What are the developmental milestones in the first year?
Fine Motor skills development
- Moving the arms to cross the midline.
- Developing the pincer grasp (grasping with fingers) that starts around the age of nine months.
- The ability to fill and empty.
- Holding several objects in one hand.
- Rolling balls.
Gross Motor skills development
- Standing up and sitting down with support.
- Standing up for a few seconds without support.
- Taking the first steps with support.
Babies walk sometime between age one and 18 months. So, there is no need for concern if the baby didn’t walk at 14 months of age for example.
How can a mother help stimulate her baby’s development?
We tend to underestimate babies and their abilities, and we shouldn’t! We think that babies can’t do many things, so we hand them what they want, carry them all the time, and feed them.
It is very important to let the babies do what they can do such as: getting their toys, the milk bottle…etc. It is also essential not to force the baby to do something they can’t such as forcing them to stand, sit, or walk. This would lead to reverse action and refusal to engage in such an activity. The mother’s role is to encourage so that the baby can manifest a development when he is ready.
Skills that need stimulation:
- Sitting down
This can be encouraged and stimulated by aiding the baby to sit down with support, and gradually decreasing the support until they can sit unsupported.
- Standing up
We can start by helping the baby stand up while leaning on something, then we can stimulate him by offering him a toy while standing up so that he reaches up for it while letting go. The goal is to decrease the support until the baby can stand up independently.
- Posture transition
This is the transition from sitting to standing, a development milestone that needs stimulation and encouragement. This transition is essential to strengthen the baby’s hip joints which are important for the baby’s mobility.
To encourage walking, we need to support the baby and help him walk while supported, then gradually decrease the support until the baby can walk without aid. One of the toys that help in the development of walking is the walker that the baby pushes around, it serves as support, and it stimulates the baby’s gross motor skills.
While the other types of baby walkers are not recommended due to the risk of injury, and the negative effect it has on the baby’s hips’ development, and independence to move.
Check out the Benefits of Montessori toys for babies