Being a parent can be challenging, especially during the early stages of your child’s development. That’s why we’re here to help you navigate through some of the most Challenging Stages of Child Growth during infanthood, with expert advice to make the journey a little bit easier.
Incredible milestones like your baby’s first smile, the first taste of solid food, and first time rolling over are all part of the rich tapestry of babyhood. Yet in between the cute ones are the difficult ones, like the 3 a.m. wake-up calls, the tears when you hand them to someone else, and the cascade of objects they fling from the high chair. Discover the meaning of eight developmental milestones that typically occur in a child’s first year and effective strategies for speeding up the process.
1. Throwing Stuff Down Several Times
Infants will typically treat an object as lost if it is dropped and then out of sight. By about 8 to 12 months, though, infants begin to grasp that things exist even if they cannot see them. The term “object persistence” describes this idea.
When your child looks down to check what they’ve fallen from the high chair, you’ll know that object permanence has set in. “It’s a game for your kid, and it teaches [them] about cause and effect—’I drop it, you pick it up,'” explains Tovah Klein, Ph.D., director of the Barnard Center for Toddler Development in New York City.
I know it’s exhausting to pick up toys, cutlery, and anything else your child can drop a hundred times a day, but try to have some fun with your kid for a bit. Dr. Klein claims that your responses will give patients a sense of agency. Once your infant has knocked over their bowl of mushy carrots, you may stop eating. Thankfully, after about 15 months, your child will no longer find it amusing when their sippy cup tumbles to the floor.
If the stress of always having to retrieve fallen items is getting to you, try these strategies:
- Provide a place for your child to play where dropping objects is encouraged.
- Remove anything your baby could choke on or swallow from the house to make it more baby-friendly.
- Don’t make it fun by making the object retrieval a competition.
2. Creating More Messes While Eating
In the 7 to 9 months range, you’ll see that mealtime is less about the food and more about the experience. Your kid will find that exploring the world through food is a fascinating experience. Soft, mushy sweet potatoes feel great on plump toddler cheeks, and the sound of soggy Cheerios squishing between beautiful little fingers is soothing.
Independent behavior on the part of your youngster is also apparent. As babies interact with food, they are exploring it on their own terms since “there’s very little that babies can regulate,” Dr. Klein explains.
Stumped by the ever-increasing messiness of mealtimes. You could try some of these methods:
- At mealtime, strip your infant down to just a diaper to prevent accidental spills.
- You should put a towel on the floor under the high chair to absorb any liquid that might fall.
- Lean into it and give them a variety of things to touch, see, and taste.
- The messiest meal of the day should follow immediately after the planned bath time.
Never mind the impulse to clean up the mess by removing the spoon. Your kid must learn to eat alone. By the time your child is two years old, you may notice an increase in their coordination and a decrease in their tendency to be distracted (and hence less silly) during meals. Nonetheless, you shouldn’t be surprised if your kid continues to be a messy eater all the way into kindergarten.
3. Crying Out in Terror Whenever A Stranger Attempts To Hold Them
It’s normal for your infant to develop a fear of strangers during the seventh month. Even if they used to be fine with being passed about at family gatherings, they now become very alert of anyone reaching for them who they don’t know.
Because of this sensitivity, your infant may become distressed when you pass them to a relative who doesn’t visit often or even when you open the door for the UPS person. Perplexing? Sure. The ability to tell the difference between you and a stranger, however, represents a significant milestone in human development.
If your infant cries whenever a new person picks them up, consider introducing them gradually. Some minor adjustments you could make are:
- Place your infant in your lap, facing away from you.
- When you’re still carrying your baby, have other people play with them.
- Develop a fun game they may enjoy with their friends while you watch them carefully.
- Your youngster can benefit from frequent exposure to familiar faces, so make an effort to visit friends and family.
It’s normal for infants to cry when strangers try to hold them at first, and you shouldn’t worry if yours is the same. But, if your baby cries, try to hold off on picking them up right away.
Claire Lerner, director of parental resources at Zero to Three, a Washington, D.C.-based early-childhood-education group, recommends that you try to persuade the individual and your infant to get part in an activity together. She suggests that they try it out and see whether it makes them feel safe.
4. Having Sleep Regression
Do you recognize this? You’ve spent months getting your child to sleep through the night without incident, and then, sometime around their second birthday, they start waking up again. Possible sleep regression issues.
At various points in their development, children will experience changes that may impact the quality of their sleep. Some frequent causes of regressive nighttime sleepiness include:
- Progress toward new benchmarks.
- A fear of being alone.
- Variations in typical behavior.
- Declaring one’s freedom.
Perhaps your infant is preoccupied with the impending achievement of a big developmental milestone like sitting up or moving around the house on all fours. Dr. Klein warns that if a child focuses too intently on learning one ability at the expense of others, they may have regression in others, including sleep.
As soon as you’ve comforted your child, you should leave the room so they can go back to sleep on their own. Others around you will become more animated the longer you stay. Be sure you’re also maintaining a regular, restful pattern of behavior before bed. You should put your sleeping baby down while they are still awake. You should return to your regular sleeping routine in a few weeks.
5. Playing Favorites
Your child is showing a preference for one parent over the other because of the differences in your parenting techniques. The parent a child spends the most time with is usually the one they select. Your partner may become the go-to choice for your child if they make everything into a game or make exceptions to the rules more frequently.
If your baby has recently started rejecting you, try not to worry too much. Also, your kid could get even more resistant if you try to impose your will on them. You should focus on spending more time together as a trio. The more privileged parent should ease up so the other, resentful one, can take on more responsibility. So that your child doesn’t come to associate any of these activities with a single parent, it’s smart to switch off who does the feedings, baths, and sleep routine.
Your child may be experiencing disappointment because you are not their top choice, but that is no excuse for resentment. In order to help your child through this stage, consider the following:
- Make no big deal out of it.
- Never give yourself permission to feel guilty.
- Let your “favorite” parent help you out with some of your favorite activities.
- Do not badmouth the other parent.
Although this is not a particularly enjoyable stage, at least it is only transitory.
6. Refusing to Stay Still during Diaper Changing
Your infant is becoming more independent of you. They aren’t just sitting there doing nothing when you change their diaper; they’re practicing their newfound kicking and turning skills.
The kicks are cute but not so cute when you’re elbow deep in a soiled diaper. Attempt some of these suggestions to make the time change a little less chaotic:
- Use anything to divert your infant’s attention, such as a book or a toy.
- Try singing or using ridiculous sounds to get their attention.
- More room will be available if you move the changing table on the floor.
As the other hand is changing the diaper, you can gently keep your child in place with one hand.
7. They’ll Start Bawling the Second They See You Go
At about 9 months, your baby may start to scream or complain when they notice you leaving them, as stated by the American Academy of Pediatrics. They are experiencing this new phase of development because they are beginning to show signs of separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety sets in when a youngster can still see you in their mind’s eye even when you’re not physically present. Want some personal space while you’re in there? Have a prosperous future. Not knowing how long you’ll be gone makes saying goodbye particularly difficult. Yet, you shouldn’t worry because, like most phases, this one will pass quickly.
Try any of these strategies to calm your infant’s separation anxiety:
- The best way to say farewell is to make a ritual out of it.
- Make going out and coming back an exercise in competition.
- Keep your cool if your infant starts to cry.
8. They Put Their Mouths on Everything
Your baby attempts to figure out if something is challenging by sucking on a toy (or their toes). What’s the softness like? Is it safe for consumption? That’s because, unlike you, your infant doesn’t have the ability to ask questions to learn more. According to Lerner, a baby’s senses are the fundamental means of learning about the world.
Your baby could be teething, which would explain their newfound interest in trying everything they see. Around 4 to 6 months, your baby will begin to develop gums that will eventually bear teeth, which will cause an intense desire to chew.
You should put poisons and other harmful things out of your child’s reach or lock them up. Things like needles, syringes, and other needles, as well as cleaning supplies and medications, are all examples of items that are small enough to fit inside a roll of toilet paper. It could be helpful to get down to their level and crawl around to observe what dangers lie in wait.
If your infant puts a little object in their mouth, take it out immediately and replace it with a teething toy. You can’t really stop this phase of being obsessed with the mouth, but by the time your child is 12 to 18 months old, they will probably be interested in other things, like walking and talking.
Meaningful articles you might like: Birth to 36 Months Baby Growth Charts, Toddler Growth and Developmental Stages, Growth and Development in Children Under The Age of Three