As your new baby begins to grow reach developmental milestones, nudged by your attentive care and love as well as his own curiosity, you will be amazed to see not only how fast he grows, but the rate at which his own unique personality blossoms as well. From infancy to age two, your child’s physical development may indeed be the most remarkable. He will advance from a kicking, squirming little bundle to a toddler you can barely keep up with in what will seem like mere moments. As your baby’s nervous system begins to develop, he will be better able to control his own movements rather than simply relying on reflexes. By around three months, your baby will begin to lift his head to get a better look around. Of course, he may be a bit of a bobble-head at first, but gradually, he will acquire more and more control. As his gross motor skills progress, he will learn to roll over, crawl, pull up, walk, and eventually hop and skip as well! Although it will come later in the course of his development, your baby will begin to develop fine motor control as well as he learns to stack blocks and hold a crayon or marker and scribble to express himself.
Your baby’s body is not the only thing that is growing exponentially—his social skills are exploding as well! Although you may have seen some gas-inspired smiles during the first few weeks after birth, your baby will soon be rewarding you with some authentic grins as you talk and coo with him. The more opportunities your baby has to interact with people, the more rapidly his social skills will develop. You will likely notice that your baby will prefer you to strangers or even other family members and may even begin experiencing some separation anxiety when you leave him, even if it’s only for a short time. This is a normal phase and will fade as your child begins to feel more independent and comfortable with others.
Once your baby feels secure with her adult caregivers, she can begin interacting with her pint-size peers. Babies will play naturally together, but you may be well-advised to provide some guidelines for their playtime and to encourage cooperation and sharing. As your baby crosses over into toddlerhood, she may begin to push the proverbial envelope when it comes to her behavior. When this occurs, remember that it is a natural part of growing up, not “bad” behavior, and respond with positive reinforcement for desirable behavior rather than negative reinforcement for undesirable behavior. Soon, your child will realize what works and what doesn’t, and her behavior will change.
If at any point during your child’s development, you feel as if there may be an underlying problem that is inhibiting his growth, don’t hesitate to contact your pediatrician. Although more than likely, your child has just decided to do things at his own pace, as children often do, it’s better to be safe than sorry. And at the very least, you will have gained the peace of mind which will enable you to sit back, relax, and enjoy these special moments as your baby transitions from babyhood to toddlerhood.