GROWING COMPETENCE

As their first birthday approaches, most babies are taking solid food and drinking from a bottle or cup. They are becoming more a part of normal family activities, instead of the family revolving around them. Even their diet will be less special and they can handle small amounts of what the family is eating.

As babies begin to eat solids, they will naturally reach for the spoon and ‘help’ to put the food in their mouth (or on hair or clothes). They will also grab and control their own cup or bottle, and pick up small pieces of soft food and feed themselves. As children learn to feed themselves, their confidence and contentment grow. It’s a bonus for parents, too. These accomplish-ments continue, with sitting up, crawling, creeping and walking, and playing contentedly on their own (for up to 15 seconds!).

A single mother wrote to us, concerned about her six-month-old crying each time she left the room. Was he too clinging? We felt confident that this baby was doing well. He was noticing what his mother was doing and communicating assertively, and will be highly motivated to get on with his next job of learning to crawl along the floor to see where Mum has gone.

Trust through familiarity

After a while, routines will start to make sense to babies and they will anticipate what comes next. For example, at six months of age, Tamara hated her car seat. Strapping her in would bring howls of protest. Now, at one year, the mention of ‘school’, ‘car’ and ‘brother’, in any order, magically removes the fuss.

Having rituals and order in your daily life help babies know where they are and build up a sense of trust. Relationships are strengthening now. They love familiar faces and places.