Providing love, attention and interesting experiences creates the best conditions for your baby’s brain growth, learning and development.
Two to six months
Your baby is learning about emotions by watching how you react and engage with them. As you interact with them, they begin to learn things like smiling or crying can bring about emotional responses from you.
- When your baby makes noises, show you are listening by smiling, nodding, widening your eyes and touching them.
- Say things like, "What did you say?" or "Aren’t you talking well!" to encourage your baby to keep communicating.
- Help your baby to calm down after any emotional excitement. Stroke them and say gentle words or play soothing music, this helps your baby to develop emotional control.
Six to nine months
By nine months, your baby’s brain forms connections between what they see, hear, taste and feel. Babies at this age can sit by themselves for short times and might start crawling.
Your baby might begin to get attached to people and objects, so they need to learn that when things disappear, they also reappear.
- Play fun games, such as peekaboo.
- Give lots of verbal reminders of where you are as you move around a room.
- Encourage time with other carers.
Nine to twelve months
At this age, your baby is likely to become increasingly vocal. Their ability to experience different emotions and moods has also developed considerably. They may start to move around more or want more independence, including getting away from things that upset or annoy them.
- When your baby begins to make sounds—"ba ba ba", "da da da"—repeat them back.
- Repetition in speech – "Are you hungry?" "You’re hungry aren’t you?", "Ohhh, I’m hungry", teaches babies the meaning of words and develops speech and language.
- Responding to emotional expressions – "Yes, I know you’re cranky, I’ll be back soon", helps your baby to identify emotions and understand the process of feeling better and worse.