Development at 9-12 months

Personal and Social Skills    age_img1

  • Is aware of strangers
  • Tugs at or reaches for adults to get their attention
  • Begins drinking from a cup
  • Demonstrates affection
  • Begins to smile at own accomplishments


  • Avoid violence and anger at home, on television, and in videos.
  • Speak in a calm, soothing manner to make baby feel safe.
  • Have baby sit with the family during meals.
  • Play pat-a-cake with baby.
  • Let baby hold and try drinking from a cup containing a small amount of liquid. (A cup with a spout in the lid makes it easier.)
  • Hug and kiss baby often.
  • Respond with a hug or by talking when baby reaches for you.
  • Smile and hug baby when baby seems proud of an accomplishment.

Language and Understanding Skills

  • Waves bye-bye
  • Responds to “no-no”
  • Starts responding to simple questions (“Want more Juice?”) with gestures, facial expressions, and reaching
  • Shakes head “no”
  • Recognizes familiar words (mommy, daddy, ball, cookie)
  • Looks at pictures in book
  • Enjoys nursery rhymes and songs


  • Make puppet from sock and pretend the puppet is talking to baby.
  • Read nursery rhymes and sing songs to baby.
  • Help baby look at family photos and scrapbooks.
  • Point to and name objects.
  • Listen and respond to communication from baby.
  • Talk about activities as you do them with or near baby.
  • Ask baby simple questions (“Want a biscuit?”).
  • Say “no-no” to baby only when you mean it and do not change your mind.

Small Muscle (Fine Motor) Skills

  • Holds own bottle or cup with a spout
  • Picks up small objects using thumb and finger
  • Uses two hands together with coordination (picks up cup, bangs two blocks together)
  • Claps hands
  • Drops objects on purpose
  • Feeds self finger foods (dry cereal, crackers, small pieces of fruit)


  • Show baby how to stack blocks, boxes, or empty spools of thread.
  • Let baby play with safe, unbreakable pots, pans , and utensils.
  • Help baby put objects into a container.
  • Give baby empty boxes of various sizes to play with.
  • Give baby dry cereal to feed self. (Do not give baby whole grapes, hot dogs, peanuts, popcorn, or other items baby may choke on.)

Large Muscles (Gross Motor) Skills

  • Gets into sitting position from lying down position
  • Sits down from standing position
  • Walks with assistance
  • Stands alone
  • Bangs two toys together



  • Play stand up/sit down imitation game.
  • Help baby walk with and without support.
  • Let baby “cruise”-walk around holding onto furniture. (Make sure you have child-proofed areas baby uses.)
  • Bang soft objects together and encourage baby to imitate.
  • Imitate baby’s actions.
  • Roll ball to baby and encourage baby to roll it back.