Development (9 - 12 Months)

Ways to Encourage Development
(9 - 12 months)

Muscle Skills

  • Think about safety. As babies gain mobility, they get into lots of new areas.
  • Provide a safe area with enough space for creeping and crawling.
  • Let child pull self up to stand. A railing or low furniture can encourage “cruising.”
  • Give toys such as: spoons, plastic containers and cups, balls, large blocks, and pots and pans.
  • Play with a large soft ball – allow child to roll it, throw it, and catch it.
  • Be sure toys cannot fit into baby’s mouth. Choking is a big risk at this age.
  • Have outside playtime in a safe play area.

Language Skills

  • Always take time to talk with child (while playing, bathing and changing diapers).
  • Use adult talk, not baby talk.
  • Make sounds the child can copy.
  • Begin using simple commands and show child what your words mean (for example: “sit down” or “come here” and use hand gestures at the same time).

Social and Emotional Skills

  • Continue to provide the same caregiver as much as possible.
  • Play with child. Show how toys work; don’t just give toys.
  • Talk, smile, laugh and have fun!

Thinking Skills

  • Provide toys that are age-appropriate and challenge the child to learn (like in‑and‑out toys, push‑pull toys, stacking cones, music boxes and jack‑in‑the‑boxes).
  • Teach child how toys work.
  • Give child an opportunity to learn to do things for himself/herself, such as feed self.

Developmental Tasks (9 - 12 months)

Muscle Skills

  • Can get from lying down to sitting position; sits well alone.
  • Creeps and crawls.
  • Pulls self up to a standing position; may be able to stand alone and may take several steps while holding on.
  • Can use thumb and fingers to grasp and hold objects.
  • Holds cup and spoon.
  • Has good hand‑to‑mouth coordination.

Language Skills

  • Imitates sounds like clucking or lip smacking.
  • Uses words such as dada and mama.
  • May understand one or two simple commands.
  • Begins to understand the word no!

Social and Emotional Skills

  • May still show fear with strangers; attaches to main caregiver(s).
  • Very responsive to adult’s smiles, voice, eye contact and play.
  • Recognizes self in the mirror.
  • Begins to be interested in activities of others.

Thinking Skills

  • Remembers toys and people. 
  • Curious about objects; likes to put things in and out of containers.
  • Likes to pull a cover off a toy he or she has seen hidden.
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