Sure, all developmental milestones are important, but some are cuter than others. Seeing a tiny baby wave bye-bye, for instance, will make most anyone melt. As your little one grows and learns, you may notice those little hand movements start to look like clapping. So when do babies start clapping generally, and how can you encourage your kid to put those hands together?
For the most part, babies will start mastering the basics of applause just before their first birthday. According to What To Expect, most babies are able to clap around 9 months of age. As with most developmental milestones, however, some variation is normal, so it's perfectly fine if your little one has not yet started clapping by this age.
What's more, your baby's ability to clap signifies some major social and cognitive growth. Around the 9- to 12-month mark, babies will clap hands as a way to imitate you, as noted by the website for Dr. Sears. Clapping is not only a cute antic; it's also a form of communication between you and your kid.
So how can you encourage your baby to start clapping? By having fun, basically. As explained in The Huffington Post, simple clapping games such as "Pat-A-Cake" or "Miss Mary Mack" are good starters. You can even sit behind your baby and manually help her clap until she gets the hang of things.
If it's been a hot minute since the last time you played a clapping game, then the internet is here to help jog your memory. Today's Parent provides the lyrics to "Pat-A-Cake," so you and your baby can mark it with a B like pros. And Baby TV a has a YouTube refresher course on the lyrics to "Miss Mary Mack." (Fun note: if your last name happens to be Mack, then you will have the lyrics to this song burned into your brain for all of eternity.) Lastly, if you'd like to incorporate some clapping fun into story time, then a book such as Clap Your Hands by Lorinda Bryan Cauley is a great choice. In the meantime, enjoy having your own little hype man around the house.