During his first years of life, your baby will develop significantly, changing from a malleable, albeit adorable, lump to a walking, talking little person. Newborns move through a series of intellectual developmental stages during their first years. As your baby moves through the world around her, she is constantly learning and evolving, becoming more aware of the things around her daily.
Spark of Recognition
The first step in intellectual development is basic recognition, reports “Parents” magazine. During your baby’s first several months of life, as his eyesight improves and he becomes able to take in information about the world around him, he will likely begin to recognize things he sees regularly, like your smiling face. With each day that passes, you will likely notice that your child is aware of more things, including his father, his favorite toys and even the family pet. While your child cannot mentally put a word to these things at this stage of his development, he can understand that he has seen these things before and that they must be in some way important.
As your child becomes able to reach for things knowingly and grasp things in which he is interested, he will enter the exploratory phase of intellectual development. During this phase, he may be eager to touch bright objects, reach for things that make noise or grab for dangling things, such as his crib mobile. He may demonstrate an eagerness to put things in his mouth. Because of this oral fixation, it is vital that you monitor the size of objects that he can grab; small objects could present a choking hazard.
Around 10 months of age, your child will develop object permanence, reports WebMD. Once your child develops this skill, he will realize that just because he can’t see something doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. Prior to this stage, your child is unable to comprehend that a toy that you take out of his view doesn’t really disappear but is simply out of sight.
As your child approaches his first birthday, he will likely become obsessed with exploring motion. During this period, he may stare for extended periods of time at spinning wheels, repeatedly open and shut cabinet doors or watch turning toys with fascination. While it may, on the outside, appear that your child is simply engaged in a fixation, in truth, he is learning as he views these objects. He is trying to understand the basics of their motion.
Your child will likely become more attentive to your speech around the time he turns 1. Prior to this point your child may have had a passing interest in words that you were saying. You were likely not able to retain his attention long with simple speech. By this milestone first birthday, you child will begin to understand small chunks of what you say and, as a result, be more focused on you when you speak.