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8 to 12 month olds

Last updated: January 23, 2024

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At 8 – 12 months your baby is on the move and getting into everything, developing skills like problem solving, investigating and experimenting. He or she is becoming more excited and curious about the world. They’re learning how to point and make sounds at the things they want and are beginning to understand how they affect the people around them.

The following information has been sourced from the Early Years Learning Framework Developmental Milestones booklet, developed by Community Child Care Co-operative Ltd NSW (CCCC) for the Department of Education.

How can you encourage your baby’s learning?

  • Provide opportunities that challenge, intrigue and surprise them
  • Encourage them when they try to explore e.g. try to crawl to get something
  • Share their achievements with family and people around them
  • Look at books together, naming and pointing to the pictures
  • Talk to your baby in simple language
  • Take turns in playing simple games e.g. clapping, blowing bubbles or finger and toe songs and games
  • Sing nursery rhymes with actions e.g. round and round the garden
  • Place a toy out of reach and encourage them to crawl or walk to it
  • Give them finger foods, using different tastes and textures
  • Give them space to crawl and pull themselves up on furniture
  • Encourage them to mimic you using simple sounds and words
  • Always let them know you or another family member is there with them

Developmental milestones you can observe


  • pulls self to standing position when hands held
  • raises self to sitting position
  • sits without support
  • stands by pulling themselves up using furniture
  • steps around furniture
  • successfully reaches out and grasps toy
  • transfers objects from hand to hand
  • picks up and pokes small objects with thumb and finger
  • picks up and throws small objects
  • holds simple, familiar objects, such as biscuit or bottle
  • crawls quickly and fluently
  • may stand alone momentarily
  • may attempt to crawl up stairs
  • grasps spoon in palm, but poor aim of food to mouth
  • uses hands to feed self
  • has alert peripheral vision
  • rolls ball and crawls to retrieve it


  • shows definite anxiety or wariness at appearance of strangers


  • actively seeks to be near parent or primary caregiver
  • shows signs of anxiety or stress if parent goes away
  • offers toy to adult but does not release it
  • shows signs of empathy to distress of others (but often soothes self)
  • actively explores and plays when parent present, returning now and then for assurance and interaction


  • moves obstacle to get at desired toy
  • bangs two objects held in hands together
  • responds to own name
  • makes gestures to communicate and to symbolize objects, e.g. points to something they want
  • seems to understand some things parent or familiar adults say to them
  • drops toys to be retrieved; when handed back, drops again and looks in direction of dropped toy
  • smiles at image in mirror
  • likes playing with water
  • shows an interest in picture books
  • understands gestures/responds to ‘bye, bye’
  • listens with pleasure to sound-making toys and music
  • notices differences and shows surprise


  • responds to own name being called
  • responds to family names and familiar objects
  • babbles tunefully
  • says words like ‘dada’ or ‘mama’
  • waves goodbye
  • imitates hand clapping
  • imitates actions and sounds
  • enjoys finger-rhymes
  • shouts to attract attention
  • vocalises loudly using most vowels and consonants – beginning to sound like conversation

When to seek advice

Please seek advice from your local community health worker or doctor if your baby is:

  • not responsive to carers
  • not babbling and making sounds
  • not beginning to sit, crawl, or pull to stand
  • not playing with feet, swapping objects between hands
  • not interested in holding toys
  • not learning to eat solids
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