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Social Emotional Milestones from 6 to 12 Months
Baby’s Emotions are On the Move
The time from 6 months to 12 months is sometimes called the “doing stage” of your baby’s development. There is a lot going on, and the obvious signs are physical milestones like sitting up, crawling, first steps, picking up toys, and purposeful play.
During that first year, something else is going on too, a process called social-emotional development. And that can be just as exciting to watch and be aware of.
Social-emotional development is all about how we understand, manage, and express emotions. It includes things like self-awareness, interacting and communicating with others, motivation, and empathy. These are essential skills for success in school and in life, and they can be seen taking shape in your baby’s first year, especially during the second six months.
Of course, all children develop in their own way and at their own rate. The information presented here is a general and informative look at early social-emotional development, but your own child’s experience may vary. After all, some babies start to walk as early as 9 months, while others take as long as a year and a half to find themselves ambling along. The same kinds of ranges apply to emotional development.
Emotional Growth to Watch Out For
During the period between 6 months and 1 year, babies demonstrate social-emotional growth in a variety of ways.
- Self-awareness: Babies begin to develop a sense of self-awareness, recognizing themselves in mirrors and reacting to their own reflection, as well as responding to their own name. They may also play with their hands and feet or touch their own nose, becoming more aware of their own body.
- Attachment: By 6 months of age, most babies have developed a strong attachment to their primary caregiver. They recognize and respond differently to familiar faces and may show distress when separated from their caregiver.
- Emotions: Babies become more expressive with their emotions, including joy, anger, sadness, and fear. They can also start to understand the emotions of others and may respond with empathy, such as crying when they see someone else crying.
- Social interactions: Babies begin to engage in social interactions with others, such as smiling and laughing, and may also start to imitate actions of those around them. Babies are also fond of getting a reaction out of others, even if that includes knocking things over or spilling things.
- Communication: From 6 to 12 months, babies start to communicate more intentionally through gestures, sounds, and words. They may use sounds such as “mama” and “dada” to refer to their parents, and may also start to understand simple words and commands.
How Parents Can Help with Social-Emotional Development
Social-emotional development doesn’t happen in a vacuum. In the same way that parents are essential to maintaining baby’s nutrition and helping with baby’s first steps, so too is parent interaction an important part of emotional milestones.
Of course, there is no need to stress, you’re probably already doing a great job of helping your baby enter the social world, starting with your family. When you respond to your baby’s cries of hunger or their signals that they need your attention or help, you’re already building the foundations of emotional trust.
Your demonstrations of love and affection allow your child to feel secure and help them develop a positive sense of self.
Finally, talking and engaging with your baby directly aids in language development, but also helps with bonding and emotional regulation, positive social behavior, and even helps baby learn turn taking in social encounters.
Early Intervention Therapies
If you have been worried that your child is falling behind with early childhood milestones, including social-emotional development, and your gut is telling your child may need support with their development, Early Intervention is a program that can help you get answers.
If you have concerns, ask your pediatrician about Early Intervention therapies from TEIS Early Intervention.
At TEIS Early Intervention, our therapists listen to your concerns, assess your child’s individual needs, develop a customized treatment plan, and educate you along the way on simple routine-based solutions to maximize your child’s development in their natural environment.
Early Intervention evaluations and therapy services are available under the Federal Early Intervention Program for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities. Before services can be provided, an independent evaluation of your child must be completed. To assure impartiality, one agency offers evaluation services while another provides therapeutic services.
To learn more, call TEIS Early Intervention at 412-271-8347 or visit our Contact Us page to get help today.