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