Now the fun really begins: How to play with your curious 8-month-old

Expert tips to teach + play with your blossoming baby. 

Now the fun really begins: How to play with your curious 8-month-old

Eight to 10 months is an exciting age where your baby shows you how much she is making sense of her world. You have gotten through the first part of your child’s life, the early infancy stage. Congrats! You did it, mama!

Now your baby is becoming more of their own person with greater interest in the world around them.

Their mobility and communication increase and they are beginning, in small ways, to show you they have a mind of their own.

What fun it is to be the baby and to be mommy.

Challenges can also arise as your once-easy baby may begin to protest at times of separation or when something does not go their way.

“The biggest shift is the development of what is called object permanence”—your baby now knows that something can exist even if they can’t see it.

Peekaboo becomes even more fun because of this new ability. You hide behind your hands or a cloth, baby waits, and you come right back! That is exciting to them.

Dropping an object is classic at this age; your baby drops a toy or spoon and looks for it. Whereas, before this stage, out of sight meant out of mind. Now when you pick it up and give it back to your baby, the game begins. She drops it a second time and looks for it, showing you she knows it is there. You hand it back and she drops it again. Baby’s first game with you.

This stage also means your little one can miss you when you are away. Separation anxiety can begin to show. If yours does not do this, no need to worry.  Every baby is different.

You may have that baby who you could once hand off to new people easily. Now she looks wary or may protest.

This is how she communicates that she knows new from familiar people and has preferences for the ones she knows best—especially you, mama.

If your baby does this, give her time to warm up and expect clinginess.

Your baby is likely babbling away during these months. Some are chattier than others, but they are all beginning to understand that language is communication. When you speak in the higher pitched tone that adults tend to use, she learns words from you.

As your child babbles, you can respond in sentences. It can go something like this, “Oh, you see the cat over there? It is looking at you. The soft cat.”  As you narrate what is happening your child picks up the back and forth of conversation as her brain absorbs the language.

Another way she is showing her growth is in her imitations kills. Your baby may clap when you do or wave bye-bye. Imitation is an important learning tool and another way for her to communicate.

Soon, most babies begin to point.  This is powerful as she can communicate with you that she wants something or is looking at something and shows it to you from afar.  She may not be so accurate in her pointing, but soon enough she will be.

Your infant is remembering more, even though she can’t yet tell you with words. This is where routines come in and are helpful to organize the day. For example, she may learn that each time you put your coat on in the morning it means you are leaving.

Her response may be a desire to be picked up, crawling to the door, or crying. She knows you are going and does not want the good-bye.  No need to worry, assure her you will be back with a hug as you leave. The important piece is that you will return later, and she will enjoy that.

This is also a time when some babies put up a fuss at bedtime. Knowing the routine means they anticipate your saying goodnight (which is goodbye).  Continue with your routine so your baby has reassurance that she is okay and going to bed is okay.

Physically she is more in the world, too, as crawling begins. There is a big age range for when babies start to crawl (and some never do), so don’t worry if yours has not started.

Being mobile is very exciting—she can move on her own and that is an enormous shift for her.  Soon she will be able to pull up to standing, which is thrilling as well. She has more control of her world and being upright gives her a new view of her world.

All of these changes also mean she is building her confidence. It is exciting to crawl and grab onto a toy she wants, or play the dropping game.

She feels competent as you let her know you are still there for her and when you show joy in her newly developed skills.

Shared moments of laughter, affection, and warmth keep building her sense that she is not alone in the world and at the same time learning that she is competent.

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