Childcare for 6 month old: Infants and Toddlers – ACCESS NYC
Guide to childcare choices – BabyCentre UK
In this article
- What is a day nursery?
- What is a childminder?
- What does a nanny do?
- What does an au pair do?
- Could I use a relative for childcare?
If you’re returning to work after parental leave, you’ll need to sort childcare for your little one.
We’ve made a list of childcare choices to help you start your search.
What is a day nursery?
Day nurseries care for children from birth to five years old, though the exact ages may vary. For example, not all nurseries will have the facilities to care for newborns.
Nursery staff are trained to create a safe and stimulating environment. Children are usually grouped by age, so your child will join in with activities suitable for them. They’ll be given a keyworker, who is responsible for keeping you up to date on how your child’s getting on.
Nurseries must meet certain national standards and teach a curriculum designed for young children. This means there’s a structure for your child’s learning and care.
Day nurseries must be registered with and inspected by the appropriate authority for their country:
- England: Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills)
- Scotland: Care Inspectorate
- Wales: Estyn (HM Inspectorate for Education and Training in Wales)
- Northern Ireland: Early Years Teams within Health and Social Care (HSC) Trusts
Many day nurseries are open from 7am to 7pm, for parents with a long working day or commute. You’ll find most day nurseries are open all year round, apart from bank holidays and over Christmas. Some may close for staff training but will give parents lots of advanced warning.
Day nurseries are different from nursery schools. Nursery schools, or preschools, are often attached to a primary school. They’re for children aged from three years to five years, and usually open during school term times only.
What is a childminder?
A childminder tends to work independently and cares for your child in their home. Many childminders are parents themselves and may also have their own children to care for.
Childminders can care for up to six children at a time, including their own. No more than three children should be younger than five, and of these three, only one can be under a year old. This means a childminder will be able to give your child plenty of attention and one-to-one care.
Most childminders work on weekdays between 8am and 6pm, but some work longer hours or at weekends. You’ll need to find a childminder with working hours that fit in with yours.
Like day nurseries, childminders must be registered with the appropriate authority for their country. They have to complete a pre-registration course that covers topics such as child nutrition, food hygiene, and health and safety.
Many childminders study for more qualifications, such as a diploma or degree in childcare. Some also take a course in first-aid.
Childminders will provide toys and activities to help your child to learn new things. As part of their registration, they must prove that they can support your child’s development.
What does a nanny do?
A nanny is employed by you to care for your child in your own home. Depending on what you agree and the age of your child, a nanny may be responsible for:
- planning activities to suit your child’s age
- feeding, bathing and dressing them
- changing nappies, or helping them use the potty or toilet
- preparing meals for your child
- cleaning their room
- washing and ironing their clothes and bedclothes
A nanny should also help with the physical, emotional, intellectual and social development of your child. This means doing things such as taking them swimming, reading to them, taking them to playgroups, or supporting them in reaching developmental milestones.
Although nannies don’t have to hold a qualification in childcare, most do some kind of formal training or study.
In Scotland, nanny agencies must register with Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland (SCSWIS). Elsewhere in the UK, a nanny can choose to register with the relevant authority:
- England: Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills)
- Wales: The Approval of Home Childcare Providers (Wales) Scheme
- Northern Ireland: Home Childcarer Approval Scheme (only if they care for children from more than two families)
Your nanny has a lot of responsibility in caring for your child. So make sure you find a carer you trust, and who your child is comfortable with.
If hiring a nanny is too much for your budget, it may help to know that some families share a nanny, splitting the costs and legal responsibilities.
What does an au pair do?
An au pair is a young person from abroad who has come to the UK to learn English.
Typical responsibilities of an au pair include babysitting in the evenings, helping with light housework, and looking after your child during the day when needed.
An au pair will stay in your home, as part of your family. You’ll need to pay them a small fee and provide meals and a bedroom.
Most au pairs are not trained in childcare, although some may have done a bit of babysitting or looked after young siblings. For this reason, many agencies suggest that au pairs are best suited to parents who have preschool or school-aged children.
Could I use a relative for childcare?
Yes. Many parents ask a grandparent or other relative to look after their children.
Informal arrangements with relatives make up most childcare arrangements. It’s low-cost and flexible, and it means your child will be looked after by someone they know well, in a familiar environment.
Relative care works best if you have a good relationship with the relative, and if they’re willing and able to help. They’ll need to be happy to do things your way, so you may need to set out some ground rules.
If you’re nervous about setting ground rules, you could ask your relative whether they’d like to sign up for BabyCentre emails. This may be a good way to raise some parenting topics for discussion.
Still not sure which option will work best for you? Find out more about the cost of childcare.
6 Key Components of Group Care for Infants and Toddlers
February 8, 2010
Out-of-home child care for infants and toddlers, if done well, can enrich children’s early experience. It can also be a therapeutic component of services to at-risk children, providing a safe and consistent base for protection, prevention, and treatment.
There are six key components of early group care experiences.
How the components of group care are addressed determines, to a large extent, the opportunities for responsive caregiving and caring relationships in infant/toddler child care.
Out-of-home child care for infants and toddlers, if done well, can enrich children’s early experiences. It can also be a therapeutic component of services to at-risk children, providing a safe and consistent base for protection, prevention, and treatment.
Unfortunately, although more and more children in this country are moving into group care at younger ages and for longer periods of time, we are missing opportunities to provide quality care. Indeed, current practices in many infant/ toddler child care settings actually hinder caregivers, children, and parents from forming and sustaining the deep, responsive, and respectful relationships that are the hallmark of quality.
The process of forming a strong positive identity should occur in a setting that offers security, protection, and intimacy. It doesn’t happen in “school”; it happens in a continuing relationship with a caregiver.
In the day-to-day give and take of good infant/ toddler child care, children and their caregivers relate in a way that looks much like a dance, with the child leading, the caregiver picking up the rhythm and following. When a caregiver reads and responds to the young child’s messages with sensitivity, the child’s hunger to be understood is satisfied. The conviction that “I am someone who is paid attention to” becomes part of the infant or toddler’s identity.
In order to create and sustain intimacy in group child care, we must address six key components of early group experience: group size; quality of the physical environment; primary caregiving assignments; continuity of care; cultural and familial continuity; and meeting the needs of the individual within the group context.
We create chaos and confusion when we put too many infants or toddlers in one group, even with an appropriate number of adult caregivers. As the number of infants in a group goes up, so do noise level, stimulation, and general confusion. The group’s intimacy is gone. Children look lost and wander aimlessly, not quite knowing what to do. When there are too many children, shared experiences and discovery through play are inhibited. Smaller groups mean fewer distractions and children’s activities that are more focused. In small groups, very young children are able to make connections, form caring relationships, and learn to understand other children.
For children not yet mobile, ZERO TO THREE (1992) recommends that group sizes should be no larger than six; the caregiver/infant ratio should be no more than 1:3. Children crawling and up to 18 months, the group size should be no more than nine, ratios no more than 1:3 (explorers are active and need a watchful eye). Children 18 months to three years should have a group size of no more than 12, ratios, 1:4. Centers, group homes, and family day care homes with mixed age groupings should never have more than two children under two years of age in a single group.
Infants and toddlers with disabilities who do not require special medical support can easily be included in environments with this suggested ratio and group size. Children with disabilities are children first; the care they need is often exactly the same as the care typically developing children need.
Group Care Environment
The physical environment—indoors and out—can promote or impede intimate, satisfying relationships. Carollee Howes discovered that in family day care homes in which dangerous objects and fragile prized possessions had been removed from the area in which infants and toddlers played, caregivers smiled more, encouraged exploration, and gave fewer negative comments (“Don’t touch that!”) to infants and toddlers. In an infant/toddler center, a hammock invites a caregiver to cuddle one or two babies.
The environment affects caregiver/parent relationships. A comfortable place for adults within the children’s environment can encourage parents to visit throughout the day and can also be used to encourage continued breastfeeding with infants. A place for parents to sit comfortably for a moment at the end of the day acknowledges the parent’s needs and encourages conversation.
When dangerous objects and fragile prized possessions were removed from the area in which infants and toddlers played, caregivers smiled more, encouraged exploration, and gave fewer negative comments to infants and toddlers.
The environment affects relationships between children as well. Considering the amount and arrangement of space and the choice and abundance of play materials can either increase the chances that young children will interact positively with each other or increase the likelihood of biting, toy pulling, and dazed wandering.
A caregiving environment can encourage or impede flexible, individualized care in a group setting. With easy access to the outdoors, the daily rhythms of infants and toddlers can be accommodated. In too many centers, however, infant/toddler time on the playground is rigidly scheduled and subordinated to the schedules of groups of older children. Infants and toddlers need small amounts of food and drink throughout the day to support their emotional, social, and physical well-being. A child who is thirsty or hungry cannot interact successfully with other children or adults. A small refrigerator and modest equipment for warming food will allow caregivers to feed infants on demand and offer snacks to toddlers frequently. But too often in child care settings, feeding routines accommodate the kitchen rather than the child.
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Primary Caregiving Assignments
The assignment of a primary caregiver to every child in group care means that when a child moves into care, the child’s parents know, the director of the program knows, and the caregiver knows who the person is who is principally responsible for that child. Primary caregiving does not mean that one person cares for an infant or toddler exclusively, all of the time—there has to be teaming. Rather, primary caregiving implies the infant or toddler has someone special with whom to build an intimate relationship. Primary caregiving assignments are an excellent example of program policy that takes the encouragement of relationships seriously.
Two vignettes adapted from ZERO TO THREE ’s Heart Start: The Emotional Foundations of School Readiness (1992), illustrate the difference a special relationship can make to a young child’s experience in child care.
The way it shouldn’t be.
Tim stood just inside the entrance to the playroom. He was sturdy for one-and-a-half, but short. The noise was jarring, and he looked around for the woman his mother talked to when they came in. She had said to his mother, “He’ll be fine—I’ll get him started,” and she had taken his hand. But now, just as fast, she was gone. It scared him as much as the other time. This was not a good place to be. He wanted his mother and he wanted to go home. A boy bumped him hard, and Tim fell. He crawled over to that woman. He sat down and fingered some colored blocks on the floor. A big boy came and grabbed one and stepped on his hand. Tim yelped and cried and looked around. He held his hurt hand in the other and the tears ran down his cheeks. No one saw.
Two weeks later: Tim stood just inside the entrance to the playroom. It was very noisy. A boy ran past him and bumped him. Tim lunged for him and pushed him down. The boy cried, and Tim walked over to the blocks. He picked some up, and a bigger boy came and grabbed them. Tim gave them up quickly and then turned and saw a smaller boy who had some. He pulled them away from him. The boy cried. Tim looked at the blocks. He couldn’t remember what he’d been going to do with them, so he threw them down. They made a very satisfying sound. He picked up several other toys nearby and threw them. Suddenly one of the women was there yelling at him and holding his arm very hard. She was saying lots of things to him, and now she said, “time out,” and scrunched him on a stool. He tried to get up but she wouldn’t let him. She waved a finger in his face. He thought about biting it. She went away. He didn’t like this place. He wanted his mother. He wanted to go home.
What Tim is learning in this child “care” center is almost everything we would not want him to. He is important to no one here and must fend for himself, as must others. For some it’s like home—for others it’s newly terrible. For all, it is a potentially damaging experience.
The way it should be.
Tim and his mother had visited the center twice in the last week. They had spent time with Mindy, who told them she would be Tim’s primary caregiver. Both Tim and his mother felt comfortable with Mindy. She was interested in them, wanted to talk regularly about Tim’s progress, and seemed to understand how Tim’s mother felt about leaving Tim to go to work.
When it was time for her to go, Tim’s mother reminded him she was leaving today. He looked surprised and climbed off the horse. Mindy picked him up and said, “Let’s go to the door and say good-bye to your mother.” Tim wanted to go with his mother. But his mother really seemed to be going to leave him, so he clung closer to Mindy, who cuddled him and talked quietly. Then his mother was gone. It was like everyone in the world was holding their breath at the same time, but Mindy held him and patted him and talked quietly, and then everyone began to breathe again. Tim could see the toys and children, but mostly he liked hearing Mindy’s voice. Ten minutes later, ‘Tim was on his horse. He wasn’t as wholly confident as 20 minutes before, but he could still ride, and Mindy was close by and always noticed when he looked at her.
Two weeks later: After his mother kissed him, Tim waved good-bye and then he said, “Hi” again to Mindy, who ruffled his hair. Tim made a beeline for the block area, but when he got there Wong Chen had corralled all of the red blocks Tim wanted. Tim squatted down and watched Wong Chen. In a minute, Mindy came over and squatted down too, and they both watched him. Then Mindy said, “Tim likes those blocks too, Wong Chen; would you let him play?”
…Later, Tim started to build a big car with red blocks, a car like his mother’s red car. His mother was working. She would come later. “Mommy later,” Tim said. Mindy heard him. “She will, Tim,” said Mindy. “She’ll come after your nap.“ “After nap,” said Tim, and then he said, “See my car?”
Tim is learning a lot in this center, mostly very good things. He feels important. He feels heard and understood. He feels protected, and his primary caregiver helps him negotiate the difficult things with other children. He is learning to cooperate and to pay attention to what other children need and want. There is enough space, there are enough providers, just enough children, and abundant affection for everyone.
Continuity of Care
Having one caregiver over an extended period of time rather than switching every 6 to 9 months or so is important to the expansion of a child’s development. Switching from one caregiver to another takes its toll. The child has to build trust all over again. When a very young child loses a caregiver, he really loses part of his sense of himself and the way the world operates: The things that the child knows how to do, and the ways that he knows to be simply don’t work any more. Too many changes in caregivers can lead to a child’s reluctance to form new relationships.
Continuity of care—or the lack of it—in a child care program has important implications for the group experience. A child with a new caregiver has to work hard to get her messages across. The caregiver can only guess at what she wants. There is confusion and stress for both child and caregiver. If a child deals with change by acting out his frustration, this will have an impact on the entire group. With a caregiver who knows him, however, a child can express need less dramatically. The better somebody knows a child, the more subtle the cues are that will inform that person of what it is that the child needs.
Too many changes in caregivers can lead to a child’s reluctance to form new relationships.
Continuity of care is important for caregivers and parents as well as for children. When infants and toddlers are moved to a new room as they reach a new developmental stage, caregivers don’t get to see the fruition of their work. Parents often experience tremendous grief when they first place their infants in child care. Trust in the caregiver builds slowly, as they realize that the caregiver is attached to their child, loves their child, and supports the special parent-child bond. With a change in caregivers, not only the child, but parents as well will grieve and have to build trust all over again.
At the Creative Pre-School directed by Dr. Phelps, one caregiver cares for three infants. Caregivers are trained to use every moment of the day to build trust with the infant and the family. Each infant is on his or her own schedule for feeding, diapering, sleeping, and playing. This schedule is documented for the family on an individual daily schedule form.
As infants begin to exhibit the need for more stimulation, usually around 12 months, the caregiver will begin to take them to visit the practicing toddler group. These children are between 14 and 24 months old. Visiting can be done with all three infants or with one or two at a time. (Because each infant is on his or her own schedule, there is much time for individual attention.) The adults in the practicing toddler area visit the infant room often, with the focus on building relationships over time with the infants who will one day be toddlers. The transition is flexible and centers around each child’s building a relationship with the next caregiver. The infant caregiver may move with the infants into the practicing toddler group, or, if the children are comfortable with the new caregiver, she may move back to receive a new group of infants. This same slow process, focusing on each child’s adjustment to a new environment, takes place throughout the age groups, including the movement of older toddlers (young threes) to the preschool program.
Cultural and Familial Continuity
If there is no one in a child care setting who speaks the child’s home language, or validates the childrearing values and beliefs of the family, the early development of the self is threatened. Particularly for infants, what they sense from their caregivers is incorporated into their definition of self. If infants get subtle messages that their way of communicating should change or that they are hard to understand, both their sense of rightness about where they come from and their feelings of personal potency are shaken. Child care should be in harmony with what goes on at home, following the form and style of what is familiar to the child.
Self-reflection is key to culturally sensitive care, and caregivers should be schooled in it. By exploring their own backgrounds, they can see the roots of some of their most basic child care practices. No matter what routine is being carried out, the caregiver’s values about it are shaped by her childhood, her child care training, and other cultural influences. It is essential to recognize these values and understand that they are being transmitted to the children.
We need to look at our backgrounds, our philosophy, and why we are in the work we are in. We need to be honest, with ourselves and with families. It is not helpful to pretend to be interested in the parent’s point of view—saying “Tell me about why Mei Ling cries and you pick her up immediately,” as we are thinking, “This parent is spoiling this child.” Rather, we must uncover the values that underlie our own beliefs, become aware of multiple perspectives on childrearing, be open to the parent’s point of view, and be willing to change some of our practices.
To provide cultural and familial continuity, child care centers should employ staff who are of the same culture and who speak the same language as the children served. Culturally representative staff should be included in decision-making positions. Using small groups is key. It allows caregivers to have a manageable number of cultures to relate to. They can get to know the families and be more responsive to their concerns.
We must uncover the values that underlie our own beliefs, become aware of multiple perspectives on childrearing, be open to the parent’s point of view when there are differences, and be willing to change some of our practices.
Meeting Individual Needs in Group Care
In an intimate setting, flexible scheduling is possible. Babies sleep when they want to sleep and where they want to sleep. They eat when they are hungry, and are fed with food that meets their individual needs. They play when they want to play, with plenty of opportunities to explore a variety of toys and materials, and to play alone, with other children, and with adults. Since babies’ rhythms are individual, this means that a caregiver can expect to be keeping an eye on one sleeping infant, watching another who is absorbed in her own play, and actively engaging a third. An intimate setting recognizes toddlers’ individual needs to explore, assert autonomy, and periodically reconnect with the secure base their caregiver provides. Nutritious snacks are available (often the focus of spontaneous socializing), potty training occurs as the individual child is ready, and ways are found for the toddler to re-visit her old crib if that is important.
In an intimate setting, a child who requires additional support can be accommodated. At the Creative Preschool, for example, a toddler with a serious medical condition requires frequent cat-naps. A beanbag chair in the room allows him to stay with his play group during the day, yet go to the chair for a 10- or 15-minute nap as he needs one. When he wakes up, he is near his caregiver and friends, and can immediately rejoin the day’s activities.
The care of young children in groups is a profession. It includes both science and art. As a society, we need to make it possible for people to study the science and practice the art of caregiving. We need to release caregivers to provide the kinds of responsive care they know how to do or can be trained how to do, and to develop deep relationships with parents, children, and other caregivers.
High quality care for infants and toddlers must be in small groups, with appropriate ratios. There must be time for relationships to be established. There must be time for caregivers to learn and practice the different ways they will need to relate to children in the first three years of life—being very available in the earliest months, then helping children to “find their wings” as development proceeds.
Group care can be a place where infants and toddlers, with and without disabilities, can feel their potency. Group care can be a place where all children, caregivers, and parents form deep, meaningful, and satisfying relationships that support both the family and the full development of the children. We need to make it happen.
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Baby 6 months old ✔️ What a baby should be able to do
The child is six months old! This is a date that parents perceive in a special way. The baby does not grow as rapidly as in the previous months of life, but the development of a child at 6 months shows how much a six-month-old baby differs from a completely helpless newborn. He begins to demonstrate new skills that just one or two months ago were not even a hint.
Young mothers and fathers, comparing their son or daughter with other children, naturally ask themselves questions about what a child should be able to do in the sixth month of life, and whether their baby meets developmental standards. While each baby is, of course, individual, you can compare your child’s development to the average standards that pediatricians are guided by.
- Physical development
- Differences between boys and girls
- Physical ability
- What a baby should be able to do at 6 months
- Basic skills
- Motor activity, motor skills, reflexes
- Intellectual development
- Psychological development
- Sense organs
- Sleep, nutrition and daily routine
- Games and toys
- Baby care at 6 months
- Opinion of Komarovsky
- Common problems and solutions
- How to help the baby develop?
In accordance with the average indicators at the age of six months, a child:
- can confidently roll over from one side to another, from back to stomach and vice versa;
- leans on his hands for a long time from a prone position;
- begins to make the first movements, reminiscent of crawling.
These skills – turning over, resting on hands, attempts to crawl – indicate the normal development of the child at the sixth month of life.
If your child seems to have poor body control, such as not being able to roll over or being able to support their weight with their hands when lying on their stomach, film the scenes that are embarrassing to you and show the video to the doctor.
Other indicators, such as height, weight, ability to sit, depend on the characteristics of a particular baby.
The table below shows the average height, weight, head circumference and chest circumference for boys and girls at six months:
|Height (in cm) and weight (in kg) ) boys||Height (in cm) and weight (in kg) of girls||Boys head circumference (in cm)||Head circumference of girls (in cm)||Boys chest circumference (in cm)||Girls chest circumference (in cm)|
|63. 5-72 cm; 6.7-8.5 kg|| 62-70 cm;
The parameters are indicative, and if your baby was already noticeably larger or smaller than other newborns at birth, you can calculate his weight norm using the formula: weight at discharge from the hospital + 800×6 . You will get the approximate weight that the child should correspond to in six months.
The calendar of development of physical indicators in the first year of life is uneven: the most active growth and weight gain occurs in the first four months. By the sixth month of life, the baby adds 600-700 grams of weight from the previous indicator, grows by two to three centimeters, the head circumference becomes one centimeter larger, the chest circumference – by one or two centimeters.
At six months, many children erupt their first tooth. Although it is not uncommon for a tooth to appear earlier, at 3-4 months, or later, at 8-10 months. Pediatricians consider the eruption of the first tooth to be the norm until the end of the first year of life.
Differences between boys and girls
Six-month-old babies of different sexes do not differ much from each other: boys and girls have approximately the same height and weight, similar skills. Doctors note that usually girls begin to sit steadily and try to stand at the support earlier than boys. The remaining parameters of the development of children at six months are on average the same, regardless of gender.
Pediatricians recommend not to speed up the process of learning to sit independently when it comes to girls. If the girl does not want to sit down on her own and sit for a long time, do not seat her. So you will not allow a traumatic load on the spine and genitourinary system of your daughter.
What a child can do at six months – physical development:
- deftly turns over, easily leans on his hands while lying on his stomach;
- muscle hypertonicity completely or almost completely disappears, the baby controls the limbs well;
- lies on the stomach for a long time and with pleasure;
- the sucking reflex decreases – the child can learn to eat from a spoon;
- the baby abruptly pushes off with his feet from any surface when an adult holds him under his armpits.
What a baby should be able to do at 6 months
At the age of six months, a baby develops new skills and develops existing ones. The regime changes, often six-month-old children are introduced to complementary foods. The child perceives games and toys in a new way, and even caring for a baby becomes different.
Skills and abilities that a six-month-old baby knows quite well:
- is interested in all objects that fall into the field of view, tries to grab them and study them;
- tries to sit up on his own and sits steadily if he succeeded in sitting down or if an adult helped him into a sitting position;
- tries to stand at the support, if possible – can raise one arm from this position, maintaining balance;
- makes the first attempts to crawl, making characteristic movements from a prone position. Some children can get on all fours;
- expresses affection not only for the mother, but also for other close people.
Motor activity, motor skills, reflexes
Motor activity and motor skills of a six-month-old baby, which assess whether the development of the baby meets the norms: , holds firmly in one or both hands, shifts from hand to hand;
At six months, the baby retains the reflex of automatic walking and support, which is inherent in children from birth to 8 months: the child straightens his legs, if you help him take a standing position, steps over his feet, as if imitating walking.
A new, more complex reflex appears – the straightening reflex of the body: when the head is turned to the side, the baby turns the body and pelvis in the same direction.
A 6-month-old baby shows a noticeable jump in intellectual development compared to the previous period of life. A healthy baby:
- is so interested in surrounding objects that he can enthusiastically examine and feel one toy for 10-20 minutes without attracting the attention of parents;
- distinguishes familiar and unfamiliar people well, at the sight of strangers expresses alertness, fear;
- understands that his purposeful actions cause certain consequences: for example, he knows that if you press on a sound toy, it will start playing music;
- knows his name, responds to his own name;
- distinguishes the mood of the surrounding people and the intonation of their speech: reacts with a smile or tears, depending on the circumstances;
- one of the important methods of researching the world remains the “tooth test” of objects of interest.
Psychological development: emotions and mood
The main manifestations of emotions and mood in a six-month-old baby:
- stays in a good mood for a long time when carried away by toys;
- stops using crying as a means of getting attention. Cries if hungry or otherwise uncomfortable;
- expresses a variety of emotions well with the help of facial expressions and voice: surprise, joy, fear, chagrin;
- mood is often associated with the mood of close people, especially mothers: if mother is in a good mood, the baby is also in a good mood, if mother is upset, she starts to act up.
Sense organs: perception of the surrounding world
At six months, a child’s sense organs are not as well developed as in adults and older children, but much better than in newborns. A six-month-old baby already knows how to focus his eyes on a certain object, distinguishes bright colors well.
Taste buds are also developing: the child feels sweet, bitter, salty tastes. The ability to distinguish all shades of taste will be formed later – approximately by the time the baby goes to school.
Increased pain sensitivity. The child feels pain more acutely compared to the period when he was just born.
Hearing, smell and touch are already well developed in newborns, and remain at the same level at the age of six months.
A 6-month-old baby, of course, still does not speak meaningfully. But the sounds he makes change: the child does not coo, but babbles, trying to turn the sounds into syllables. Gradually, the baby begins to pronounce separate, audible syllables, tries to repeat sounds after adults.
Sleep, nutrition and daily routine
Growing up, children sleep less, but, to the relief of parents, much more soundly than before. A six-month-old baby sleeps two to three times a day, often sleeping continuously at night, especially if he is bottle-fed. The duration of sleep is different, depending on the characteristics of the child and the daily routine. Daytime sleep can take from 30 minutes to 2-3 hours, at night the baby is able to sleep up to 9-10 hours without waking up.
Six months is the age when complementary foods should be introduced, if you haven’t already. If you continue to feed your baby only with breast milk or formula, the risk of allergies to new products will increase significantly in the future.
Food safe for first feeding:
- gluten-free dairy-free cereals;
- one-component fruit and vegetable baby purees;
- children’s cottage cheese.
When the child gets used to the first food and you make sure that the products do not cause allergies, gradually add new dishes to the menu:
- milk porridge;
- multi-component fruit and vegetable purees;
- meat puree.
Baby continues to breastfeed at six months on demand. If the child is bottle-fed, give him a bottle of formula only after he has eaten other foods (porridge, mashed potatoes, cottage cheese).
Food unsafe for 6 month olds:
- whole milk;
- any food not ground to a puree consistency;
- not suitable for age: for example, juices, on the packages of which it is indicated that the drink is intended for nutrition of children from three years of age.
A daily routine without gross violations is useful for children: they sleep better and are less capricious. Try to stick to roughly the same daily routine until the baby is 8-10 months old, when the time for sleep will decrease again.
The daily routine can be as follows:
- 7.00 – awakening, hygiene procedures, feeding;
- 8.30 – daytime sleep;
- 10.30 – awakening, feeding, games;
- 12.00 – walk;
- 14.00 – feeding upon returning home;
- 14.30 – games, developing activities;
- 16.00 – a walk combined with daytime sleep;
- 17.30 – feeding at home;
- 18.00 – games with toys, classes with parents;
- 20.30 – hygiene procedures, feeding;
- 21.00 – the approximate beginning of a night’s sleep.
Games and toys
A six-month-old baby is no longer afraid of new sounds. On the contrary, sound toys are of increased interest. Buy your baby a “singing” soft toy or children’s musical instruments – he will surely play with these items for a long time and with pleasure.
The child still likes to experience new tactile sensations: let him play with toys made from a variety of materials. Thanks to the development of vision, the crumbs will also like any toys of bright colors.
A six-month-old baby is interested in finger games, as well as children of an earlier age: for example, the well-known “Ladushki” and “Magpie-white-sided”. You can try to teach a child to assemble a pyramid: however, most children only remove rings at six months, but with regular games they master the principle of collecting and disassembling a pyramid in a few weeks.
Play a simplified version of hide-and-seek with your son or daughter – hide the toy in front of your child and ask him to find it. Over time, the child will begin to look for the toy, even if he did not see where you hid it.
Baby Care at 6 Months
Basic Baby Care for 6 Months:
- washing and rinsing;
- keeping hair, nails, ears, nose clean;
- brushing teeth – mandatory after a visit to a pediatric dentist and in accordance with his recommendations;
- tempering procedures: sunbathing and air bathing;
- bathing – once every two days or more often if necessary;
- light massage.
Read also How to increase immunity at home: the rules and principles of hardening children.
Evgeny Olegovich Komarovsky, a well-known Russian pediatrician, advises anxious parents to reduce their anxiety. The doctor assures that there is no single norm for all children and you should not force the baby to develop faster if he lags behind his peers in some way.
Thus, Komarovsky believes that there is no need to teach a six-month-old child to sit and crawl if he himself does not strive for these movements – the baby will certainly sit down and crawl, but a little later.
Evgeny Olegovich also dispels the myth that active salivation is a harbinger of teething. According to the doctor’s observations, many babies over three months of age drool profusely, and the process of salivation is in no way connected with the appearance of the first tooth.
Common problems and solutions
Moms and dads of six-month-old babies often have the same problems that are easy to fix with the right approach:
1. The child does not sleep well at night, often wakes up
Do not worry if the baby wakes up only for feeding – at half a year such awakenings are quite natural. But if the baby refuses the breast or bottle, is naughty, or is just awake at night, try to improve sleep: put the baby to bed not too early. Before going to bed, you can take a bath.
2. Frequent injuries
The baby becomes much more active than before, and it is really difficult to keep track of him. Secure the space where the child spends the most time to the maximum: remove traumatic objects and small objects that you can choke on by negligence.
3. Crying and whining during teething
If your child is having a very hard time getting their first teeth, such as fever or digestive problems, contact your pediatrician. The doctor will prescribe a drug to relieve the symptoms of teething, or suggest other ways to solve the problem.
Parents often worry if their baby does not fully meet the developmental standards set by pediatricians. In most cases, you should not worry, but there are several serious reasons to consult a specialist:
- the child does not try to change the position of the body;
- cannot keep his gaze on the same object for a long time, the baby’s gaze is as if “wandering”;
- indifferently perceives other people, even the mother;
- , prolonged monotonous movements are observed – for example, swinging arms without interruption for several minutes.
How can I help my child develop?
Ways parents can help their six-month-old baby thrive:
- Set up a safe place to play, such as a playpen. The child will get used to some isolation, and the natural separation from the mother will be easier.
- In the playpen or on a baby rug on the floor, lay out colorful and vociferous toys. The baby will reach for interesting objects, preparing the body for crawling.
- Choose toys that are age-appropriate: the child should not find it difficult to play with them. If this is a musical toy, pay attention to the fact that the music is played when lightly pressed.
- Buy your baby the first book – always made of dense material.
- Communicate regularly with your baby so that he learns speech faster. You can read nursery rhymes, poems, short stories to your son or daughter, or just talk about any abstract topics.
Six months is a wonderful age. Sleepless nights are left behind (or almost behind), the first teeth appear, the baby shows love and tenderness for loved ones. Play with your child, help him develop – and let most of the problems bypass you!
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what boys and girls “should” know
3-6 months 6-9 months
Author of the article
Sleep consultants, doctors, psychologists, breastfeeding consultants
Six months – you could say the first round date for your baby. By this time, he was strong and about twice as heavy since birth. Together you have already gone through several developmental leaps, grown the first teeth (but this is not certain), and mastered new motor skills. Further more! And where further and what more – now we will tell.
Baby’s crisis calendar
In this article:
Height and weight of the baby at 6 months
Skillful hands: developing hand skills at 6 months
Physical development of the baby at 6 months
Mentally e development of the child at 6 months
Massage / gymnastics at 6 months
How to play with a baby at 6 months
How sleep and development mutually influence each other
All children are different. Even twins often have different rates of development. Any tables and norms can only serve as a guide. Hardly anyone can feel a child better than a mother and know what and when he needs.
Height and weight at 6 months
In 2005, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued the Child Development Standards. They are based on a large-scale study of the height and weight of almost 9,000 full-term boys and girls from around the world who were breastfed for at least 6 months and their mothers did not smoke. Unlike the old standards, the new norms allow parents to track the development of the child, taking into account his individual characteristics.
Child’s height at 6 months
Babies grow an average of 1.7 cm in their sixth month. Perhaps this month you will decide to move your baby from the cradle, if you have used it, to a larger crib.
Senior sleep consultant, pediatrician
Children’s height and weight standards are very wide, depending on the term of delivery and birth weight, type of feeding. It is optimal when the height and weight indicators are in the same column-corridor (“medium”, “low”, “above average”, etc.) or in neighboring ones. The attention of the pediatrician is required when both indicators are in the extreme columns, or the difference between the corridors of values is 3 or more (for example, weight and height in the first percentile corridor is “very low” or weight in the first is “very low”, and height in the fifth is “higher than average”). 9More than a dream
Baby weight at 6 months
In the sixth month, babies gain an average of 450 grams in weight. But the increase can be either more or less than the average value. It is worth showing the baby to the doctor if he adds less than 100 grams per week.
Pediatrician with more than 18 years of experience
It is worth remembering the difference in the gains of breastfed and artificially fed children. Babies who eat formula milk add gradually, in the first six months, 600–700 g each. But breastfed babies up to 4–6 months old can sometimes even gain up to 1.5–2.5 kg per month, and this is absolutely normal , in the second half of the year such “dumplings” will definitely “slim”.
More than a dream
Baby’s weight at 6 months (kg)
Skillful hands: developing hand skills at 6 months
You may notice that at this age the baby begins to move his fingers more clearly when grasping. If a toy gets into his hand, he not only can hold it, but swings it and shifts it from hand to hand. In the bathroom, the child can wave his hands at the sight of water, and while bathing, slap them on the surface. With “empty” hands, the baby also sometimes waves rhythmically.
Physical development of a child at 6 months
The baby becomes much more mobile. Many six-month-old children begin to crawl and sit up on their own. But don’t worry if this hasn’t happened to your child yet. Normally, independent sitting can develop even up to 9months, and crawling – up to 13!
You can encourage crawling by placing toys in front of your baby so that he has to move forward a little to catch them. Let the child crawl all over the floor in the room, ideally if the whole house becomes his play space. Before you let your baby crawl, make sure sockets are covered with plugs, wires and small objects are removed, hanging edges of the tablecloth are tucked up, and access to dangerous substances is closed.
Moms are most often worried this month:
Is it possible to sit down a baby if he is not yet sitting by himself?
If the baby does not sit down by himself, do not rush to sit him down. Better pay attention to preparing the muscles of the arms and back for mastering this skill. Encourage your child to get on all fours and crawl, do some light exercise, such as giving your baby your fingers to grab and allowing him to pull himself up on his hands and sit down. Having strengthened his arms and back, having mastered the position on all fours, the baby will quickly sit down without your help.
Tell your pediatrician if by the end of the seventh month the child has not learned to roll over from his stomach to his back.
If your baby has already shown food interest (looks enthusiastically at your plate, pulls his hands to your food), then at this age it is already possible to introduce complementary foods. It is usually recommended to start with one boiled vegetable, without salt or any other additives, with a serving of a quarter teaspoon, preferably in the morning. In any case, before introducing the first complementary foods, be sure to consult a pediatrician.
After six months, the innate immunity that the child received from the mother during pregnancy weakens. Perhaps the baby will catch a runny nose for the first time or start coughing. Read the article on sleep during illness to know how your baby will behave when unwell.
Many six-month-old babies are in the midst of teething. This can affect both sleep and behavior during the day.
Mental development of a child of 6 months
Literally, the baby has just come out of the fifth leap of development, as a result of which he learned about the relationship of things and the presence of a distance between them. As a consequence of this new knowledge, a separation fear appears: the child understands that his mother can leave, and he will not catch up with her! Therefore, he becomes more restless and can “hang” in his arms for a long time.
In addition, the baby begins to fear strangers. Now he is unlikely to go to the hands of a doctor or even to his grandmother, whom he has not seen for a long time, and maybe even be afraid of her one look!
Pay attention to the pediatrician if by the end of the seventh month the child does not chant syllables like “ma-ma”, “ba-ba”, “ga-ga”, etc. (does not babble).
Baby massage at 6 months
From the age of six months, one more massage technique can be added to stroking and rubbing – kneading. With the fingertips of one hand, except for the big one, lightly press on the skin and make short circular movements. Thus, we pass along the handles from the hand to the shoulder, along the legs from the foot to the hip, along the tummy clockwise, along the back from the buttocks to the neck along the spine.
Remember that for a healthy baby, massage is first of all a pleasant communication with the mother, and not an obligatory procedure. Five minutes a day will be enough. And if he (or you) doesn’t like it at all, it’s better to refuse such a pastime.
To make the massage more interesting, you can accompany it with play rhymes, for example:
Rain waters the grass,
( lightly tap on the back with the tips of relaxed fingers )
The wind shakes the tree.
( putting hands on shoulders, slightly rocking )
Leaves hanging, hanging
( softly touch your shoulders with your fingertips )
And they fly down quietly.
( slowly stroke along the spine with your fingertips )
Children run out to the kindergarten
( “run” the index and middle fingers of both hands along the back )
And the leaves are collected.
( pinch 9 lightly0738 )
They are carried to their home
( “pass” with the index and middle fingers of both hands along the back )
And they put it in a box.
( put paper sheets or fingertips on the baby’s palm and close his fingers into a fist )
Development of speech
The baby continues to babble, but at the same time changes are ripening in his mind that prepare the transition of babble into real speech. He continues to develop speech hearing, and he pronounces babbling syllables more and more clearly. This is due to the imitation of the speech that he hears from adults. Therefore, often talk to the child, even if he does not understand the meaning of the words.
He will begin to understand in just a couple of months, but already now you can prepare fertile ground. Just clearly name the items that the baby is interested in himself or that you are currently using.
How to play with a 6 month old baby?
Games with children after six months become much more interesting and varied.
Ball gymnastics . Stimulates the vestibular apparatus, develops coordination, prepares for walking.
Place the baby on the fitball with his tummy, hold him by the side and knee. Swing the ball back and forth, left and right and in a circle. You can accompany this with jokes, songs and gentle words.
Then rock up and down: first the baby stands on its feet for a second (you continue to support it), then “dives” upside down (not very low). Repeat 5-6 times. At the end, jump with the child on the ball: up to 10 times lying on the tummy and up to 10 times sitting. And then standing.
Phone Game . Develops onomatopoeia and active speech.
Sit next to your baby, hold a toy phone to your ear and say the simplest syllables, changing intonation and voice. For example:
Dadada! Yes Yes Yes?
Give the phone to the baby. Perhaps he, too, will repeat these syllables after you.
Game “What is there?” . Develops fine motor skills of hands and thinking of the child.
Put an interesting toy in a pretty box. Draw the attention of the baby first to the box itself. Examine it, show the baby how it opens. Invite him to open the box himself.
Then ask, “What’s in there?” Switch your baby’s attention to the toy. Take the toy out of the box and play with it. At the same time, constantly pay the attention of the baby to the name of the toy. For example: “This is a dog. What a doggy! Let’s hide the dog in the box.” Continue playing with other toys.
Many options for playing with a six-month-old baby using the PEKIP system are described in a separate article on our website.
Toys for a 6-month-old baby
A six-month-old baby is interested in almost everything, which means that toys become even more diverse. The child continues to learn colors, shapes, sizes, textures, actions that can be performed with a toy. The only requirement for it is safety: the absence of small parts that can be taken into the mouth, sharp edges, long ribbons, etc.
How sleep and child development mutually influence each other
A 6-month-old baby normally sleeps 13. 5–16 hours a day. Night sleep of them – 10-12 hours. Some children have three more daytime sleeps, while others are already switching to 2. Read more about the night and daytime sleep of a six-month-old baby in our service: “A child’s sleep month by month.”
At this age, the child can already be offered a toy for sleeping, as well as begin to teach him to fall asleep on his own.
BabySleep FAQ this month
“The child is 6 months and a week old, all this time there were no problems with sleep, somewhere from 5 months he sleeps at night for 8–9 hours without waking up. Now the picture: three daytime sleeps, the first two are about 1.5 hours each, the last 45 minutes. My daughter always went to sleep and leaves with my breasts, then I put her in the crib.
The question is that I began to go to sleep at night (for the last couple of weeks) late, much later than usual – at 22-23 hours (before that, I normally left with breasts at about 20:00). During the day and in the last hours of the evening, the daughter is cheerful and cheerful, communicates, explores the world, explores rattles. Why can this be so? What to do?”
Senior sleep consultant, psychologist
Your daughter is growing and the amount of time she is comfortable with is increasing. Because of this, dreams “slip” and the rhythm of the day as a whole “floats”. After six months, some children are already ready to switch to two daytime naps, if they can withstand at least 3 hours of wakefulness without overindulgence.
What should you do? There are two options: 1 – try to slightly lengthen the daughter’s wakefulness at the beginning of the day and between sleeps, and instead of the third sleep, put her to bed early at night; 2 – if two dreams are still clearly not enough for the baby, then one of the first long dreams should be reduced (to about 1 hour) and due to this, bedtime in the evening should be shifted to an earlier time.