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How to engage 7-9 months old baby?

Has your baby crossed the 6 months milestone already? Days fly by too soon. Isn't it? Your little one is all set to learn something new every day and explore the world. I have heard most moms saying this is the best time for them too, as the baby can start on solids, gradually relieving them from breast feeding, and also they were in a better position physically and a better hang of the baby routine. 

On the other hand, the baby is also developing at a great pace working on his physical, emotional, social, gross and fine motor skills. At this age, his sleep time considerably goes down, he is curious to observe the surroundings and learn more.

What to expect from a 7-9 months old?

  • Ready to eat pureed/ mashed food
  • Rolls over in both directions
  • Tries to sit up, unassisted
  • Rocks back and forth, attempting to crawl
  • Makes simple sounds
  • Differentiate between familiar and strange faces
  • Tries to respond and imitate others
  • Tries to stand up and walk with assistance
Here are few activities (personally tried and tested) which you could do to engage the baby and help  develop her motor, cognitive and communicative skills.

Make bath time playful:
Children at all ages like to play with water. Since baby is past 6 months old, he will have better head-neck control and will be able to sit. So you can make him sit in a small bath tub (if needed with support) and give him bath toys like floating ducks, balls, loofahs etc. They will enjoy watching them float, drown and try to grasp them. This helps to strength their backs. You can also play splashing water on them. While doing so, you can introduce them to their body parts. Splash/ sprinkle water on different parts of the body and call out them - head, toe, hands etc. However, ensure to be with him all the time. 

Build bunkers and forts: 
Try to build bunkers with pillows and help the baby sit with its support. Once she can sit on her own, try to use blankets to cover them to make tunnels. You can also cover two chairs with a large blanket and try to crawl underneath it along with your baby. Blankets are also good props to play peekaboo. 

Reading books:
There is no specific age to introduce books to kids. I always prefer to start on early. Try reading to them on a regular basis. They may not understand it, but will definitely follow and enjoy your voice and tone. While reading to them, show and talk about the colours, different objects in the book etc. In this way, you introduce them to different objects, words and help build their vocabulary and communication.

Don't just limit your singing to lullabies. Sing to them different songs in a rhythmic fashion. They enjoy the tunes. Children learn by repeating. Once we keep repeating them, it helps them to remember and imitate the songs along with you. Don't worry even if you aren't a good singer. Kids don't judge and they definitely enjoy our voice. I remember singing a lot to my child in my mother tongue and in English like "Where is my first little duck?", "One-Two buckle my shoe", "Teddy Bear Teddy Bear turn around" etc. and he loved those. While singing, maintain eye contact, make facial expressions, move rhythmically and clap a lot. They enjoy all of these and try to clap, imitate and respond back.

Exercise to those little legs:
On a mattress, hold the baby vertically and securely under her arms. She will be thrilled to be on her feet and would want to bounce. Gently bounce her up and down. This offers a good exercise to her legs and encourages her to take those baby steps, shortly.

Fun with sounds and lights:
Every little sound brings in lot of amusement to the kid. Help him explore the sounds. You can take him to the door step and try to ring the door bell; show him the birds chirping on your porch/ balcony, give him a spoon and a bowl or plate and bang.... within a moment he gets transformed into a rock star. There are many attractive musical toys in the market which produces different sounds and lights like Talking Tom, Dancing Duck, Balls with bells inside etc. You can carry the baby to switch board and try switching on and off the lights. He will be thrilled to watch.

Food is play too:
6 months is a milestone, where kids can be introduced to solid food. Click here to read what foods you can feed her once she turns 6 months. Offer her some pureed fruits/ vegetables, finger foods to play around. She will have fun squishing, squashing, smearing and rolling them. The bonus for you is the artistic patterns and sculptures she creates. Also don't stop if she tries to grab the food and eat on her own. She is in the learning process and your encouragement helps her to eat better. 

Voice Recording:
This is the time, your child babbles, giggles and laughs a lot. Always have a recorder handy and record his voice and play it back to him. He will be thrilled listening not only then, but years later too. You will also have a treasured memory of his childhood.

Laugh along:
Everything around him, catches her attention and becomes a reason for her joy. The sound of the wind chimes nearby, drop of a ball, honk of a car, the way you cough/ sneeze, anything could make her laugh and make her open his mouth, in awe. Remember to join, enjoy and laugh along with her. This gives her a sense of appreciation and makes her feel she has the power to amuse people around.

Play Peekaboo:
No age is too early or too late to play peekaboo. We can try many variations of this game which is sure to bring an instant smile on those cute little faces. Hide yourself with a blanket/ cloth and play peekaboo. You can alternate by covering your baby with a blanket and ask for "Where is baby?". Try hiding a toy underneath a blanket or pillow and repeat this game.

Talk, Talk & Talk:
I always insist on talking to the child. Explain every little detail and object around. Tell what those gloves are for while putting them on, describe the food they are eating, how to be careful while playing in water, what those butterflies/ birds are doing, where the aeroplane is flying, etc. The more you talk, the more your baby learns. She will surprise you by talking/ explaining the same to her doggy or toy dino one day.

Babies are at their rapid growth at this stage. So follow their cues and encourage them. If they want to explore something, do not stop. Create a safe environment, explain and help them learn. The process involves lot of mess and clean ups, hours of your time. But it is totally worth your time and effort. Not only the child, but we as parents learn a lot. A moment we spend looking at those eyes glistening in surprise, those tiny bodies wiggling out of joy, relieves us of all our stress and tiredness. 

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