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Figuring it all out
As skills and learning progress during the first year, baby does more and more things independently, enjoying time alone to refine these new abilities. Your little spy is also carefully observing you and the world around you and making mental notes. After all, babies aren’t born knowing how human beings operate—they need to figure it out.

Keeping baby nearby as you do routine activities is a great way to demonstrate all the things we do—cook, chat with neighbors, run errands, drive, brush teeth, visit a house of worship, wrap gifts, wash clothes, etc.

Over time, babies start to practice some of the things they’ve seen mum and dad do. Doing adult things makes baby feel “big.” Baby also begins to demonstrate a greater ability to imitate. Earlier in the year, your child loved to mimic your facial expressions—your smile triggered baby to smile. Next, baby started babbling, trying to imitate the patterns of language. Starting around six months of age, baby begins to imitate your movements. As the year goes on, she’ll become increasingly adept at copying you, indicating a budding imagination. Hand her a phone and you’ll see that this junior detective, who’s been watching you all along, knows just what to do with it without any instruction from you.

Dr. Bettye M. Caldwell Ph.D. Professor of Pediatrics in Child Development and Education