Ten months

Forefinger to the fore- For the second month in a row, your baby is consolidating big motor skills. You may see more solid sitting balance and more efficient crawling. You will see great strides in fine motor skills. Your baby can now isolate his index, (pointer) finger and begins to poke at things. She may begin to use her index finger and thumb to pick up small objects with precision. There will be more interest in using utensils and in feeding herself BY HERSELF. At about this time, she can also let go of something she has been holding on purpose. Yes, this is when the “I drop something and you pick it up” game begins in earnest. While it may be frustrating to you (the picker upper) it is both entertaining and informative to baby. He learns to release objects, to initiate a game with you and a lot about objects that disappear and return. This month sees growth in cognitive and social skills. She starts to imitate activities that she has watched. If you push her to imitate, she may resist, but you will see her playing with her toys in the same way she watched another child or an adult play with them at an earlier time. Baby also begins to understand simple commands such as sit down or come here. 

MILESTONES (Milestones are averages and, at best, rough guidelines. Half of babies will achieve milestones earlier than noted and half will reach them later. As babies get older, they become more diverse in their development and milestones become less reliable. )
How your 10 month old moves:
1. Sits very securely and can catch balance if he gets a little off balance.
2. Can get to sitting by self.
3. May drop from standing at furniture to sitting by self in order to move away.
4. May pull self up to standing on furniture.
5. May try to stand in middle of room but not for long.
6. May take steps to side while holding onto furniture (couch or coffee table).
7. Creeps on hands and knees efficiently. 
8. May climb down from your lap by self.
How your 10 month old uses hands:
1. Can extend index finger and begins to poke at things with index finger
2. Uses tip of thumb and index finger to pick up small objects.
3. Begins to show handedness by holding objects more often in one hand so they can be manipulated by the dominant hand. Or by using one hand as support more often so dominant hand can be used to handle objects
4. Begins to release objects with intention and without needing to scrape them against something
5. Can feed self a whole meal, tries to use spoon.
Your 10 month old’s senses
1. Balance in sitting becomes mature and may see protective reactions in arms and legs if thrown off balance
2. Continues to explore objects to determine their properties, textures, softness or hardness, etc.
3. Still may be cautious about depth but has sense of distance by sight. Knows if something is in reach or out of reach.
4. May still mouth some objects but is using eyes and hands more for exploration now.
Thinking and learning
1. Big jump in awareness of objects and will search for objects that have been hidden in front of him.
2. Begins to understand that one object is separate from another and that he is separate from other objects and people
3. Begins to learn by watching. He will imitate activities he has seen performed such as trying to wash his face after seeing you wash yours or trying to use a spoon as he has seen you do. 
4. Begins to experiment with ways to do things and may try more than one method to achieve the same goal.
10 month old language skills:
1. May say one or two words, including dada or mama, with meaning
2. Starts to use gestures, such as shaking head or waving bye-bye.
3. Imitates  and repeats a word or word-like sound over and over
4. Begins to understand simple commands such as “give it to me” or come here”
5. Pays attention to familiar words when said by others
6. Can begin to point to some body parts when named.
7. Knows own name.
8. Begins to follow pictures in books as you read. May want to skip ahead or go back to a favorite picture.
Social skills at 10 months
1. Begins to show moods with facial expressions
2. Is aware of approval and disapproval and wants approval so will try to get it.
3. Will repeat performance if he gets approval (applause, positive feedback) but will not perform on command and may be shy before a less familiar person. She will do something for you but if you say “Show Grandma your nose” (etc) she may not.
4. Knows difference between children and adults and shows more interest in other children (especially in public)
5. Begins to help with self care, will “help” with dressing by pushing arms into sleeves or legs into pants, may pull socks and hats off and wants to feed self.

1. Playground play becomes more fun now. Baby can sit is baby swings and can sit with you to go down the slide. Most babies love these activities but a few are fearful and should not be forced. 
2. Playing with toys on the couch while standing at it. Helps improve balance for standing and encourage cruising.
3. “Pillow mountain” -make a mountain of couch or bed pillows for baby to crawl over and through.
4. “Come and get it”- show baby a toy and then place it behind your back so baby needs to crawl around to get it. 
5. “Fill and dump”- get a container and use the beanbags you have or a variety of small balls. Encourage baby to drop the objects into a container (a sand bucket is good) until it is full, then dump it out with some fanfare and start again.
Sensory, thinking and learning
1. Now is the time to introduce a “sensory table”.  I have seen them for sale at the toy stores but you can use a clean dish pan or two to make one. If you have two dishpans set on a coffee table sized table you can use different textured substances in each one. Remember they will probably be mixed. Put water in one, sand in the other, next time use shaving cream or “goop” or rice in one. You can put food color in the water or shaving cream. Have little toys, such as cars or plastic animals, available to be put into the buckets. This activity will be messy so is better outside. You can put the dishpan on the grass instead of a table. Your 10 month old may still be mouthing things so you may need to be sure that nothing inedible goes into the mouth and this may help you choose what you put into the buckets. As always, water play needs to be supervised.
2. Goop recipe: Use ½ cup corn starch to every ¼ cup water. Mix well. Add food color or beet juice for red. ½  cup corn starch makes a small amount and you may want to increase the recipe if you have older children.
3. “Where is your toy.  Pick a smallish toy, such as a small ball or a toy car or plastic animal, and show it to baby. Hide it under a cloth or a plastic cup while baby is watching and ask where it is. Cheer her when she finds it.
4. “Look at the difference” This game involves objects with different characteristics such as hard and soft and mushy, shiny and dull. Collect such objects in a box or dishpan. You can use toys, plastic cups, a wash cloth, a sock, a spoon, a non-breakable mirror, an empty milk carton, a piece of paper, almost anything safe. Let baby hold one of the objects while you talk about the characteristics and point them out. Then give baby an object with different characteristics to explore. Point out the differences. Let baby handle two at the same time. Work with only 2 or three at each session.
5. Finger painting on high chair tray. Use homemade finger paint, shaving cream, pudding or mashed potatoes. Add food color for colors. You may want to keep eating separate from play in which case you may want to have a designated tray for this activity (any large plastic tray with a slight lip around the edge will do) and may want to do this in another room or outside instead of in the high chair.  
Homemade finger paint with cornstarch for tray or paper.
6. Recipe for homemade finger paints : Mix 1/3 cup flour or corn starch with 2 tablespoons of sugar in a saucepan. Add 2 cups of water and stir well while bringing to a boil. The mixture will begin to thicken. (if you cook, you will recognize basic white sauce without fat). Remove from heat when it is the thickness of pudding and place a little in 3-4 separate containers, one for each color that you want to make. This is good for tray painting but does not always stick well if your older children paint on paper.  It is also hard to store.

Language and Social
1. Appropriate books become important because baby starts to follow the pictures. Point to pictures and name them, encourage baby to point to pictures as you name them.
2. “Show me your eyes” Start by demonstrating on yourself or on a doll. Use eyes, mouth and nose first. Then ask baby to point to his eyes and help him. He will begin to learn them at this age.
3. Imitation of daily activities can be done as a play activity, for example, using a child’s tea set or a toothbrush during play. Baby may start to imitate the actions, pretending to drink or to brush her teeth. She may demonstrate these activities on a doll. 
4. Baby will play next to another baby and will learn from them so it is time to begin play dates if you have not already. Babies will take toys from each other and bump each other but that is how they learn social skills. Play dates now involve both baby and mother playing.
5. Introduce songs that include simple actions such as "The Wheels On the Bus". Start with one or two verses with easy actions such as The wipers on the bus and the people on the bus. Some suggested words are listed below. There are other possible verses and actions and you can make them up as you like.

The wheels on the bus 
Go round and round. Round and round, round and round.
The wheels on the bus  
Go round and round. Round and round, round and round.
All through the town. (Roll hands around each other)

The horn….beep, beep, beep ( push one hand as if beeping car horn)
The wipers….swish, swish, swish ( move forearms and hands back and forth in front of you)
The money…. Clink, clink, clink ( use one hand and pretend you are dropping money in the bus box)
The people…up and down, up and down (bounce whole body up and down)
The lights…. Blink, blink, blink ( open and shut hands in rhythm in front of you )
The doors… open and shut ( hold hands open, side by side in front of you, move right hand away from left and slightly forward as if a door. This is also American Sign for "open")

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