, his attempts to do things may result in increased frustration.

4 15. If you haven't done it already, give her a washcloth when she's playing in the bathtub. She may take it to her mouth. She may put it on her head as though to play peek-a-boo, but after she's explored it a few times, she may imitate how you use it with her. Then you'll each need a cloth because she probably won't let go. 16. While she's in the bathtub, you might also give her a plastic or rubber doll to bathe. Watch how she does it and the noises she makes while bathing her baby. It will give you an idea of how she is experiencing your nurturing touch. 17. Change the pitch or volume of your voice from time to time. Can she hear her name if you whisper it? 18. The colors and sounds of the grocery store are stimulating for your baby. Take advantage of his alert state and talk to him about what you are doing. For example, "We need some milk. Here it is -- here's the milk." Bring the milk over to him before you put it in the cart so that he can pat it. In the same way, you might talk about apples, tomatoes, and bananas, letting him touch each item before it goes into the cart.

5 Developmental Assets Supported through these Seven Month to Eight Month Activities EXTERNAL ASSETS Category: Support 1. Family support-- Family life provides high levels of love and support. 2. Positive family communication-- Parent(s) communicate with the child in positive ways. Parent(s) respond immediately to the child and respect the child. Category: Empowerment 7. Children valued--the family places the child at the center of family life. 8. Child has role in family life-- The family involves the child in family life. 10. Safety-Child has a safe environment at home, in out-of-home settings, and in the neighborhood. Category: Boundaries and Expectations 11. Family boundaries -- Parent(s) are aware of the child's preferences and adapt the environment to best suit the child's needs. Parent(s) begin setting limits as the child becomes mobile. 14. Adult role models--parent(s) and other adults model positive, responsible behavior. 15. Positive peer observation--child observes positive peer interactions of siblings and other children and has opportunities for beginning interactions with children of various ages. 16. Expectations for growth--parent(s) are realistic in their expectations of development at this age. Parent(s) encourage development but do not push the child beyond his or her own pace. Category: Constructive Use of Time 17. Creative activities--parent(s) daily expose the child to music, art, or other creative activities. 18. Out-of-home activities-- Parent(s) expose the child to limited but stimulating situations outside of the home. Family attends events with the child's needs in mind. 20. Positive, supervised time at home--parent(s) supervise the child at all times and provide predictable and enjoyable routines at home. INTERNAL ASSETS Category: Commitment to Learning 23. Stimulating activity --Parent(s) encourage the child to explore and provide stimulating toys that match the child's emerging skills. Parent(s) are sensitive to the child's level of development and tolerance for movement, sounds, and duration of activity 25. Reading for pleasure--parent(s) read to the child daily in enjoyable ways. Category: Positive Values 26. Family values caring--parent(s) convey their beliefs about helping others by modeling their helping behaviors. 30. Family values responsibility--parent(s) accept and take personal responsibility. 31. Family values a healthy lifestyle and sexual attitudes--parent(s) love the child, setting the foundation for the child to develop healthy sexual attitudes and beliefs. Parent(s) model, monitor, and teach the importance of good health habits, such as providing good nutritional choices and adequate rest and play time. Category: Social Competencies 32. Planning and decision-making observation--parent(s) make all safety and care decisions for the child and then model these behaviors. Parent(s) allow the child to make simple choices as the child becomes more independent and mobile.

6 33. Interpersonal observation--parent(s) model positive and constructive interactions with other people. Parent(s) accept and are responsive to the child's expression of feelings, interpreting those expressions as cues to the child's needs. 35. Resistance observation--parent(s) model resistance skills by their own behaviors. Parent(s) are not overwhelmed by the child's needs and thereby demonstrate appropriate resistance skills. 36. Peaceful conflict-resolution observation--parent(s) behave in acceptable, nonviolent ways and assist the child in developing these skills when faced with challenging or frustrating circumstances by helping child solve problems. Category: Positive Identity 37. Family has personal power--parent(s) feel they have control over things that happen to them and model coping skills, demonstrating healthy ways to deal with frustrations and challenges. 38. Family models high self-esteem--parent(s) model high self-esteem and create an environment where the child can develop positive self-esteem, giving the child positive feedback and reinforcement about skills and competencies. 40. Family has a positive view of the future--parent(s) are optimistic about their personal future and work to

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