by Don Bower
Your baby continues to learn in the 11th month by imitating people and things around him. His knowledge aids his development.
Most babies will stand alone sometime this month, a few will walk, and some will still require support to stand. Baby's skills in using his hands are improving. Hand-eye coordination is better. In fact, baby can probably now fill his spoon and get it into his mouth successfully -- at least part of the time!
Expect Some of These Developments:
Much of baby's mental development is learned through imitation -- at least partially. Do you notice your baby imitating you? This will help your baby learn to speak, dress himself and many other important skills. Your child has begun to develop a memory -- an essential ingredient to learning.
He may now be able to point to familiar objects when you name them, imitate something you did the day before and mimic your voice tones and inflections, if not your words. Your baby is not making fun of you; he is just practicing the things he hears and sees in his world.
Other Developments That Might Appear:
Now that your baby understands more words and the feelings behind words, you need to be careful of what is said around him, and how it is said. If curse words are used in baby's presence, don't be surprised if he repeats them and in the right situation. If your baby is "babytalked," he will learn the wrong way to say words and will have to unlearn his manner of speech later. So remember to speak clearly.
This doesn't mean that you should not imitate his sounds to encourage his efforts. Baby's speech will not be clear in the beginning. Don't worry; practice makes perfect, so just continue encouraging him to speak, and his speech will become more distinct.
Parent-Baby Learning Games
As baby becomes even more active, his games need to become more active, also. Try the following game as a forerunner to playing catch. Get baby's attention on a large, lightweight ball and roll it across the floor, slightly out of baby's reach. Now say, "Go get the ball and bring it to me." Praise and encourage your child for bringing you the ball, and play again! Saying "good job" or "try again" lets the child know you value him and can be patient as he learns.
Your baby is able to express many emotions now and is able to determine the moods and emotions of others. He is beginning to view himself as a separate person, and beginning to differentiate among others. He will fear some people and trust others. He is beginning to relate to others. Perhaps the most disturbing change in baby is his temper and "no-ism." Some children may carry the "no's" to the point of tantrums, although usually not as early as 11 months. If you are having difficulties with tantrums now, or if you do later, perhaps the following suggestions will help.
The first time a young child flings himself on the floor, kicking, wailing and screaming, can frighten a new mother or father into a variety of actions. A parent definitely should not give in -- just a little encouragement can go a long way in this type of situation, and the negative behavior can get out of control. Punishing will only confuse and frighten your baby, so another form of correction is needed.
What should a parent do? Although it is difficult, ignoring the negative behavior (as long as the child is not hurting himself) is probably best. When a parent doesn't respond, most babies will scream louder and kick harder. Finally, when no reaction from parent is gained, they calm down and resume normal activity. This is certainly a healthy solution to the problem.