Positive Parenting Techniques for Infants (0-12 months)

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Developmental milestones are things most children can do by a certain age. Children reach milestones in how they play, learn, speak, behave, and move (like crawling, walking, or jumping).
Understanding the milestones for each age is important because positive parenting strategies vary based on the child’s needs at certain stages.

What happens to kids in childhood shapes who they become as adults. Children who are nurtured and supported throughout childhood are more likely to thrive and develop into happy, healthy and productive adults.



Skills such as taking a first step, smiling for the first time, and waving “bye-bye” are called developmental milestones.

In the first year, babies learn to focus their vision, reach out, explore, and learn about the things that are around them. Cognitive development means the learning process of memory, language, thinking, and reasoning. Learning language is more than making sounds (“babble”), or saying “ma-ma” and “da-da”. Listening, understanding, and knowing the names of people and things are all a part of language development.

During this stage, babies also are developing bonds of love and trust with their parents and others as part of social and emotional development. The way parents cuddle, hold, and play with their baby will serve as the foundation for how the children will interact with others.


You don’t have to be a perfect parent to make a positive impact on your child. Positive parenting can be as simple as cuddling or talking to your little one. Find some ideas for implementing positive parenting with your infant below.


  • Talk to your baby. He/she will find your voice calming.
  • Answer when your baby makes sounds by repeating the sounds and adding words. This will help them learn to use language.
  • Read to your baby. This will help them develop and understand language and sounds.
  • Sing to your baby and play music. This will help your baby develop a love for music and will help his brain development.
  • Praise your baby and give them lots of loving attention.
  • Spend time cuddling and holding your baby. This will help them feel cared for and secure.
  • Play with your baby when they’re alert and relaxed. Watch your baby closely for signs of being tired or fussy so that she can take a break from playing.
  • Distract your baby with toys and move them to safe areas when he starts moving and touching things that they shouldn’t touch.
  • Take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. Parenting can be hard work! It is easier to enjoy your new baby and be a positive, loving parent when you are feeling good yourself.



  • Do not shake your baby―ever! Babies have very weak neck muscles that are not yet able to support their heads. If you shake your baby, you can damage their brain or even cause death.
  • Make sure you always put your baby to sleep on her back to prevent sudden infant death syndrome (commonly known as SIDS).
  • Protect your baby and family from secondhand smoke. Do not allow anyone to smoke in your home.
  • Place your baby in a rear-facing car seat in the back seat while they’re riding in a car.
  • Prevent your baby from choking by cutting their food into small bites. Keep small objects and other things your baby could swallow out of reach.
  • Don’t allow your baby to play with anything that might cover their face.
  • Never carry hot liquids or foods near your baby or while holding them.
  • Talk with your pediatrician to make sure your baby is up-to-date on vaccinations. Vaccinations (shots) are important to protect your child’s health and safety, as children can easily contract serious preventable diseases.



  • Keep your baby active. They might not be able to run and play like the “big kids” just yet, but there are many activities they can do to keep their little arms and legs moving throughout the day. Getting down on the floor to move helps your baby become strong, learn, and explore.
  • Limit time in swings, strollers, bouncers, and exercise saucers.
  • Limit screen time to a minimum. For children younger than 2 years of age, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends no screen time.

Additional Resources for Parents

Information about child car seat & safety equipment from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Information about proper sleep conditions and habits to help prevent SIDS available from the CDC

More information regarding shaken baby syndrome, the purple crying period, and proper habits during this period

References & Sources
  1. Information Courtesy of CDC.
  2. Parenting Tip Sheet Infants (0-1 year of age) CDC.

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Positive Parenting Techniques for Infants (0-12 months)