It’s not just Baby’s vocabulary, body, and brain that are growing in Baby’s fourteenth month – their emotional range is growing, too. When they were born, they may only have had three moods, two of which were “hungry” and “asleep,” but these days, their range has expanded by quite a lot.
At this point, Baby has probably started to develop a sense of fairness. If you and your family have started to talk to Baby about sharing, it may not have sunk in enough that they actually want anyone else touching their toys, but a 2012 study published in Infancy suggests that ideas about a fair distribution of the things that count as assets in Baby’s worldview – toys – may have started to make an impact on how they think.
Another emotional response that might make it into your home around now are the first signs of empathy in Baby – they might cry or show signs of distress if they are around someone who is crying, angry, or visibly upset. More than that, though, Baby’s growing understanding of the world means that emotions they have had for a while start to emerge for more sophisticated reasons. A good example of this is the fear that comes along with separation anxiety. While many children have moved past separation anxiety by this point, for many others, it might actually become worse. This is because, while children generally have a pretty strong understanding of object permanence at this point, it’s also the time when they start to attach very strongly to parents and caregivers.
Baby’s big feelings will probably continue to have a big impact on Baby’s second year right up until they start to figure out how to manage them. That could take some time – there are plenty of adults who still have trouble managing their emotions. You can help Baby figure out how to get a better handle on theirs by talking to them about feelings, both their own and other people’s. This will give them the words for how they're feeling, which is the first step towards being able to talk about their feelings, but it will also start to give them better tools for thinking about other people’s feelings, which is a great way for them to exercise their emerging empathy.
- Uses a spoon: Spoons are generally the first pieces of silverware young children use by themselves, and your little one may have been fed with a spoon for a while, if you’ve been spoonfeeding, but around now, they are probably ready to try out taking the reins – or just the spoon – for themself. They may not be that neat about it yet, but practice makes perfect!
- Holds a crayon, pen, or pencil, and may try scribbling: Baby needs to get started on their budding artistic career some time, right? By now they probably have the motor control they need to hold onto a crayon, and if you show them what dragging a crayon-point across a piece of paper does, there’s a good chance they're going to want to try that, too!
- T. Berry Brazelton, M.D., Touchpoints: Birth to Three, 2nd Edition, Joshua D. Sparrow, M.D., De Capo Press. 2006. Print.