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Ten to Twelve Months Child Development Newsletter

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Your Child's Development

Language Development

Look For Your Baby To:

  • Jabber with expression
  • Say a few words or “pre-words” (like bah for bottle)
  • Recognize that words represent objects
  • Sometimes respond to simple requests including “no”
  • Point and gesture with sounds to let you know what he needs
  • Use questioning inflection to get you to talk (ball?)

Here’s What You Can Do:

  • Talk to your child about what is going on around him, giving him language to describe, explain, and elaborate on his environment
  • Watch what your child is doing and talk to him about it
  • Play simple games like “patty cake” and “so big” and applaud your child’s participation
  • Make sure the directions you give are simple, and give him time to process the request you have made

Premature Babies
If your baby was born earlier than expected, developmental milestones may be “off schedule” a bit. Don’t be concerned if your premature baby isn’t doing all of these things yet. You may need to save this newsletter for a few weeks and then check again.

Brain Development

Look For Your Baby To:

  • Spend a good part of the day exploring the environment
  • Try to manipulate objects to see the cause and effect of actions
  • Do things over and over if they produce an interesting result
  • Look for things that have been taken away and remember where some toys are that she has hidden

Here’s What You Can Do:

  • Use a sensory box filled with various materials of differing textures and properties like dry oatmeal or water
  • Play memory games, hide things and encourage her to find them
  • Put an assortment of toys in a large box or bowl with a lid and encourage her to take them out and put them back

Social-Emotional Development

Look For Your Baby To:

  • Demonstrate many feelings such as sad, happy, mad, hurt, frustrated
  • Demonstrate understanding of simple language such as “no”
  • Demonstrate his own unique temperament traits: may be very sensitive, wary of new situations, moody and get upset easily or be approaching, persistent and positive. All of these temperament traits are normal
  • Begin to initiate social interaction
  • Work to get attention, even if it means unacceptable behavior
  • Have a security object or ritual (thumb, pacifier, toy, blanket)

Here’s What You Can Do:

  • Acknowledge your child’s feelings, even if they are negative
  • Give your child simple verbal directions to follow—“put it in the garbage, please”
  • Learn more about your child’s unique temperament. You can do this by responding to the invitation letter you will receive if your child was born at Avera McKennan Hospital or by calling 605 322 3662
  • Be open to your child when she wants to interact with you. Encourage her to play games with you and talk to her about what you are doing as you are doing it
  • Make sure you set clear and appropriate boundaries for your child
  • Understand the importance of security objects and don't take them away just yet

Learn more about Thumb, Finger Sucking, Pacifiers, and Security Objects

Physical Development

Look For Your Baby To:

  • Sit alone
  • Pull to stand; cruises (walk holding onto walls or furniture), may walk alone
  • Climb onto chairs and get down again
  • Walk if you hold her hand
  • Crawl up stairs, but may not know how to get down
  • Build a tower of two or three blocks
  • Imitate stirring with a spoon
  • Use index finger and thumb to grasp objects; point with index finger
  • Throw objects—this is a skill that needs practice. Baby doesn’t mean to be naughty so be sure to provide acceptable things to throw

Here’s What You Can Do:

  • Safety proof your home AGAIN—now baby is on her feet and can reach higher
  • Provide your child with safe opportunities to try out new motor skills and encourage her
  • Provide large motor toys like balls, pull and push toys, ride-on toys
  • Use a gate to protect her from dangerous areas like stairs, bathrooms, the kitchen
  • Encourage self feeding of finger foods
  • Provide safe opportunities for throwing
  • Provide objects to stack

Learn more about Thumb, Finger Sucking, Pacifiers, and Security Objects

All Babies are Different
All babies develop at their own rates. Don’t worry if your child is “early” or “late” in some areas of development. Notice growth in each area so you can encourage each new stage. Your job is to provide opportunities for your child to learn new things when he or she is ready, without being pushed or pressured. If you have concerns, contact your health care provider.

Let's Make It Safe

Product Recalls

All parents should monitor recalls of children’s products (toys, equipment, clothing, etc). We recommend the Consumer Product Safety Commission which will either email you periodic updates on product recalls or send a newsletter by mail. Visit

New Dangers for Mobile Children

Because of the tremendous amount of brain development occurring at this stage, children are extremely curious and are avid explorers of their environment. This means new dangers, too, as your baby tries to find out about everything. Baby has little or no ability to understand danger, so it is your job to create an environment that is safe, but one that also allows exploration. Here are some tips:

Bathroom—if possible, move all poisons, cleaners, and medications up higher in a latched cabinet or closet. Unplug electrical appliances like hair dryers immediately after use and put away. Electricity and water are a fatal mix! Consider latching your toilet or keeping the bathroom door closed. Always empty the bathtub immediately. Water is a major hazard for baby. A baby can drown in as little as 2 inches of water because the head is large in proportion to the rest of the body, and baby doesn’t have the upper body strength to pull himself out of a toilet, bathtub or water pail if he falls in.

Kitchen—baby’s reach is higher now, so more drawers and countertops are within reach. Consider creating a “no play” zone in the kitchen, usually around the stove and mark with colorful tape. Teach baby to stay out of this zone. Keep appliance cords from dangling over the edge of a countertop where baby can pull them. Use back burners or turn pot handles toward the back of the cooktop to prevent baby from grabbing them. Move cleaners, dishwasher detergent and other poisons to a higher cupboard if possible, securely latch lower cupboards. Knives and other dangerous utensils should be moved to a higher location. Move chairs and stepstools to locations where baby can’t use them for climbing. Remember that babies also figure out how to pull out drawers and use them for stepstools. If this is an issue for you, install drawer latches.

Other Areas of the Home—watch for sharp corners on furniture and restrict access to brick or stone such as fireplaces. Install outlet plugs or covers on accessible electric outlets. Televisions should be securely anchored to the stand or wall to prevent them from falling on baby. Book shelves and other heavy furniture that could fall should also be anchored. Any airtight container can be a suffocation hazard for curious babies. Keep picnic coolers, plastic storage boxes and similar items away from babies. Recliners, rockers and gliders pose a pinch hazard to children. Recliners have also caused injuries to children who get their heads or other body parts stuck when the recliner is being used.

Outside—garages are not an appropriate place for children to play because of the many hazards they contain. Make a plan to prevent death or injury when a child toddles or crawls behind a car backing out of the garage or driveway. Tell another adult when you will be moving your car and have that adult keep their eyes on the child until the car is in a safe position. Check your yard for any dangerous items. Empty child swimming pools after use to prevent accidental drowning. Be sure none of your plants and shrubs are poisonous. You can find a list of poisonous plants at

Learn more about Poison Prevention

Learn more about Drowning Prevention

Learn more about Toy Safety

Learn how to Prevent Suffocation and Strangulation

Health Hints


Immunizations are important for your child’s health. Continue to visit your health care provider at suggested intervals and follow his/her advice for your baby’s immunizations. Free immunizations are available in most communities. Talk to your health care provider or your local community health office for more information.

Little Bodies Need Big Nutrition

Finger Foods

Baby is now able to use the thumb and index finger together. He may be interested in self feeding using this skill. Choking is always a possibility so babies should ALWAYS be supervised when they are eating. Parents should know what to do when baby chokes. Consider taking a class on infant/child CPR or borrow a first aid DVD or video from the library that demonstrates this technique. Some suggested finger foods for babies:

  • Small pieces (less than ½ inch) of soft, mild cheese
  • Small pieces of toast or flour tortilla
  • Crackers (choose crackers without transfats)
  • Unsweetened breakfast cereals (honey is not an acceptable sweetener for children under two years)
  • Cooked strips of vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, zucchini
  • Peeled ripe, soft wedges or slices of fruit such as banana, peach, pear, plum, or melon
  • Small, soft, tender pieces of cooked meat
  • Don’t give your baby round or slippery foods such as whole grapes or hotdog circles, stringy foods such as celery and oranges, hard foods like nuts, seeds, popcorn or hard candy.

Family Mealtime

When families eat together, good things happen. Family mealtimes have been linked to better language development, increased social skills and better school achievement. It’s not too early to begin a habit of sitting down to eat together. But remember, your baby will not be able to sit through a whole meal just yet.

Think about mealtime expectations. Your baby’s tummy is small, so portion sizes should also be smaller. About two tablespoons per year of age would be considered a serving. Sometimes, too much food on a child’s plate can be overwhelming. It’s important for baby to learn to “self regulate” which means listening to his own body to tell him when his stomach is full. So get rid of the “clean plate” rule! Mealtime should be a pleasant time, so avoid using rewards or punishments for eating (if you don’t eat your green beans, you can’t have ice cream; if you finish all your food you get dessert). It’s your job to put nutritious food on the table, but it’s your child’s job to decide what to eat. Be a good food role model for your child by eating a healthy selection of foods yourself.

If your child is interested in using a spoon, it is ok to let her try, even though she will probably not have too much success until later. Practicing will help her develop the fine motor skills in her hands.

WARNING: Honey is harmful to babies. Do not add honey to water bottles or formula before a baby is two years old. A young baby’s immature immune system and intestinal tract cannot handle a harmful spore that can be present in honey.

Visit the Feeding Guide for Healthy Infants

Visit the Children's Nutrition Guide

Thinking About Guidance and Discipline

Thinking about Setting Limits

Frustration will be a new emotion for your baby. She might be frustrated because she can’t DO something—she may scream and cry when getting stuck behind the couch or not getting a toy to work the way she wants. Now it is your job to be the teacher. Punishing her for this kind of behavior will not help her learn. Instead, show her how to do the things she wants to do. Be patient—it will take some time for her to “get it”.

Sometimes baby is frustrated because she doesn’t get what she WANTS. This is when parents need to think about setting limits. Be sure to say “yes” to her often, but when you do have to say “no” be sure you mean it. Child guidance does not necessarily mean punishment. When you spank, slap or yell at your baby at this stage, you are really punishing her for things she hasn’t had a chance to learn yet. Here are some ideas to help parents begin to set limits for baby’s behavior:

  • Be positive—tell your baby what she can or should do in short, simple phrases like “you need to sit in your chair,” “touch gently,” and “hands off! Hot!”
  • Be clear—saying “naughty” or “no no” doesn’t give baby much information on what her behavior should be.  Long explanations don’t help either. A statement like “standing and jumping on the couch is ok when I’m right by you but not when I’m over here” is too confusing for a baby. Keep things black and white for now by saying, “sit on the couch”
  • Be consistent—try to keep the rules simple, but the same all the time. Remember that your baby will learn to adjust to minor differences in rules at home, at daycare or at Grandma’s, but for the most part, rules should stay the same. It’s ok to be flexible sometimes, but think about what is really important to you and stick to it
  • Lighten up—try not to make an issue out of every little thing. It’s ok to see the humor in some of baby’s misbehavior. Remember, much of the misbehavior in a baby this age is part of development rather than purposeful. She will grow out of many of these behaviors, especially if she is taught in a kind and patent way

Learn more about Communicating with Young Children

Childcare Decisions

What are the Best Choices for My Child?

Whether you chose to work outside the home or stay home with your baby, here are some important things to consider.

Many parents feel guilty when they are away from their baby all day. This is normal. Remember that what your baby wants and needs is good quality care all day. If your care situation provides that, you can be confident that your baby will do well. We also know that parents who are happy are better parents with more well adjusted children. If your work is fulfilling to you, that will carry over in your relationship with your child.

A good childcare provider will not be in competition with you. The fact that your baby bonds strongly with the caregiver is a positive thing. Even if your baby calls the provider “mama” take this as a sign that your baby feels safe and loved by this person. Research shows that the parent-child bond is still the strongest and babies remain more strongly attached to parents than caregivers.

You can maximize your child’s well being by making sure the staff in the childcare facility is fairly stable—that there is not frequent staff turnover, requiring your baby to bond and adjust with a new caregiver too often. You also need to maximize time with your child in the evenings and on weekends. Being actively involved and interacting with your child in the hours you do have together will have great benefits.

If you chose to stay home with your child, you will be able to spend lots of time together, talking, playing and learning. It might be helpful to make connections with other stay-at-home parents in your community. If you are home all day with your baby, be sure to regularly take time to be with other adults. Look for programs that give your child the chance to interact with other little ones. Your local United Way Success by Six program is a good place to start. In the Sioux Empire area visit

Mommies Matter; Dads Do Too

Angry Feelings

Babies and young children do things that annoy us or make us mad. It is ok to tell baby when you are upset—“I’m really mad that you dumped that out” or “That screaming is hurting my head.” When you admit your anger without calling names, slapping, hitting, or yelling you teach your baby how to someday deal with his own angry feelings and express them without hurting others.

If you are feeling really angry and out of control, hand baby off to your spouse or another trusted adult, or put baby in a safe place like the crib until you calm down. You can also call a friend or relative to talk out your frustrations.

Baby Playtime

Sensory Development in Babies

Your baby is using all of his or her senses to explore and learn. Try to find activities that will stimulate each sense:

Sight—go outside to experience the colors in nature. Point to pictures in books

Hearing—play music on the radio or with cd’s. Look for interesting sounds for your baby to listen to like wind chimes, rattle toys, squeaky toys and pounding toys. Demonstrate how to make a variety of sounds with objects. Talk and sing to your baby

Touch—give your child textures to feel (soft, hard, smooth, rough). Make a toy, blanket or ball from scraps of interesting fabrics. Use hardboard texture books that baby can handle. Remember to stroke, cuddle and caress your baby; let her touch your skin, hair and clothes, too

Taste—let your child try new and different foods, but don’t force him to swallow foods he doesn’t want

Smell—give your child chances to smell safe things while you supervise (soap, perfume, flowers, food)

The Sensory Box A great activity to start using with older babies is the sensory box. Use a large, shallow plastic storage box (about 2 ½ X 1 ½ feet and about 6 inches deep). Place on the floor on a large plastic table cloth and fill with interesting things for your baby to play with. Remember, a sensory box MUST BE SUPERVISED AT ALL TIMES because of the hazard of choking! Start with a few inches of water or some dry oatmeal. Provide cups, scoops, funnels, etc. Let baby pour, dump, and feel. As baby gets older and less likely to put things in his mouth, you can try other materials in the sensory box:

  • Feathers
  • Rice
  • Cornmeal
  • Shredded Paper

Baby will learn about texture, volume, weight, how materials behave, and much more. The important thing is SUPERVISE!

Learning to Walk

One of the milestones of baby’s development will be learning to walk. Babies learn this skill anytime between 9 and 14 months. You can help by:

Holding baby’s hands between two adults to practice

Arranging furniture like chairs in a line so baby can “cruise” along them

Clearing the area of things that baby might trip on; cover furniture corners with soft corner guards and cushion fireplace hearths.

Providing toys that promote walking like toy shopping carts and push toys

Smiling at your baby and encouraging him when you’re down on his level

Baby walkers were taken off the market for awhile due to safety hazards. Some experts question the position of feet when in a walker—babies tended to be on tiptoe instead of using a normal walking foot position. If you use a walker, use it for limited time. Be aware of safety hazards like stairs when walkers are in use.

The “Ahhh” Game

Teaching your child to say “ahhh” and stick out his tongue is a smart idea. It’s fun for baby to learn and it will be helpful in other circumstances like going to the doctor or if baby puts something in his mouth that doesn’t belong there. Say “ahh” yourself, open your mouth very wide and stick out your tongue. Baby will learn by copying you.

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