Remember that the ages we talk about are general and extremely flexible. Your child’s ability to follow the crowd with physical or mental milestones is not an indicator of intelligence. As long as he/she is progressing and moving toward these milestones – there’s no need to worry.
A nine-month-old baby should be able to sit alone without support. By this time his/her spine is developed and the ability to balance should have formed. Your child will begin to creep (get up on hands and knees) and should be trying to crawl.
At this age the frustrating fun should begin. Parents can become frustrated when a child wants to drop objects on purpose. Remember, this is part of his/her learning. Your baby is learning how it feels to hold an object vs. how to let go. The sights, sounds and your facial expressions are all learning tools. Curb your frustration and instead make it a game that you both can enjoy. After a few minutes of the game put your child on the floor to pick up his own mess or take the item away. While he/she does need to learn the “dropping” process, he also needs to learn how to stop.
Your child should be even more inquisitive about any object within his reach. Since this is the age that he/she has mastered the ability to hold the object and pull it to their mouth – you must be extremely careful. Make sure any object within reach will not hurt your child in any way. Make sure you have gates or have closed off the top and bottom of stairs, capped electrical outlets, put latches on cabinet doors and padded sharp corners on furniture. If you have any live plants in your home, check with your doctor or on line to be sure they aren’t poisonous to your child.
Your child may try the following actions:
- Likes to bang on objects or knock toys against each other
- Moves object from hand to hand
- Begins to say “ma ma” and “da da”
- Responds to his/her own name
- Can find a toy hidden under a cloth
- When he/she drops an object, will turn head and move other items to find it
- Can use pincher fingers to feed self
- Enjoys seeing and being near others
- Will look for mom or dad
- May be shy or scared around strangers
It is extremely important to “baby proof” the rooms your child will be in. At this age your child is on an exploratory expedition. They will pick up anything, play with anything and usually end their exploration by tasting the object. Safety is more important at this age because your child is fearless. Look around the room and ask yourself – “Could my child be hurt if any of this winds up in his mouth or his stomach? Could my child be hurt if he fell on top of this object? Could my child be hurt if he touched or played with this object?” If the answer is yes…you must take precautions.
They will surprise you. For the last eight months your have been quicker than your child. You are now moving into the phase when your child may be harder to catch. Turn your head to answer the phone and when you look back your child may be sucking on the dogs toy. Be prepared to think ahead, plan for the unexpected and free to run to their aid.
Talk to your Pediatrician if your child …
- Does not explore toys
- Has poor eye contact
- Doesn’t interact with familiar people
- Seems apathetic most of the time
- Doesn’t respond to changes in his/her environment
- Isn’t vocalizing
- Doesn’t react to sounds or voices