Helping your 8-month-old thrive: Tips + activities

Your baby now understands that his favorite person in the world sometimes leaves. And he’s not happy about it. 

Helping your 8-month-old thrive: Tips + activities

Whether you went to work or just went to the bathroom, your baby now understands that his favorite person in the world sometimes leaves. And he’s not too thrilled about it.

According to Dr. Tovah Klein, head of the Barnard College Center for Toddler Development and author of How Toddlers Thrive, many babies at this stage begin to show signs of separation anxiety and stranger anxiety. She explains how baby is:

More aware of unfamiliar people and places and may cry when someone new holds him (even if he’s usually a social butterfly).

Klein recommends giving your baby extra time to warm up to new situations.

If you’re going to leave him with a family member, friend or caregiver, be sure to stick around for a bit to ease him into the adjustment process.


When he feels comfortable, he’ll act more like himself and play.

Week-by-week activities

And speaking of play, child development psychologist Dr. Holly Ruhl shares fun week-by-week activity ideas for month nine.

Week 1

Baby may hone motor and social skills by rolling a ball back and forth. Show your cutie how the pros play at a real ball game! Your tot will love the songs, mascots, fireworks, and halftime events. Keep baby happy with snacks, sunscreen and a tour of the stadium. Even free little league games offer baby a chance to behold an intriguing interplay between other children!

Week 2

Locomotor skills are related to infants’ spatial search skills. This week, practice stepping movements and exercise those tiny leg muscles. Support your barefoot babe under the arms during practice steps, bounce your standing sweetie on the lap, or provide assistance as baby cruises along sturdy furniture. Supervise use of a safe push toy to promote independent mobility.

Week 3

Infants as young as 9 months can perform numerical computations with numbers up to 10, even before they can verbalize these skills! Introduce addition and subtraction into your daily routine. Add finger foods to baby’s tray one by one, count down from 10 as you trim those tiny fingernails, or sing “Ten Little Bubbles” as you blow bubbles for baby to pop.

Week 4

Baby can imitate your actions even after a 24-hour delay! Exercise baby’s developing memory by modeling desirable behaviors for your babe to imitate. Use a spoon, brush your teeth, share toys or care for stuffed animals. Now might also be the time to sidestep behaviors that you don’t want emulated, so wait until baby’s nap for the chocolate splurge and Pinterest marathon!

A treat for baby: VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker

Whether your tot is practicing standing or walking, or would rather just plop down and play, this baby walker has it all. The removable panel is covered with interactive activities including piano keys, colorful spinning rollers, shape sorters, songs, sound effects, and light up buttons to develop fine motor skills.

This year many of us have a tighter budget than usual given (looks around) everything that has happened. Coupled with the uncertainty of what Halloween might look like, many of us are reluctant to spend money on brand new costumes that our kids will outgrow by next year. I get it. But I also know that many, like me, love Halloween so much. I thought about skipping the celebration this year, but that just feels like too big of a disappointment in an already disappointing year.

That's why I started looking into alternative costumes—something my kids will be able to wear once the clock hits November, and maybe even hand down to siblings and cousins in the coming years. At the same time, I'm not a DIY person, so I wanted outfits that didn't require any sewing or hot glue. Last year I attempted using one to build my son's Care Bear costume, and of course, I burnt my hand.

So with some creativity (and the brainpower of my colleagues), we came up with these costumes that are both fun and practical, made with items that your children will be able to (and want to!) wear year around:

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This is my one trick to get baby to sleep (and it always works!)

There's a reason why every mom tells you to buy a sound machine.

So in my defense, I grew up in Florida. As a child of the sunshine state, I knew I had to check for gators before sitting on the toilet, that cockroaches didn't just scurry, they actually flew, and at that point, the most popular and only sound machine I had ever heard of was the Miami Sound Machine.

I was raised on the notion that the rhythm was going to get me, not lull me into a peaceful slumber. Who knew?!

Well evidently science and, probably, Gloria Estefan knew, but I digress.

When my son was born, I just assumed the kid would know how to sleep. When I'm tired that's what I do, so why wouldn't this smaller more easily exhausted version of me not work the same way? Well, the simple and cinematic answer is, he is not in Kansas anymore.

Being in utero is like being in a warm, soothing and squishy spa. It's cozy, it's secure, it comes with its own soundtrack. Then one day the spa is gone. The space is bigger, brighter and the constant stream of music has come to an abrupt end. Your baby just needs a little time to acclimate and a little assist from continuous sound support.

My son, like most babies, was a restless and active sleeper. It didn't take much to jolt him from a sound sleep to crying like a banshee. I once microwaved a piece of pizza, and you would have thought I let 50 Rockettes into his room to perform a kick line.

I was literally walking on eggshells, tiptoeing around the house, watching the television with the closed caption on.

Like adults, babies have an internal clock. Unlike adults, babies haven't harnessed the ability to hit the snooze button on that internal clock. Lucky for babies they have a great Mama to hit the snooze button for them.

Enter the beloved by all—sound machines.

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My 3-year-old is eating peanut butter toast with banana for breakfast (his request), and we are officially running late for preschool. We need to get in the car soon if we want to miss the morning traffic, but he has decided that he no longer wants the food that he begged for two minutes earlier. What started off as a relatively calm breakfast has turned into a battle of wills.

"You're going to be hungry," I say, realizing immediately that he could care less. I can feel my frustration rising, and even though I'm trying to stay calm, I'm getting snappy and irritable. In hindsight, I can see so many opportunities that fell through the cracks to salvage this morning, but at the moment… there was nothing.

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