In the past six months, your little one has checked off many exciting milestones. The seventh month is the start of independence. With the ability to pick things up, grasp toys, and roll around, your little one discovers that there is a whole new world out there. Now she will develop a desire to explore her environment.
As a parent, embrace her need to be independent, this also means that you will also gain back some of the freedom you’ve been longing for. Fortunately, there are plenty of toy options available for independent play. But before you explore these options, it is very important that you child-proof your little one’s play area thoroughly.
- Sits without support: Your 7-month-old baby has a much stronger core and a better ability to balance her body. She can sit for a long time without your support. You shouldn’t need to worry about her bumping into toys such as busy boards or activity centers.
- Supports entire body weight on legs: Now your little one can bear the entire body weight on her legs. When you pull her up into a standing position or let her hold onto the side of the crib, she is able to stand. Many parents ask us if they should let their little ones use walkers. Dr. Leah Alexander cautions that a baby may “become accustomed to the support of the walker, and does not learn the feel of his or her full body weight in order to walk unassisted.” Our suggestion that is you wait another month or so until your little one has developed enough gross motor skills and is able to lean on a push walker.
- Picks up small objects: With improved hand-eye coordination, your little one is able to reach for objects that are close to her. If it is anything of interest to her, she will open up her arm and try to pick it up. Unlike adults who pick things up with a few fingers, your little one will “rake” the object with all five fingers and try to hold it in her palm.
- Passes toys from one hand to another: Besides exploring a toy by stuffing it into her mouth, your little one now can pass toys from one hand to another. She will enjoy playing with toys of different shapes, materials, and textures.
- Investigates shapes, sizes, and textures of objects: In the seventh month, your little one will develop better connections between their vision, memory, and movement. They become aware of the difference in shapes, sizes, and textures. Your little detective likes to further investigate by grasping the object, touching it, passing it between hands, or even having a taste of it.
Social-Emotional and Cognitive Skills
- Makes different sounds to express her mood: Remember how your little one used to use different cries to indicate different needs? Now she will transition to a relatively more mature method – making sounds. She squeals and gurgles when delighted, babbles when relaxed, she cries with a whiny and nasal voice when tired, and fusses when frustrated.
- Begins to understand “no”: This month, your little one will start to make sense of the meaning of “no”. Though she is not able to respond to you verbally, she understands that she needs to pause what she is doing and pay attention to you.
- Tries to grasp objects that are out of reach: 7-month-old babies are confident babies. They overestimate their ability to grasp things. When sitting, they lean forward into a tripod position to reach for things that are out of their reach. You can offer fun things to get their attention and encourage them to grab them.
Activities with Your 7-Month-Old Baby
1. Crawl To The Toy
Your little one may have started crawling or has been busy getting ready for it. Crawling is a great exercise for the development of her overall dexterity. In addition, it further strengthens her hand-eye coordination. This is also when most parents start installing baby gates. To make crawling exercise more fun, you can incentivize her by offering a crawling toy. Even though there are many battery-powered crawling toys available, you don’t necessarily have to get one. You can tie a string on any small toys and pull it manually. The advantage is that you can control the pace and direction. Toys that light up, blink, or make sounds are the best!
2. Hand Puppet Game
You don’t have to be a ventriloquist to play with hand puppets, for your little one is your most loyal audience. Having a hand puppet show is a great way to interact with your 7-month-old baby. You can be the sole actor, or your partner can hide behind you to do the voice over. Watch as your little tot tries to figure out what is going on. You can encourage her to touch and grasp the puppet, too.
3. Building Blocks
Now that your little munchkin can gasp toys and pass them to another hand, why not take it one step further and let her build something? Baby blocks are great open-ended toys that encourage creativity. It promotes your baby’s hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. During the block-building process, your baby can also learn cause and effect as she watches a block tower falling while she adds the last piece.
4. Play with Water
If the weather permits, it is also a great option to let your little tot experiment with water, of course, under your supervision. You can let her feel the running water underneath the faucet. She may try to close her fist to grab the water. Water play can also be during bathtime – show her how to squeeze water out from the rubber animals, or let her try to catch a fish in her bathtub. If your baby loves water, there are sprinkler pads that can turn into a fun water fountain. It provides a safe alternative to the pool and satisfies your little one’s yearning to experiment with water.
Dr. Leah Alexander, MD, FAAP began practicing pediatrics at Elizabeth Pediatric Group of New Jersey in 2000. She has been an independently contracted pediatrician with Medical Doctors Associates at Pediatricare Associates of New Jersey since 2005.