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Developmental Milestones of 9-12 Months Old Baby and Activities

Baby develops the fastest from birth to 1 year old. These changes take place across various domains of development i.e.
1. Cognitive
2. Physical (Fine and Gross Motor)
3. Socio-emotional and
4. Language.

Most children follow a certain pattern of growth and development or achieve certain skills/abilities at a particular stage in developmental. These are called developmental milestones. However, it is important to note that every child grows and develops at their own pace, and might achieve a few milestones faster or slower than usual. If you feel concerned about your child not achieving a milestone, contact your paediatrician.

Cognitive Development 

  • Is highly curious and explores objects in different ways (e.g. touching, shaking, banging, pushing, throwing, dropping, etc.)
  • Imitates gestures/actions.
  • Begins to use objects correctly (e.g. drinking from a glass, brushing teeth, using a phone).
  • Observes the path of an object as it falls.
  • Plays peek-a-boo.
  • Recognizes familiar people, objects or pictures in books (e.g. may point to a cat when asked “Where is the cat?”). 
  • Becomes more aware of themself as a separate being.
  • Might point to a few body parts, when asked.
  • Starts developing problem-solving abilities (e.g. uses a stick to drag a toy).
  • Experiments with action and reaction eg- opens and closes the door, window.
  • Shows signs of better memory (e.g. remembering details of something done a few minutes before).

Physical Development

  • Gets into a sitting position without help.
  • Crawls or bum shuffles easily.
  • Uses support (e.g. furniture) to pull themself up to stand. 
  • Might begin to stand on their own without support (by 12 months).
  • Begins to cruise – walking while holding onto furniture or an adult’s hands.
  • Might take two or three steps without support.
  • Might begin to climb stairs or furniture.
  • Can sit back down from standing position.
  • Puts in and takes out objects from a container.
  • Uses pincer grip (using tips of the thumb and first finger) to picks up small items (e.g. cereal, beads, etc.).
  • Moves things smoothly from one hand to the other. 
  • Uses both hands separately (e.g. picks up a block with one and a toy with the other). 
  • Voluntary release is more refined (e.g. can put objects into a box). Might still find it difficult to put things into small containers).
  • Turns pages in a book (many at a time).
  • New teeth keep emerging; they may have 4-6 teeth by the time they turn 1.

Socio-emotional Development

  • Shows preference for things or people (e.g. May have a favourite toy).
  • Might still show signs of stranger- or separation- anxiety (e.g. might cry when a parent leaves).
  • Engages in imitation/copy play (imitates people).
  • Continues to prefer mother and/or regular caregiver over others.
  • Displays more emotions like affection, anger, frustration, joy or fear (e.g. might give hugs/kisses/cuddles to show affection).
  • Becomes a little cooperative while changing/dressing (e.g. holds out arms to help when being dressed).
  • Observes parents’ responses to their behaviour during feeding and/or play.
  • Enjoys playing games with and showing toys to familiar adults. 
  • Begins to show guilt if they do something wrong.
  • Tries to do things that will please people especially parents; tries to avoid disapproval.

Language Development

  • Pays more attention to speech.
  • Looks at a person who calls their name.
  • Begins to understand simple questions or instructions
  • (e.g., “Where is the ball?” “Put the ball down”).
  • Communicates using simple gestures (e.g. shaking head for “no”; waving “bye-bye”).
  • Tries to talk/communicate by combining sounds together (e.g. dada abee dama).
  • Engages in conversation-like communication with parents/adults (e.g. takes turns making sounds with an adult).
  • Uses exclamations such as “uh-oh!” 
  • Shows an interest in simple picture books.
  • Might begin to says “da-da” and “ma-ma” (knowing who they are).

Feeding and Sleeping Information 

  • Shows interest/disinterest in foods (e.g. keeping the mouth open/closed or turning away).
  • Swallows semi-solid foods.
  • Feeds themself finger-foods e.g. carrot sticks or banana slices.
  • Drinks from a cup with a handle on their own.
  • Sleeps for up to 12 hours at night without feeding (takes about two naps during the day).

Activities For 9-12 Months Old Baby:


Pick It Up and Put It Away

Playtime doesn’t always have to end with you clearing up the place. Turn ‘clearing up’ into a game itself. You could say, “Ok now, it’s time to put all your toys away.”

Crawl over to the toy box and put a toy (e.g. ball) in. Say, “Let’s put the ball in the toy box.” Invite your child to do the same.  Ask them to pick a specific toy and observe if they turn to look for it. Do this for all the toys.

When you crawl and put a toy in the box, you are allowing your child to observe the responsible behaviour you are modelling, making it easier for them to replicate it. (He/She) uses (his/her) memory, recognition and language skills to identify the toys you name.


Where is it gone?

While playing with your child, take a toy and hide it under something. For e.g. Take a toy tortoise and start moving it. Say, “Look! Toto is going for a walk.” Move it slowly across the bed under the blanket. Did they notice you do this? Ask, “Where did Toto go?” Do they reach out for it? – This fun game of hide-n-seek (toy version) is a good way to help develop your child’s  ability to focus and sustain attention, and visually track moving objects


Touch and Name

Point out to various things lying about the house and out of place. Encourage your child to touches or picks them up. Ask what it is. Let them answer if they know. You can then tell them what it is called and let them repeat. For e.g. you could say, “This is your bunny. Where does he go? He goes into the toy box.” or  “This is your blanket. You put this on while sleeping”. Do the same for all things lying around. Your child learns the names of various objects around while touching/feeling them and putting things away.


For more activities like above, download Jyppzer app. Here you can find 300+ age appropriate parent-child activities and games that you can do with simple household materials. Its, fun and educational. Its created by child development experts and fosters skills like cognitive, language, socio-emotional, physical and multiple intelligence. 


App Link via Mob:

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Related Article: 

Developmental Milestones for 0-3 Months Baby

Developmental Milestones for 3-6 Months Baby

Developmental Milestones for 6-9 Months Baby

Developmental Milestones for 1-2 Years Baby

Developmental Milestones for 2-3 Years Toddler 

Developmental Milestones for 3-4 Years Toddler

Developmental Milestones for 4-5 Years Child

Developmental Milestones for 5-6 Years Child

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