Your ten month old is well on their way to becoming a walking, talking, independent toddler! These last few months of infancy will be filled with one exciting development after another, as new skills will seem to pop up each day. As your baby continues to become more aware of their surroundings, expect to hear many squeals of delight this month. There is nothing more fun than watching a baby discover a new skill right before your eyes.

At ten months of age, your baby may…

Cruise the furniture. The time it takes your baby to go from sitting, to crawling, to standing, probably seemed minuscule. Now it’s time to add another development to the list! At around ten months old, your baby might start to cruise the furniture, taking tiny steps and using her hands to keep her body steady between the couch, the armchair, and the coffee table. 

Show a preference for left or right. Before now, your child would probably use either hand for picking up toys or throwing a ball. But right around this time, he may start to show a preference for his right or left hand. You may notice him pick up an item in one hand, but then pass it to the other to have more control when playing, or more often using a particular hand for self-feeding.

Develop new fears. That kid who previously loved baths and swimming? She might suddenly start screaming when anywhere near water. This common development may seem irrational and frustrating to you, but your baby is just working through a new awareness of her environment, and processing things the only way she knows how. 

Say that first word. At ten months old, your baby will probably say his first word or two. Although babbling has been a constant for months, the new words will be different once your child is able to assign meaning to them. He may look for you when saying mama, or spout, “uh oh,” as he throws his cup to the ground for the 30th time that day!

Master hand-eye coordination. Playtime is no longer just throwing or dropping objects. At ten months old, your baby can probably pick up a block and place it in a bucket, or use two hands to manipulate her stuffed toys or activity table. This increased hand-eye coordination will continue to improve as time goes on, and playing with items of different sizes, textures, and colors will help to expand these new skills.

Insist on self-feeding. While purees and finger foods are still a diet staple or your little one, you may have reached the point where he insists on feeding himself. Lunchtime suddenly becomes messy play time, and baths may now be happening multiple times a day. Spoons will be flying, but with practice, he will start guiding that spoon from his tray and into his mouth, not just his hair!

Understand simple phrases. Your baby will likely have some receptive language skills at this time. If you ask her to clap her hands, she will probably know what you mean, and do it! Keep communicating with her by using repetition in your daily conversations as much as possible. 

Engage in parallel play. By this time, your baby is likely sitting and playing for bursts of time. If she is around other children often, she may even engage in parallel play. This is when children play next to each other, maybe even imitate each other, but don’t yet play cooperatively together (which is the next step, but it won’t come for a few years!). Parallel play will often engage your child for longer periods than solo play time does, so being around other children is a great experience at this age. 

Since this is a time of huge transition, you can expect big feelings from your little one during their tenth month. Emotions can go from joy to anger in mere moments, and your baby likely has adorable facial expressions to match every strong feeling that comes along. Empathy continues to strengthen, and your baby will pick up on your emotions faster than ever. By remaining calm and using both words and actions to explain changes that are about to happen, you might notice that your baby has a more smooth transition from playtime to dinner to bed. Sometimes, it may seem like your baby doesn’t understand what you are saying. However, you are providing a beautiful guide and rhythm that helps your little one navigate these days of rapid cognitive and motor developments.

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