Baby’s first year and beyond: Encouraging those milestone moments

Babies need stimulation and interaction to reach developmental milestones and grow into active toddlers. Here, we discuss which physical developments you can expect when and how you can play your part in helping your little one get there.

Every child is unique and will develop differently – there’s no one rule for all. However, your little one will be extremely busy in their first two years, as they navigate their way to toddlerhood in the only way they know how – through curiosity and clumsy experimentation. Whether it’s holding their head up on their own, a roll that happens much to their own surprise or those much-anticipated first steps, from birth to two years old, it’s a time filled with joyous ‘firsts’ and moments to treasure forever. Take a look at our rough guide for what you can expect when, and how you can provide that helpful nudge in the right direction.

Birth to six months

At around one month old, most babies can lift their head for a few seconds while on their front and they’ll respond to noises and begin to make ‘ooh’ and ‘ah’ sounds. But from three months, they should be able to hold their head steady and will start to recognise faces. It’s usually from around five months onwards, babies learn that if they push hard enough they can roll over from tummy to back. And you’ll more than likely hear your little one imitate speech sounds like ‘dada’ before the six-month marker too. Baby toys for six month olds are generally designed with developmental aspects in mind but any that help bring on baby’s senses are worthwhile at this age. Different textures and sounds are great for sensory exploration. My Buddy – Triumphant is the ideal first best friend for baby. This soft toy is designed to promote early social and verbal skills and grows with your little one to teach them about letters and numbers once they’re ready.

Six to twelve months

At six months old, babies become a lot more interested in their surroundings and are keen to interact with the world around them. It’s that curiosity that sees them (often in what feels like the blink of an eye) progress from rolling and sitting to crawling. The Fantastic Firsts Activity Garden Treehouse has been specifically designed for this developmental stage and to inspire your baby to get moving.

By seven or eight months old, you might find your little one is well and truly on the move. Their muscles will only continue to strengthen and between eight and ten months in age, you might find they’re determined to pull themselves up to standing position while holding on to furniture. This is a sign that their magnificent first steps might not be too far away. Guide them by kneeling in front of them, arms outstretched, and hold their hands. At this point, you might find it’s worth investing in an Activity Walker – they’re brilliantly interactive and projected lights and standing activity tables encourage them to take those all-important first steps.

Up to two years

By now, you’ll wonder where on earth that babbling, doe-eyed teeny tot has gone. But you’re about to enter into a whole new, equally as exciting chapter as your baby approaches toddler age. Don’t worry if after their first birthday your little one still isn’t walking unaided – every child is different and timelines for walking (and every other skill) vary greatly.

This year is pivotal for their growth and you’ll notice many fantastic firsts. Their motor skills are constantly developing, they’ll be mastering finger foods and they’ll begin to relish playing in a group. Help them learn about sharing with activities that require them to play alongside others. Toys like our 3-in-1 Sports Zone are not only great for developing coordination, confidence and social skills but they spark the imagination too.

Help develop their fine motor and cognitive skills by introducing them to building blocks and easy jigsaws. All this activity and interaction with you will in turn encourage their speech as they take more of an interest in the names of items around them. As your little one nears their second birthday, you’ll notice they’re displaying all the traits more typical of a child than a baby. You might be having conversations with them – ask them about their day or their favourite book, for example – and they’ll love running and playing throw and catch.

Want to find out more about the best baby toys to encourage the milestone moments of the early years? Head over to the Fantastic Firsts range.

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