Mental Leap 8 - 55 weeks – Personality development

Congratulations! Your child has turned 1 year old. You've probably had a lovely first birthday but might also have noticed some changes in your son or daughter. There might be tensions or frustrations in everyday life, which are caused by communicative misunderstandings.

Your child still doesn't have any language and therefore communicates through actions. The eighth leap is a relatively short leap, and during this period, it's important to provide your child with extra comfort.

Read also: Mental Leaps – Follow your baby’s development through 10 leaps

What to expect from the eighth leap?

Your child begins developing his/her personality and does more things on his/her own. It's typically around this period the child says his/her first words and tries to take the first steps. In other words, there's a lot going on, which can result in frustrations and mood swings.

Your child also starts understanding it typically takes several actions achieving a goal. It can be as simple as getting out the door. First shoes, followed by a jacket, and possibly a hat and gloves if it's cold. Once dressed, he/she can go out.

Typical signs of the 8th leap at 55 weeks

Even though there are several highlights in this period e.g. more independence, you'll likely find that you need to give even more of yourself. Your child needs extra presence and comfort during the leap.

Mood swings

Have you noticed your child sometimes changes mood in the blink of an eye? The 8th leap often brings mood swings, and it's not always easy to find the underlying cause of the sudden outburst of rage.

Crying and frustrations

When your child cries, he/she releases all the emotions. There's probably a lot bothering him/her. The child cannot understand why mom or dad doesn't react to his/her actions. The 8th leap can drain both the child's and the parents' energy but remember it's only a relatively short period.

Sleep problems

The many new changes make a big impression on your child. Therefore, it's not unusual if he/she sleeps more restlessly than usual.

Mental Leap 55 weeks - how long does it last?

This leap lasts between 3 to 6 weeks, and the first signs can appear as early as week 50 and 51. There's a big difference in how children react during this period, as well as the length of the period can vary.

Get through the 8th leap successfully

If your child shows interest in doing things on his/her own or wants to participate in some of the everyday tasks, then encourage it - even if things take a little longer.

For example, it could be loading the washing machine and taking clothes out again, doing gardening, or putting things away in the kitchen. Consider buying toys that resemble tools, a lawnmower, a tea set, or kitchen utensils.

It's important to listen and be particularly attentive to the child during this leap. For some children, it can be a particularly sensitive period. You need to show you are there for him/her - even if he/she is having a tantrum.

Maybe your child has trouble finding peace to stay in the afternoon nap. If so, you can try putting him/her down for a nap in a baby hammock with cradle bouncer. The hammock mimics the same rocking motion as when your child was rocked in mom or dad's arms.

What to expect after the leap - 55 weeks

After the eighth leap, your child has gained an understanding of connections and knows that achieving a goal often requires several actions. You will also experience a more independent child. Maybe he/she has even started to mimic your actions and movements.

It's fun to see your child feed the teddy bear, clean up, or tidy up by putting things in drawers. You can easily complement the good development with corresponding games. For example, try filling a tub so the child can give a doll a bath, or let him/her help wash the garden furniture or a bike.

You can also start hiding things for your child to find - but remember it should be simple and straightforward, so he/she has a successful experience.

Let your child help you unpack groceries and put them away in the fridge - just be sure to handle the heavy or fragile items yourself. Think about which daily tasks your child can be a part of - it's quite a lot.