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NYS Parent Guide

6-12 Months: Growth and Development

On the Move!

Guiding Your Child

Guiding Your Child

It will take your baby years to be able to control his behavior. But gently setting clear limits today will help him to make his own choices about right versus wrong and how to keep himself safe as he gets older.

Here are some things you can do:

  • Be gentle and consistent as you guide your baby’s behavior. Turn “don’ts” into “dos.” For example, say, “Here’s a duckie for you to play with; Mommy’s purse has to go up on the shelf” rather than, “No, you can’t get in my purse.” Or, “Here’s a cracker for you to eat” instead of “Don’t grab your sister’s food.”
  • Support your baby through separation anxiety. Between six and eight months most babies will become upset at the idea or reality of being separated from their parent. You can help your baby work through this by practicing “hellos” and “goodbyes” with games of peek-a-boo. When you do go away, tell him you are leaving and remind him you will come back like always. That way, he will learn to trust that you will return.
  • Support your baby through stranger anxiety. He may act shy or afraid of unfamiliar people and be upset when you leave him with someone else. Let him sit on your lap as he checks out a new adult—even a relative he hasn’t seen for a while. Encourage the adult to offer him a toy to make a connection. Let your baby show he is comfortable with the person before letting another person hold him.
  • Share his delight and wonder as he explores, discovers and learns. Your attention tells your baby that what he is doing is important and fun, and it encourages him to continue learning.
  • Let your baby use his “lovey” to help comfort himself. He may hold on to a special blanket or teddy bear, or suck his thumb or pacifier when needing a little extra comfort. He is learning how to cope and to soothe himself. This is the beginning of how he learns to control his emotions (something not well-developed until later preschool age.)
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Did you know

A growing body of scientific evidence tells us that emotional development begins early in life and that it is a critical aspect of the development of overall brain architecture, and that it has enormous consequences over the course of a lifetime. (NATIONAL SCIENTIFIC COUNCIL ON THE DEVELOPING CHILD, 2004)