It’s not just Baby’s vocabulary, body, and brain that are growing in Baby’s fourteenth month – her emotional range is growing, too. When she was born, she may only have had three moods, two of which were “hungry” and “asleep,” but these days, her 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 she actually wants anyone else touching her 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 she thinks.
Another emotional response that might make it into your home around now are the first signs of empathy in Baby – she might cry or show signs of distress if she is around someone who is crying, angry, or visibly upset. More than that, though, Baby’s growing understanding of the world means that emotions she has 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 she starts 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 her about feelings, both her own and other people’s. This will give her the words for how she’s feeling, which is the first step towards being able to talk about her feelings, but it will also start to give her better tools for thinking about other people’s feelings, which is a great way for her to exercise her 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, she is probably ready to try out taking the reins – or just the spoon – for themselves. She 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 her budding artistic career some time, right? By now she probably has the motor control she needs to hold onto a crayon, and if you show her what dragging a crayon-point across a piece of paper does, there’s a good chance she’s 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.