When Will My Baby Start To Clap?
One of the exciting milestones during a baby's first year is when they first learn to clap hands. It's another action that is unremarkable in adults yet represents a significant step in coordination for an infant.
Usually most babies can clap hands by the time they are nine months old although, as always, there's no cause for alarm if they don't. Between seven and nine months, babies are developing quickly, their brains absorbing new skills and their motor-skills are refining, they have a lot to learn at once and reach their milestones only when they're ready.
The Journey to Clapping Hands
Newborn babies usually keep their hands curled and closed and they're incapable of holding or reaching for things but very quickly they are able to stretch them out and they then begin to take an interest in their own hands and fingers. From learning to open and shut their fists, they stare at them, play with them and begin to move them more deliberately before starting to grasp at things put within their reach.
By the age of three months old, babies begin to understand that they can control things that are placed in their hands and at five to six months that they can pass those things from hand to hand. By seven months, babies are fine tuning these motor skills, reaching for objects and banging them together, a precursor of hand-clapping.
By six months old, babies may start to clap their hands together though, at first, their hands may not actually make contact with each other at all, instead they are just imitate the motion of clapping. This highlights the baby understands that hands can be used together to produce a result, the noise of the clap. It also is a sign of visual and further motor skills development as they start learning to bring their hands together.
What Are The Reasons for Clapping?
Clapping is a rewarding milestone that they can reach at any time between six and ten months old and deserving of applause.
A baby learning to clap hands is the culmination of constant development and indication that they are learning to understand their body and its abilities and movement. Under the age of twelve months though a child doesn't appreciate that hand clapping is a sign of appreciation or joy only that it is a new skill that pleases other people.
You can, of course, always encourage the motor skills that develop into clapping through play and by example. Babies love imitation and repetition, encourage wrist movements and finger movements by offering small toys and rattles and demonstrate pleasure at their achievements by clapping. Babies will soon develop the sense that clapping is a means of communicating happiness and strive to imitate your example.
All babies develop at very different rates and if your baby hasn't reached the same milestones as other people's babies the chances are there is nothing to worry about. However, if you are concerned that your child is very late in reaching one or a number of milestones then it is sensible to seek further professional advice from either your health visitor or GP. We have more information on the variable rates of development in babies here.