The Second Six Months: Moving Up – Part Two
During the first six months parents and trusted subs are the center of baby’s universe. While this remains true during all states of development, from six to twelve months baby develops the skills to extend his world of interest. He becomes less an arms and lap baby and more an exploring floor baby. During his stage, growth accelerates. Baby’s weight increases by a third, first words appear, and true thumb-and-forefinger pickups emerge, as well as first crawls and steps. These skills also bring about parents’ development as safety patrol officers. Baby’s motor development allows him to get more and more of his body off the ground. By six months he’s on his own two feet, and the baby chase begins.
Pick Up and Play: Hand Skills
Baby may act like a little carpet sweeper, picking up even the tiniest pellets that are lying around the floor.
The combination of a fascination for small objects and the ability to move toward them makes mouthing objects that can cause choking a prime safety concern at this stage. Be especially vigilant about what you leave around for these curious little fingers to find. Any object smaller than an inch and a half (four centimeters) in diameter can lodge in baby’s airway.
Development of the Pincer Grasp
One of the most interesting examples of how two skills develop simultaneously and complement each other is the way a baby’s fascination for small objects develops at the same time as the hand and finger capability of exploring these objects — the evolution of thumb-and-forefinger pickup, or pincer grasp.
Watch your baby go for a pile of O-shaped cereal. She first rakes tidbits toward herself, paw like, and tries to grab them, mitten like, with her fingers ad palm. She frustratingly loses the food bits in her pudgy little hands. Pointing with index finger alone is the earliest sign that baby is about to master the pincer grasp. She touches the object with a pointed finger, tucking the remaining fingers inter her palm. Soon the thumb follows the lead of the index finger, and baby picks up objects between the pads of thumb and forefinger. As baby’s picking-up ability matures to the tips of thumb and forefinger, you will notice a less paw like action and more direct thumb-and-forefinger pickups.
Learning to Release
An important part of baby’s reach-grasp learning is developing the ability to release the grasped object. Babies become fascinated with holding something, such as a piece of paper, and then opening their hand and allowing the object to drop to the floor. Learning to release toys leads to one of the baby’s favorite games at this age, “I drop — you pick up.” She soon associates the action of dropping with your reaction of picking up the toy. Thus, she learns to associate cause and effect.
Releasing helps a baby learn to transfer objects. Put a ring toy into baby’s hands and watch what happens. He first pulls on the toy, playing a sort of tug-of-war. If one hand lets go first, the other gets the ring, and baby’s eyes go from the empty hand to the hand that holds the ring. He transfers the toy from hand to hand, at first accidentally, then intentionally. The ability to transfer a toy extends baby’s playtime. Now he can sit and entertain himself for ten to twenty minutes, shuffling a toy back and forth from one hand to the other. tutors near me