Your Baby’s 8th MonthPam Gelman
Pointing and Reaching
These days, your baby is very busy. His hands are constantly moving. He can handle objects well and continues perfecting the skill of using the opposable thumb. He has also learned how to use his index finger as a tool to push parts of toys and investigate small spaces.
Around this time some children start pointing at objects. They use their fingers to ask, “Hey, what is that toy called? How can I get to it to explore?” They may look at you for help.
Try to resist the urge to pick up the object and bring it back to Baby each time. Out of reach, interesting-looking objects are the perfect bait to inspire your little one to move.
Encourage him to try to reach the object himself. Can it be reached by lunging? Rolling? If he is getting frustrated, help him out by moving the object closer … that way he can stretch and reach it. Be sure to tell him the name of the object. Repeat it a few times. Watch him watching how your mouth is moving.
It is important to respect children as capable individuals and support their developing skills, including problem solving. Use enticing toys to set up situations for him to be successful. Learning to do things for himself supports a positive self concept and a happy attitude about his accomplishments.
Crawling and Standing
As if attempts to crawl aren’t exciting enough for Baby, he may now try to stand up. It is not so easy though: Not only does it require strong legs, but Baby must also figure out how to bend at the knee, grab above him, and shift his weight.
Once up, he doesn’t know how to get down. Most babies don’t care initially. They love to bounce, hold on with one hand, and shift weight from one foot to the other. But when their bodies become weary, they look to their caregivers for help. Talk to Baby about bending his knees and landing on his bottom. It may take a few more weeks before going down is as easy as going up.
If your baby doesn’t appear interested in standing yet, don’t be concerned. Remember, development comes in spurts. If your baby is not as interested in gross motor movements, he may not crawl or stand for a while still. If you have concerns, talk to your healthcare provider. Our advice—enjoy it while you can!
This is a common time for children to start waking up in the middle of the night. They may cry out suddenly and then fall back to sleep on their own. Or, they may cry for extended amounts of time.
Baby is learning to do very exciting things with his body. He is learning to move, to stand, and to hold things differently. Some parents find their babies constantly moving in the crib, trying to crawl, rolling over, pulling up to a stand. They may call out to their sleepy parents as if to say, “I am ready to practice some more.” Or, “I am standing and can’t get down.” This is extremely frustrating for parents who may feel like they were finally back to sleeping well and are now up again—several times a night.
Photos and Mirrors
Intellectually, Baby can now associate himself with his image in a photograph. The same goes for his image in a mirror. A fun pastime for baby is gazing at photos of loved ones. You can buy or make a photo album and compile a group of photos of his favorite people. Or, include photos of grandparents or aunts and uncles who live far away. Talk about people to him—in time he’ll be pointing out family members when you say their names.
Photos help children when they are away from their parents. Provide a photo of yourself, your partner, and other special members of the family (don’t forget family pets) for your baby to look at when he is feeling sad. Include photos of him doing his favorite activities with you. After saying goodbye at childcare or when he is feeling tired, gazing at your image may be just the thing to help him get through the tough times so he can get back to playing and learning.
Music with Motions
Babies love songs and music, and research shows that music encourages literacy and language. More than likely, you have already been singing softly to your baby.
There are also some great classic songs for children that involve movement, such as “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “I’m a Little Teapot.” Show Baby the movements on yourself or gently move his arms and hands to the words. In a short time, he’ll be trying out his own moves and singing along. (And adding actions to songs encourages Baby to use both sides of his brain. So simple!)
Many local libraries offer CDs or cassettes you can check out and play for baby. Check with the librarian about a community music class that is geared for babies and toddlers. Often these classes meet for an hour and are facilitated by a teacher experienced with music and babies.
More Development Help
As you’re considering your child’s development, keep in mind that all babies are unique. Whether your baby reaches milestones early or late, she has her own developmental path to follow. The dividing lines between these months are very fuzzy. If you have any concerns or questions about your baby’s development, please check with her healthcare provider.
Now…Let’s Take a Closer Look at Each Week
- Week 31: Sensing Conflict
- Week 32: The Onset of Wariness
- Week 33: Discovering Which Objects Bump!
- Week 34: Establishing Temperament