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Infant Development: From 1 to 24 months




THE FIRST MONTH

PHYSICAL

Arm and leg movements are reflexes

  • Head flops if not supported

  • Can see things about 10 inches away

  • Stares at objects but does  not reach

  • Loves skin-to-skin contact

MENTAL

Prefers to look at high-contrast patterns and faces

  • Alert 1 out of every 10 hours

  • Begins to trust the caregiver

  • Most behavior is reflexive

  • Will cry if understimulated or overstimulated

LANGUAGE

  • Responds to voices

  • Small cooing begins

  • Likes it when you talk to him

SOCIAL

  • Enjoys eye contact

  • Smiles at faces

  • Recognizes parent’s voices

TOYS

  • Infants enjoy seeing and hearing interesting things

  • Toys for this age are primarily for looking listening, sucking, or fingering


THE SECOND MONTH

PHYSICAL

  • Muscles relax and twitch less

  • Can lift head 45 degrees

  • Hands start to unfold

  • Can briefly hold a rattle

  • Tracks moving objects

MENTAL

  • tarts to make associations such as: crying gets a need met

  • Protests if needs aren’t met

  • Wants visual stimulation

LANGUAGE

  • Gurgles, coos, and squeals

  • Exhibits emotions

SOCIAL

  • Responsive smiling

  • Communicates moods

  • Studies face

  • Your baby’s personality becomes more obvious

TOYS

  • Clutch balls

  • Texture balls

  • Soft squeeze balls

  • (All balls given to this age group should be at least 1-1/4 inches in diameter, however, if any object appears to fit easily in the child’s mouth keep it away from the child)


THE THIRD MONTH

PHYSICAL

  • Can stretch limbs all the way out

  • Can roll back to side, holds head up to search

  • Plays with hands

  • Can hold rattle longer

  • swipes with arms

  • can briefly bear weight on legs

MENTAL

  • Learns cause and effect

  • Discovers hands and feet

  • likes detailed high-contrast images

LANGUAGE

  • Begins extended vowel sounds

  • Starts to laugh

  • Has different cries for different needs

SOCIAL

  • Makes eye contact

  • Smiles at faces

  • Knows the difference between parents and strangers

  • Stops crying when you come in the room

TOYS

  • Discs, keys on a ring

  • Interlocking plastic rings

  • Small hand-held manipulables

  • toys on suction cups

  • Floor pay gyms

  • Construction toys-soft blocks


THE FOURTH MONTH


PHYSICAL

  • Can stand up with help

  • Rolls front to side

  • Lifts head 90 degrees

  • Sits with arms propped

  • Reaches for objects

MENTAL

  • Froms mental images of what your baby expects when giving a cue

  • Is aware that people and things have labels (dadda)

  • Starts to explore things by tasting them

LANGUAGE

  • Changes shape of mouth to change sounds

  • Sputters

SOCIAL

  • Laughs hard when tickled

  • Greets caregiver

  • Social gestures - moves arms to signal “pick me up“

  • Likes social interaction

TOYS

Manipulative Toys

  • Simple rattles

  • Teethers

  • Light sturdy cloth toys

  • Squeeze toys

  • Toys suspended for batting & grasping


Mouthable toys should have all safety features

  • No sharp points or edges

  • No small parts

  • Nontoxic materials

  • No glass or brittle plastic

  • No parts to entrap fingers, toes, hands

  • No long strings


THE FIFTH MONTH


PHYSICAL

  • Rolls over from front to back

  • Grabs toes

  • Can wiggle forward on the floor

  • Reaches with a good aim

  • Transfers objects from hand to hand

MENTAL

  • Shows interest in colors

  • Pushes away disliked actions (wiping nose)

  • Displays expression of decision-making

LANGUAGE

  • Babbles (baba)

  • Tries to mimic sounds

SOCIAL

  • Turns head toward the speaker

  • Watches your mouth movements

TOYS

Show growing interest in touching, holding, batting, turning, shaking, kicking, mouthing, and tasting objects


Infants like to see:

  • Bring primary colors

  • High contrast

  • Simple designs

  • Clear lines and features

  • Human facial features (esp eyes)

  • Bull’s eye pattern


Infants enjoy:

  • Watching objects that move by wind, wind-up action, or the infant’s activity

  • Toys that move and make noise

  • Variety, and producing effects on toys through their activity

  • Toys should be light and easy to grasp


THE SIX - NINE MONTHS

PHYSICAL

  • Can sit unsupported

  • Rolls over both ways

  • Can stand if leaning on another object

  • Points at objects

  • Picks up small objects with a thump and finger

  • Reaches accurately

  • Can feed herself

  • Can drink from a cup

  • Gets up on all fours and rocks

MENTAL

  • Studies objects

  • Concentrates on one toy at a time

  • Analyses what to do with her toy

  • Understand the nesting of objects

  • Understands an object might be behind something

LANGUAGE

  • Longer and more varied sounds

  • experiment with different volumes and pitches of sounds

  • Makes two-syllabled sounds

SOCIAL

  • Mimics facial expressions

  • Exhibits moods with varied sounds and body movements

  • May be shy or afraid of strangers

  • Responds to his name

  • Raises arms to signal his wanting to be picked up

  • Likes his reflection

TOYS

  • Talk and sing to the babies when you feed, change diapers, and clean them

  • Imitate the sounds that the babies make

  • Point to and say the names of the baby's mouth, ears, nose, fingers, etc

  • Place toys and other colorful objects where babies can see and/or touch them

  • Shake a rattle behind a baby’s head and let the baby turn and grab the rattle

  • When you hold or rock the baby, sing lullabies or other soothing songs

  • Place babies in different positions. For example, place them on their stomach so they can practice lifting their head and rolling over

  • Encourage hand clasping and kicking

  • Take care of babies' needs promptly; for example, feed a hungry baby or comfort a scared  baby


THE NINE - TWELVE MONTHS


PHYSICAL

  • Masters crawling

  • Can stand when supported

  • Climbs on furniture

  • Walks with help

MENTAL

  • Start to understand phrases (like “come here“)

  • Wants to explore things by touching everything

  • Build, stacks, and disassemble

LANGUAGE

  • Says simple words (“dog“, “hot“)

  • Understands “no”

  • Mimics sounds like tongue-clicking, raspberries, and cough

SOCIAL

  • Enjoys mimicking

  • Points to things he wants

  • Feels pride (especially when praised)

  • Likes games (peek-a-boo)

TOYS

Puzzles: bring colored, lightweight (few pieces) Manipulative Toys:

  • Teethers

  • Tight sturdy clothed toys

  • Toys on suction cups

  • Small, hand-held manipulables

  • Disks/Keys on rings

  • Squeeze-squeak toys

  • Roly-poly toys

  • Activity boxes and cubes

  • Pop-up boxes (easy operation)

  • Containers with objects to empty and fill

  • Large rubber or plastic pop beads

  • Simple nesting cups

  • Stacking ring cones (few rings and safe stick)

  • Graspable (unbreakable) mirror toys that can be held and played with


Sand and water play toys:

  • Activity boxes for bath

  • Simple floating toys


THE TWELVE - FIFTEEN MONTHS


PHYSICAL

  • Walks alone

  • Can climb up stairs

  • Can grip a crayon

  • Can run

  • Bounces to music

MENTAL

  • favors one hand

  • Understands a word in context

  • Understands cause and effect

  • Starts pretending

  • Remembers

LANGUAGE

  • Likes to sing

  • Says several words

  • Says “no“and shakes his head

  • Can follow simple directions

SOCIAL

  • Copies and imitates

  • Likes to look at books together

  • Starts to exhibit a temper when angry

  • Waves good-bye

  • Laughs at funny things

TOYS

  • Play peekaboo or other games in which you disappear and reappear

  • Give babies a safe place where they can crawl, creep, and pull themselves up

  • Roll a ball or place a toy where babies have to reach or crawl for it

  • Give babies teething toys

  • Read aloud books that have large pictures and not much writing

  • Talk to babies and name objects as you and the babies handle them

  • Begin to teach what is allowed and what is not allowed

  • Do not force the baby to interact with strangers

  • When babies indicate that they want help, provide it

  • Rock and hold babies when they are upset

  • Let babies fill containers with objects and then dump them out

  • Change toys often when babies get bored with them 



THE EIGHTEEN - TWENTY-FOUR MONTHS

PHYSICAL

  • Can jump

  • Climbs (out of highchair and crip)

  • Can take clothes off

  • Opens doors

MENTAL

  • Can understand 2-step directions

  • Can draw circles and lines on paper

LANGUAGE

  • Says 20-50 words

  • Makes 3-word sentences

SOCIAL

  • Understands more than he says

  • Likes to sing

TOYS

  • At this age, children learn best from unstructured play

  • Toys to play house

  • Large and small blocks

  • Toy instruments: children love music and the chance to create their own sound

  • Puzzles: Choose puzzles that have very few pieces and are made of easy-to-manipulate blocks of wood

  • Illustrated books and CDs

  • Train sets

  • Balls: Play with your child

  • Crayons and paper


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