Shake, Bang, Drop, and Throw
Last month's crawling and other fun tricks were impressive. Month nine has even more changes in store. Find out what to expect this month, as we discuss:
- Helping your 9-month-old develop a strong mind and body
- Baby security blankets and teddy bears
- Baby separation anxiety
- Flat feet
- How to say "no" to your baby
By the end of this month, you should see tricks including a fun little routine with objects called "shake, bang, drop, and throw," and the lobster claw "pincer grasp."
From peek-a-boo to pat-a-cake – play creates strong minds and bodies
While you've been guiding your baby along his road to development, the types of skills your baby develops, and the rate at which he develops them at this point, will be largely dependent on his own abilities.
Here are some things you can do to inspire and stimulate him:
- Play peek-a-boo with him in front of a mirror
- Read him books, naming objects and people as you travel through the pages
- Teach him games such as pat-a-cake and "how big is the baby?"
- Like always, keep hugging and cuddling him whenever possible, soothing and calming him when he's fussy, smiling and chatting with him, and singing softly to him at bedtime
Turning to Teddy Bear – the importance of comforting objects
Stuffed animals, toys, or blankets can be a big part of your baby's emotional support system.
In your baby's psyche, these objects have the power to:
- Comfort him when he's upset, afraid, or stressed
- Help him feel at ease in an unfamiliar place
- Reassure him when you're not there
- Help him get to sleep
Contrary to some theories, using a transitional object is not a sign of insecurity. It actually shows that your baby has been loved and nurtured, and that he is able to comfort himself. This is important as he becomes more independent.
Your baby will want to take his cuddly everywhere and may prefer it unwashed, because it has his scent on it. This may be what's so comforting about it.
Separation anxiety – waking for reassurance
Just when you thought your baby was sleeping through the night for good, he's up again. Now, he's struggling with separation anxiety. He wakes up looking for you and for reassurance.
For a restful night sleep, try the following:
- Continue a consistent bedtime ritual for 10 to 30 minutes before bedtime
- Encourage him to go to sleep with his blankie or stuffed animal to comfort him when he's afraid, and reassure him when you're not there
- Go to him when he cries and soothe him by talking to him and patting or rubbing his back (Try not to turn on the light, rock him, walk with him or take him out of his crib)
- Check for a wet diaper or signs of illness
How saying "no" today will help you tomorrow
Your baby has a great need to explore - that means touching, tasting, and throwing everything in sight.
While these types of behaviors can be entertaining at times, discipline for negative behaviors will teach your baby self-control that will last well into her later years.
While you may have a negative association with discipline, and see it as punishment, it's really just a boundary you're creating to protect your baby from harm. Here are some suggestions for offering balanced discipline:
- Save it for important things, saying "no" firmly and removing her from the situation when your baby starts to play with something truly off-limits for safety reasons
- Respond immediately since the most effective discipline occurs when she is in the act of misbehaving
- Quickly distract your baby when she does something she shouldn't do
- You may have to repeat "no" several times before she gets it.
- Be consistent so she will catch on to what she can and cannot do
- Try to be patient (even when it's difficult)
- Reward her good behavior with praise and hugs