Before your eyes your child is growing in skill and independence daily, but still coming back to you for security and love between bursts of exploration. Her energy is amazing, and may well outstrip yours, especially if you have other children to run after too. Crawling climbing and cruising are all likely by now, and you are not only following her around, but doing so bent over to hold her up as she works out how this walking thing is done. This month
Language and Cognitive Development
It can come as a surprise when your increasingly confident adventurer suddenly becomes afraid of familiar things which have never seemed to bother her before. Perhaps it’s the sound of your phone, or the slide at the play park. This is a developmental milestone and shows that she is understanding and processing more of what goes on around her. Her fear is genuine, but doesn’t mean that she has had a bad experience, only that she is understanding things differently. Don’t be too concerned, she will come through the other side.
During her 10th month your baby’s personality will be showing through. Is she shy or outgoing; boisterous, a joker, or a thinker? She may still be anxious in new situations or when a stranger pays her too much attention, but it should be more manageable than it was a few weeks ago.
If she is not in day care, be sure to take her to a playgroup or other weekly baby and toddler event where she can get used to being around other people her size, in a familiar setting. This will help her confidence and social development. It will also inspire her to copy other toddlers and learn from them. Of course she may copy some bad behaviour as well as good behaviour.
Babies learn from everyone
If she is your first child you could be horrified by some of the things she will learn from slightly older toddlers. The first time she is grabbed or pinched and then copies that behaviour can make your heart sink. Remember that she is learning about life and people, and she will learn far better from experience than just from being told. Talk to her about what happened, and make it clear what is OK and what is not. These are life lessons she will learn from you for the next 20 years or more, by going out into the world and then talking it through with her Mom.
A 10 month baby talks a lot. Listen out for a real word for something important to her. Not just mama and dada, but maybe “juice” or the name of a sibling or pet. Her communication skills don’t end there though. With pointing, waving and other gestures she will be quite clear about what she wants, and what she likes and doesn’t like. If you take away something she wants, she should object.
A Book and a Cuddle
As she is moving about more, sitting down time is precious, and just as important for her developing mind. It’s a proven fact that reading and looking through books together helps language development even at this early stage. Reading a book together is probably already part of your bedtime routine, but it can be a daytime activity too.
- Have a special place and time that you snuggle down together with a book or three every day.
- Keep sturdy chewable picture books where she can reach them
- Point and name things in the book “Look at the yellow dog” and relate them to the real world “Uncle Bob has a black dog, doesn’t he?”
- Choose books with rhyming stories in to read again and again. Repetition is comforting and improves vocabulary and word comprehension. She might join in for her favorite parts of the story
- Some books have tabs to pull that change the picture to go with the storyline
- Join a library. Public libraries have sections of baby books at a level they can reach, and child-friendly seating.
- Many public libraries have a weekly Storytime hour for babies and pre-schoolers
Movement and Motor Skills
As her motor skills improve she will be able to use her hands separately for different jobs. You 10 month baby may cuddle her favorite toy whilst sorting shapes or stacking cups with the other hand.
If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to get out that non-slip bowl and baby spoon and let her feed herself. Yes there will be mess, but just think of the photo opportunities! It will also give you an opportunity to sit down and feed yourself. Smooth foods that will stick to the spoon are best. Try applesauce, yoghurt, baby porridge, or pureed vegetables. If your floor is carpeted put down some plastic sheeting first. It’s best to offer this when she is hungry but not desperate.
Getting into shape
Around now her appetite will drop off and she will not put on weight as fast as before. She may visibly slim down and change shape as she spends more time moving about and standing up. As she makes standing her main study this month, supporting and watching her becomes your main pastime too. She should still be in bare feet most of the time unless it is too cold.
Help her to walk on different surfaces, and name them with her. It is interesting to see her preferences. When possible, let her choose. Does she want to walk on the paving or the gravel? The grass or the sand? The carpet or the hard flooring? You might be surprised by some of her choices.
Another sign she is really growing up is only needing one nap per day. If she is ready for this it will probably help her to sleep through the night, although with teeth coming through there will still be some cranky days.
Try to keep her awake through lunchtime, and encourage an early afternoon nap. This way she is more likely to make it through to bedtime ready for a full night’s sleep.