Infants show the first signs of physical development through their gross motor movements: they start moving their heads and limbs. Muscle tones change, arms and legs extend. By 6 months infants can roll the back and push their head, chest and neck on the floor. By 12 months old, infants can reach objects (toys) and sit straight alone. Some of them by 12 months can even show a hand preference and can be more mobile than others, crawling, kicking and being able to use small objects like forks.
Babies develop a great acuity using their senses. By 6 months old a child can focus on small objects around and reach them. By the time a child has reached 1 year old he/she will know his/her name and will be able to understand 17 simple words like mum, dog, food, as well as being able to understand a simple message composed of two words such as ‘clap hands’. At 12 months old a child may deliberately drop a toy from a table and watch it fall repeatedly.
From birth to 1 year, infants will cry when hungry, tired or distressed for some reason. They can also stop crying at the sound of a calm voice. A baby can indeed respond differently to changes in the tone of her parents / carer’ voice and will smile, laugh and chuckle during play activities with a parent or their carer. Infants are able to understand how express their needs, for example they can blink in reaction to a bright light or smile in return to a smiling face and use some simple gestures.
Infants are egocentric and developmentally incapable of sharing with others. They can eventually be engaged in simple games and parallel play with other individuals and children (without co-operating with them). At about 12 months old, a child become prone to temper tantrums.
Infants start developing separation anxiety from their carers and irrational fears. By 1-year children start developing a concept of self and become more wilful. This means children show a willing to be independent. Therefore, they need a high level of attention from their carers.