As baby nears her first birthday, she is able to understand more complex speech and the associations between words and actions such as "kiss" and "clap". By responding to your baby's attempts to communicate, as well as allowing her to move around as much as she pleases, it builds your baby's confidence to start walking.
- Sit at a distance and encourage your baby to cruise towards you or scamper behind her across a room, with lots of positive reinforcement for walking and standing independently, even for a short time.
- Walkers, push and pull along toys, and riding toys will all enhance your baby's strength so she can cruise around more easily in preparation for walking, and you may find she likes to take her toys with her as she moves. Put favourite toys in each corner of a room and entice her to come and get them for herself.
- Making an obstacle course of cushions and pillows will be fun for your baby to crawl and cruise over and around but make sure you help your baby navigate her way through, so she can't get stuck or suffocated in any way.
- Filling and emptying containers and boxes, and stacking and knocking down multiple items such as cups, blocks and plastic rings forms part of your baby's learning about reach, grasp and release. Organising your baby's toys in some kind of category such as size or colour also increases the meaning of these concepts for your baby.
- Similarly, while supervised, show your baby what sinks and floats in a bucket of water and get your baby to throw toys in to make a splash. Throwing, rolling and holding onto things such as balls and crayons is one of the easiest ways to promote your baby's dexterity, as is letting your baby try to feed herself during meals.
- Give your baby toy versions of real life objects such as kitchen utensils, tools and household items like brooms and mobile phones, and let your baby imitate other people while cooking or cleaning, to stimulate her to start engaging in imaginative play.
encourage your baby to cruise towards you or scamper behind her across a room