- Importance of this age
- Developmental Milestones Circle: 6 months to 9 months
- Points for concern
- Intervention through play
At this age, babies are awake and alert for increased periods of time. They switch easily between different interesting activities and are able to stay focused for longer periods. Those babies who have had consistent routines in their early months will show awareness of their surroundings and recognition of routines. Babies will recognize familiar places and start noticing new things that appear in their environment. As they start to understand how the social and physical world is organized, they notice what is absent, and will look for people who are not in the room and for objects that fall out of sight.
Babies at this age love interactions, recognize familiar people and voices and preferentially go to people they like. The baby will vocalize deliberately to get and keep attention, call or shout to attract attention, listen and then call again. Babies will respond to familiar voices and words by stopping movement and turning their head toward the person. They have a growing awareness of themselves and will recognize themselves in a mirror, examine themselves and smile.
Good early movement experiences ensure that babies are now able to move and play more easily against gravity. They come independently to sitting, and have their hands free to play. As they move between lying and sitting, babies learn the relationship between the world they viewed horizontally and their new vertical perspective. The constant change in the plane from horizontal to vertical and back helps them see that objects are the same even when viewed from different angles. Playing and independently experimenting with positions and movement are key elements in learning and sensory motor processing at this age.
Their eyes now work well together and focus with ease at near and greater distances. They are drawn to small things and details and parts of larger objects. Their increased hand skills means that they are able to grasp, release and use their hands to pick up, hold and manipulate the objects that catch their attention. Their vocalizations increase in variety as their oral structures are gaining maturity. Babies can now be introduced to mashed foods and enjoy holding a piece of hard rusk although they can do little more than scrape at it with their gums.
The increased motor control also means that the baby is developing better balance, allowing for reaching beyond arm’s length to toys and things they see. The universe that the baby can independently access and examine increases as the babies can now move themselves while on their tummy. Goal-directed movement helps the development of their perception of distance, position and direction. All these new motor skills help babies develop a sense of achievement and ability as they have many positive experiences of control over themselves and their environment