7 - 8 Months

When do babies wave?

Fact: Waving is one of your baby's earliest forms of social communication

Between 8 and 12 months, many babies start to wave “hello” and “goodbye.” These seemingly simple gestures actually combine at least three distinct types of skills:

  1. Cognitive: waving begins as imitation, which means your baby needs to see you wave, understand that the gesture has meaning, and try it on their own.
  2. Gross motor: whether your baby’s wave involves rotating their wrist like they are in a parade, flapping their hand like a bird, or moving their arm up and down, they’re using their hands and arms in a coordinated and intentional way.
  3. Social communication: your baby isn’t just learning how to communicate through gestures—they’re discovering that communication has a social component.

Observing you and others leads to action

Seeing another person’s hand move activates a part of your baby’s brain called the sensorimotor strip, which tells them to move their own hand in a similar way. This neural response, known as “somatotopy,” explains how young children learn new skills and social customs through imitation. Babies actually learn to clap in the same way. 

4 ways to encourage waving

  1. Demonstrate by gently holding your baby’s hand and waving it as you say “Hi!” or “Bye-bye!”
  2. Wave hello and goodbye to them when you leave a room or put them down for a nap. 
  3. Practice waving “Hello” and “Goodbye” to a favorite doll or stuffed animal while playing peekaboo or looking in a mirror.
  4. When your baby waves, be sure to acknowledge and return the gesture ❤️


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Posted in: 7 - 8 Months, 9 - 10 Months, 11 - 12 Months, Lovevery App, Gross Motor, Communication, Social Emotional, Cognitive Development, Child Development

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