Cognitive Development in Children : 7-9 Months

“Wow!! Look at that, Rhea just responded to my ‘No’!” a mother told her spouse very excitedly. The same reaction must have been yours when your child responded to your instructions for the first time. Don’t get surprised by only one action of your baby, rather welcome this new and exciting phase of parenthood with an awesome feeling. This age of 7-9 months is just a beginning of cognitive development in children and is full of surprises as your baby might astonish you by quickly picking up and mastering new skills. Cognitive development is a part of baby development at 7 months. Responding to a ”No, or having improved hand-eye coordination are only a few to name of those baby developments. 

As days would pass by, you’ll find your baby more and more inquisitive, mobile and interactive. It would seem that your baby is learning something new each day, which would be not only exciting but also surprising at the same time. Keep reading to see your child’s cognitive journey throughout 7-9 months of age. 

Let’s understand baby development at 7 months vis-a-vis cognitive development

  1. cognitive development in children
  2. the various milestones that a 7-9 months old should go through as part of 7 months baby development milestones
  3. We will also talk about the ways through which you can stimulate your baby’s cognitive development milestone and aid her master her skills.

Baby Cognitive Development Milestones

As parents, we often feel that children grow up very fast right from early childhood to their formative years. However, during this click of time is when all the magic happens. You may be staggered at your 7-9 months old’s ability to grasp and understand things more appropriately, or might get flabbergasted by how she makes sense of things that you say to her (this is all a part of baby development at 7 months.) Establishing cause and effect or her ability to understand relationships between things can often act as eye-openers for you. 

Before knowing what all your child should be doing cognitively between 7-9 months of age, it is important to understand in brief what exactly does it mean when we talk about cognitive development in children. Cognitive development in children refers to the way your child thinks, learns, remembers, and imagine things in order to solve any problem or to develop judgment. All of this doesn’t happen overnight, rather takes place gradually. 

Although, babies do progress at different rates, here’s what you can usually expect your baby to be doing by this age:

“By 9 months of age, your child’s object permanence, explore caregiver’s face, and search for hidden toy get well-established. “

Paediatric Child Health, NCBI

1. Manipulating her environment to reach the desired object

Does your child try to grasp things that are far from her and keeps trying very hard to get a hold of them? For example: if you show your baby your phone and place it at a place that is little far from her reach, you’ll find her trying to get closer to the phone by crawling, stretching and extending her hands towards the phone. She might change her way or position to reach for the things she gets attracted to but are out of her grasp.

Not only this, she will also try to understand the ways that she can use to get closer to these objects. For instance: it will not be difficult for her to comprehend that she will have to pull the string to obtain the ring that is far from her reach, or will have to pull the string of a toy tortoise to get it closer to her. This shows that she is on the right track as far as 7 months baby development milestones are concerned.

2. An ability to judge and notice things and take appropriate actions

Isn’t it exciting to see your child using her fingers and thumb to pick smaller objects and use both her hands to pick larger objects? Your infant by this age is able to possess a better understanding of how the world works and how she works within it. For example: According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 2009, “If you spread cereals on the ground, your child will use her thumb and index finger to pick them up while for picking your mobile phone, she would probably use both her hands”–another manifestation of your baby’s development at 7 months as she starts displaying an ability to judge and notice things and then takes actions appropriately. 

3. Improved object and name identification

Has it happened with you that when you call out a fan, you baby points her finger towards the roof? Research has shown that babies by 9-months of age can relate names and objects together. If you read an image book and call out apple loudly, your baby will look at the image of the apple while ignoring the rest of the images on the page. This shows that your baby is able to incorporate an understanding of the conversations you held with her and is able to connect it with the real world. She starts to string together the words and images/real objects she sees in her surroundings.

4. Eagerness to explore objects in different ways

Does your child take out her toys from its container and put them back again and again? The Developmental Checklists Birth to Five Adapted and revised by the Mid-State Early Childhood Direction Center – 2012 shows that your child does so because she loves to explore objects in different ways by either shaking, banging, throwing or dropping”.

Not only this, the baby feels curious to investigate, probe deeply to understand the functionality of things and loves to decipher the things around her. This is an important 7 months baby development milestones to achieve. Infants by this age learn to play with their toys from their seated position and enjoy banging toys or blocks together. Rebecca J. Scharf et all 2016, in Pediatrics in Review, suggest that “putting objects in and out of the container seems to be pleasurable for these kids and shows their understanding of the concept of ‘in’ and ‘out’”.

For example: if you provide your baby with blocks, she will bang different blocks together or bang them hard on the floor. If you provide her with battery cars, she would be more interested in opening and closing the battery compartment. If you provide your child with a toy box, rather than playing with the toys, she will enjoy more by putting back all the toys in the box and then taking them out all over again.

Responsive parenting is one of the most important factors promoting healthy cognitive and social-emotional development

Vulnerable Children: Findings from Canada’s National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth

5. They can follow simple instructions

You don’t want your baby to indulge in some behaviour, so you shouted NO and she stops, exactly like in the opening example, which must have made you extremely happy and excited. Yes, infants by this age seem to respond and follow one-step simple commands”, says Michele Borba and Rebecca J. Scharf et all 2016. She does so more appropriately if you use signs to demonstrate your instructions. During this stage of baby development, she might respond to her own name. She may appear to understand a few words. For instance: if you ask your kid to ‘eat’, or simply say ‘let’s go’ she might respond back happily. If you ask her to get the ball while pointing towards the ball, she might actually go to get the ball. Similarly, if you call out her name loudly, you might feel lucky to get a smile in return–all a part of baby development at 7 months. 

6. They love to imitate you

Rhea’s mother covered her face with her hands and found Rhea doing exactly the same. She waved her hands and said bye, Rhea does the same. Doesn’t this sound somewhat familiar? Rhea was simply imitating her mother’s behaviour. The cognitive development in children during this time makes the babies imitating other’s behaviour more often. Landy S. Pathways in her book: To Competence – Encouraging Healthy Social and Emotional Development in Young Children suggests that imitating sequence of adult actions seem to give pleasure and is highly enjoyed by babies of this age”.

7. Mastery of Object Permanence

Apart from this, Steven Shelov and Tanya Remer Altmann 2009 in their book: Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5, Fifth Edition, tell us that babies begin to develop memories of recent events and seem to master object permanence, i.e., things continue to exist even if they disappear from the moment” If you hid a toy in front of her beneath a blanket, she would trace her memory and would look and search exactly below the blanket. Isn’t it an exciting example of your baby’s development at 7 months? 

8. Follow path of falling objects

Drop a ball in front of your child and observe her behaviour thoroughly until the ball stops moving. At this stage of cognitive development in children, according to the bookCaring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5, Fifth Edition, “Babies are able to track objects and develop capabilities to foresee the path of falling or moving objects. They would wholeheartedly watch the path of something as it falls.

Activities to Improve and Boost Cognitive Development in children 

If you feel your baby is not doing a few things that she should be doing, don’t panic. Help your baby learn and grow. Try some of these interactive activities and let your child explore. The more she explores, the faster she will be able to develop her cognitive skills. Read below to know some interesting activities for your 7-9-month olds kids to boost their child development:

1.Play with your child

Play ‘Copy Me’ games with your child as, at this stage, babies enjoy imitating other’s behaviour. Do things that are easier for your child to imitate to boost her child development. Stick out your tongue or bang a toy on the ground. Wait for your child to do the same. This would help her learn a vast array of skills.

Imitation is vital to the development of abilities ranging from language to social skills”

Lisa Nalven, M.D, developmental and behavioural paediatrician

2.Make a Toy Box

Another exciting way to stimulate your baby’s development is to make a toy box and allow her to explore the toys herself. Fill the box with a variety of toys made up of different materials such as metal, plastic, and wood. Let her take out and explore the contents of the box. She will enjoy dumping and putting the toys back on the container. Let her notice and feel the difference in the toys and listen to the different sounds the toys produce by banging them on the ground. This activity will help your child develop the curiosity to investigate and probe things deeply to understand their functionality.

3.Ask simple questions

Ask your child simple questions that she can answer by simply pointing her fingers to boost child development. Some of the examples of these questions could be ‘who is Rhea?’ Or ‘where is Rhea’s nose?’ Ask these questions and use yours or your child’s finger to point towards the right answer. This will help your child to associate words with actions. And also make her learn and be aware of new things, such as her own name. 

4.Hide and Seek

Play find the toy game with your child. Hide the toy in front of your baby and ask her to find it back. This activity would encourage her to reach one of the important baby cognitive development milestone named object permanence. It is the belief that things continue to exist even if they disappear from the moment–an important 7 months baby development milestones.

5.Play with small and large objects

Let your child play with both extremely small objects such as cereals and large objects such as any large toy. Let her get exposed to a variety of small and big things to boost her child development. This activity will enable her to develop more pincer grasping power.

6.Building blocks

Provide your child with nesting toys such as cups or boxes that fit into each other to boost baby development at 7 months. Show and teach your baby how to stack things over one other. You can also provide your child with blocks. Stack the blocks together and make a building and invite your baby to knock them down. This activity will allow her to understand the relationships between things and will help her to sort out the world around her.

7.Teach cause and effect

Teach your child cause and effect relationship by pressing the button of a musical toy and dance on the tune–an important 7 months baby development milestones to achieve. Point towards the image of a cow and then make a ‘moo’ sound. Help and encourage your baby to do the same.

Check out the developmental milestones that your child has reached so far. Don’t panic if she’s not doing something as each child develops at her own pace. These milestones are just a reference for appropriate child development. Give her time and space. Start acknowledging and appreciating your child’s uniqueness. Give your child the due attention and allow her to learn and grow at her speed. No two kids will reach 7 months baby development milestones. Have a Happy and Enjoyable Parenting!

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