Cognitive Development in a 6 to 12 Month Old Baby

by Cara Batema

    Cognitive development refers to thinking, learning, reasoning and problem-solving skills. The progression from 6 to 12 months of age is wide, and aids in other areas of development -- such as movement, language and social skills. Learn what cognitive developmental milestones to expect in your 6- to 12-month- old-baby, and speak with your child's pediatrician, if you feel your child is lagging behind the anticipated skills.

    Cognitive Developmental Milestones

    Developmental milestone lists provide a guideline for which activities your child should be able to do by a certain age; not all children develop at the same rate, but most children will reach specific milestones at around the same age. According to the Centers for Disease Control, a developmental milestones checklist, by 6 months old, babies will bring objects to their mouths and pass objects from one hand to another. By 9 months old, babies will play peek-a-boo, pick up cereal between their thumb and index fingers in a pincer grasp, and will watch the path of an object as it falls or rolls. By 12 months old, children will explore objects by shaking or throwing them, copy gestures, take things out and put things into a container, point with a finger, find hidden toys and follow simple, one-step directions.

    Curiosity

    One major area in which a child develops cognitively during the 6- to 12-month range is in the area of his curiosity. Babies learn to roll and crawl during this stage, and once they have found this freedom of movement, they want to explore and discover new things. You could choose to entertain your child with expensive toys, but most 6- to 12-month-old babies find interest in everyday objects, such as a cardboard box or your phone.

    Observation

    Much like a scientist experiments and observes different things, babies test objects. By dropping, throwing, shaking and rolling objects, children learn how things work, and they will also begin to learn the cause and effect relationship. Babies at the age of 6 to 12 months observe objects via their senses, and they will often put toys in their mouths to explore them further. They become incredibly interested in toys with bright colors and various textures, especially if these toys also make noise.

    Hidden Objects

    Between 8 and 12 months old, according to HealthyChildren.org, infants learn object permanence, meaning that they understand that objects are still around even when they are out of sight. For example, if your child sees you place a ball underneath a scarf, he will lift the scarf to find the ball, which is a cognitive skill that you would not see in a younger infant.

    Objects Have Meaning

    As your baby approaches the 12-month-old mark, he will begin to realize that objects have names and specific functions. While the 6 month old would put a toy plate in his mouth and the 9 month old would bang it on the floor, the 12 month old would pretend to eat off of it, like he has seen you do.

    About the Author

    Cara Batema is a musician, teacher and writer who specializes in early childhood, special needs and psychology. Since 2010, Batema has been an active writer in the fields of education, parenting, science and health. She holds a bachelor's degree in music therapy and creative writing.

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