7 - 8 Months

Your 8-month-old’s cognitive development

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Here’s what child development experts say is happening in your child’s brain at this stage. Note that the age ranges below indicate when a skill typically starts to emerge, not when it ends—and remember that every baby’s development is different.

Your baby may:

Look for a family member, loved one, or pet when they hear those names spoken aloud. Try saying, ‘Grandma’s here!’ before she enters the room and see if your baby turns their head to try to find her. You can reinforce this development by using people’s and pet’s names as often as possible. Say, ‘Good morning, [name of pet]’ each time the cat walks in or ‘Good night, [name of sibling]’ every night before bed. (6 to 8 months)

Start to discern different smells. Give your baby various scents to smell and name them to support this emerging skill. Demonstrate how to sniff something; your baby isn’t born knowing how to do this. With repetition over the coming months, they will begin to imitate you. You can offer them scented soap to smell at bathtime, vanilla or gentle spices from the kitchen, and even perfume. (6 to 12 months)

Attempt to imitate you. You can use your baby’s natural gestures to teach them how to mimic an action by tuning into what they do as they play. For example, see if your baby bangs a toy on the table or waves something in the air. Later, when your baby is not using that gesture, pick up a toy and try it yourself. Bang a rattle on the table or wave a scarf in your hand. Hand them the object and invite your baby to mimic you. If they don’t get the game at first, you can put your hand over theirs to teach them. Try this a few times, going back and forth. (7 to 8 months)

Find a partially-hidden object. Show your baby a favorite toy or snack, then cover it while they reach for it. See if your baby recognizes that it’s still there and removes the cover. Start by using a material for the cover that’s transparent, like an inverted Drip Drop cup. You can put a piece of banana or puff cereal under the clear cup and see if your baby is able to get to it. If they get confused, put your hand over theirs to remove the cup and reveal what’s underneath. Over time, you can hide toys under opaque items like a cardboard box or blanket. Another fun way for babies to understand something exists even when you can’t see it is by exploring  the Ball Drop Box, in which a ball momentarily disappears. (7 to 9 months)

Look at pictures in a book with you for 1 minute. For a minute or so at a time, your baby may start to focus on pictures in a book that you name, point to, and talk about. To entice your baby, choose books with real life photography. If you have the time, you can even print out photos of family members, pets, and familiar objects (a bottle, banana, the car, a spoon) and put them in the Standing Card Holder or Soft Book to increase their interest and focus. Remember, reading with your baby at this stage is often a brief, wiggly experience 🙃 (8 to 9 months)

Drop something intentionally and repeatedly. Your baby is learning to deliberately release an object from their grasp. As soon as they learn this, they get interested in how the object falls, the sound it makes when it hits the floor, and whether it stays there. A highchair is a great place for your baby to experiment. You can put a cardboard box below them and give them both soft items (felt balls and tissues from the Magic Tissue Box) and hard objects (large kitchen spoons and plastic measuring cups) to drop into the box. Once your baby gets the hang of it, you can change the position of the box and show them how to aim. (8 to 10 months)

Learn more about your baby’s developing skills and behaviors in our complete guide to baby development milestones.

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Posted in: 7 - 8 Months, 9 - 10 Months, Milestones, Object Permanence, Literacy, Cognitive Development, Lovevery App, Child Development

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