Month 11: Standing & Stepping

by Penny Warner

BABY'S PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT

How Baby’s Body is Growing

  • Back Rolling – It’s easier for your baby to roll over from his tummy to his back, but it takes a bit more practice to roll from his back to his tummy. He may also try to roll up into a sitting position from his back, another big challenge.
  • Grasp Release – Your baby is still practicing his grasp release, as he becomes more adept at controlling his fine motor muscles. He may still throw or drop things at random, but he may now be able to give you a toy, by deliberately letting go of it when you take it from him.
  • One Foot – Your baby continues to enjoy standing practice, and perhaps taking a step with your assistance. He can probably now stand on one foot alone, and support his weight for a few seconds.

How You Can Help

  • Back Rolling – To encourage baby to roll from his back to his tummy or into a sitting position, give him lots of floor time on his back, free of restrictions. Place a toy on either side of him so he has a reason to turn over, then give him a little support at his back, while moving his arm over in front of him, to help propel his body.
  • Grasp Release – To help your baby practice his grasp release, give him a toy to play with for a few minutes. When he seems ready to give up the toy, reach out for it. Gently grasp the toy, and see if he’ll let go. Ask him for the toy verbally, and when he releases it, thank him for the toy. Repeat from time to time but not too often – he’ll think you want all his toys! 
  • One Foot – While your baby practices his standing and stepping, give him practice standing on one foot for a few moments. Have him stand holding onto a piece of furniture, then lift one of his feet briefly. See if he can hold his weight for a few seconds. Repeat with other foot. Say “Lift your foot,” to give him the language to go with the action.

BABY’S COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT

How Baby’s Brain is Maturing

  • Names – Your baby is growing more and more aware of his name, so continue to refer to him often. He’s also learning the names of others, so use those references as well, rather than “he,” “him,” “we,” or “them.” This helps baby sort his world and identify familiar people in his world.
  • Association – Your baby is applying previously learned concepts to learning new concepts. For example, if he’s given a new rattle that is similar but different to his familiar rattle, he may shake it immediately, just like he shakes his old rattle. He’s using previous knowledge to build new experiences.
  • Vocabulary – As your baby absorbs more vocabulary, he’ll soon be expressing himself verbally. He’s probably learned the words for “mama” and “dada,” and some basic concepts such as “bye-bye,” “juice,” “blanket,” “pacifier,” “doggy,” “night-night,” “hi,” and of course “no.” 

How You Can Help

  • Names – Play name games with your baby to increase his awareness of people’s identities. When a new friend appears, use the name frequently so your baby can learn it. When there are several people in the room, use all their names and point to them, so baby knows who you’re talking about. Then play, “Where’s (call out a name)?” and let baby indicate who’s who, by pointing, going to them, or just looking at them.
  • Association – Give your baby some new objects to play with that are similar to familiar objects, and see what he does with them. For example, give him a new doll and see if he handles it the same way as his old doll. Or give him a toy truck and see if he plays with it like he does with his toy car. Give him the opportunity to interact with the toy first, before you begin to show him other ways to play with it.
  • Vocabulary – Continue to expand your baby’s language by using simple words and sentences that baby experiences in his everyday life. Use gestures to go with them if possible, to make them more concrete. Soon you’ll hear one of these words clearly verbalized by your baby! Which one will it be?

BABY’S PSYCHOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT

How Baby’s Personality is Unfolding

  • Independence – When you say “No!” to your baby, at first he may respond by pulling back, and stop what he’s doing, or even cry if he’s startled. Around this time he may continue to do what he’s doing, even though he knows he’s not supposed to. He’s showing independence and already testing his boundaries. You might even see him look at you when he’s doing something he knows he shouldn’t, revealing his awareness of your rules and boundaries.
  • Changing Time – Changing your baby may become more of a challenge during this time, as he struggles to be free while you struggle to diaper and dress him. He’s probably bored with this activity, and wants to get on with him playing.
  • Silly Time – Your baby enjoys laughing when you’re silly, and will begin to show signs of being silly himself, if you laugh in response to his odd noises, funny faces, and silly antics. A lot of laughter in the home has a definite impact on baby’s mood and personality, so keep the good times rolling.

How You Can Help

  • Independence – As your baby asserts himself and doesn’t always respond to what he’s asked or told, try to appreciate his independence and the fact that he’s thinking for himself, not blindly obeying a rule. Use the word “No!” sparingly, follow through when you tell him not to do something, and give him the opportunity to shake his head “No!” himself from time to time.
  • Changing Time – Use this time to play games, sing songs, and interact with your baby to keep it fun, and you’ll have less trouble with changing your baby’s diapers and clothes. Bring a toy to the changing table for your baby to examine, turn on the mobile that hangs overhead to entertain him, and come prepared with new songs to sing and rhymes to recite.
  • Silly Time – To help your baby be silly, give him funny hats to put on and let him look at himself in the mirror, while you laugh. Play silly games and do a lot of giggling while you play, to encourage your baby to laugh at the fun. Make faces, use funny voices, pretend to fall or spill things – anything to make your baby laugh and encourage a sense of humor.