Baby's tenth month: stages of development

Your ten month old baby will be easily preoccupied with play, when she’s not spending time cruising around at her own pace.
Your ten month old baby will be easily preoccupied with play, when she’s not spending time cruising around at her own pace. 

 

As your ten month old baby gets faster at crawling, she will find his way into corners and hidden spaces. Cruising, which is walking while holding onto something, is followed by very brief moments of standing alone unsteadily for a couple of seconds. Being able to stand alone evokes a series of adjustments in a baby’s image of her own body and its relation to her surroundings. She is on an even level with more things for the first time.

She continues to get better at communicating what she wants and responding to requests such as “Wave bye-bye to Daddy”. She can shake and nod her head proficiently and point at the same time now and recognises the value of doing this in communicating. Many can also comprise syllables when speaking. A baby may use different sounds to call each parent. You can speak to your baby in longer sentences and use more complex words and phrases as it assists with her learning and speech development.

She has a new eye for detail such as letters in a book, and can also easily shift her attention from one object to another such as looking at a toy and then at another person. She also still loves to imitate the body actions of others.

Babies are also adding to the associations that they can make between words and actions such as recognising the phrase “Clap hands” means “Bring your hands together”. At this age everyday play is often composed of specific sequences of actions over and over again and the repetition of hand movements helps refine her fine-motor skills. A ten month old can also show a preference for using the right or the left hand without showing greater dexterity for either one.

Babies who spend time with other babies may have slightly more sophisticated social skills but toys and personal play tend to provide more entertainment for them at ten months of age.

Babies will usually engage in parallel play when placed with other babies, where they do their own activities side by side, and watching the other babies and imitating them. They won’t interact too much – social play doesn’t begin until at least 18 months. Babies who spend time with other babies may have slightly more sophisticated social skills but toys and personal play tend to provide more entertainment for them at ten months of age. Try to remember that initially the change from solitary to parallel play can be quite challenging for your baby.

Some babies can start biting at ten months, finding it amusing or being impressed by their own ability to get a reaction. Disciplining babies at this age is important for establishing a basic sense of authority and in keeping them safe, so they don’t engage in dangerous behaviour, such as playing with a power point or trying to grab a hot beverage. They may throw tantrums when this happens as the see this as only a restriction to their freedom. There is however no point in scolding a baby when there has been an accident.

Babies also engage in a lot of social referencing at this age whereby they look at someone’s face for information through facial expressions, seeking confirmation about behaviour from more experienced individuals and thereby getting a better understanding of the social and cultural norms of her community.

The information provided on Essential Baby is, at best, of a general nature and cannot substitute for the advice of a medical professional (for instance, a qualified doctor, child health nurse, pharmacist/chemist, and so on). If you have any concerns about your child’s development please contact a medical professional.

Discuss infant development with other mums on the Essential Baby Forums here.