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When Do Babies Clap — and How You Can Encourage Them

Clapping is a combination of muscle strength, coordination, and brain power.

When you clap, your baby will mimic you to clap when his muscles and mind have developed. This makes a fun environment of play for your baby too.

In this article, I will be sharing when and how to encourage your baby to clap.

When do your baby clap?

Between 9 months to 12 months old

Your baby begins to mimic you and others around him.

Why do your baby clap?

Develop motor skills with hand movement.

For example, pick and hold objects, pass objects from one hand to another, wave and point with hands.

Clap hands is part of the natural progression of a baby’s gross and fine motor skills.

Reward or signal of achievement.

Clap hands to encourage your baby when he does certain activities.

Your baby might figure out that clapping hands is a form of reward or signal of achievement.

Hence, your baby may clap hands for himself when he feels he have achieved something or feel excited after doing something.

For example, when your baby sees he walks the first few steps, he claps joyfully.

Communicate by clapping.

Initially, your baby clap hands to imitate you.

As your baby grows older, he understands that clapping can be used to express his feelings and to convey messages.

Your baby may clap hands in front of you to gain attention or express his joy.

How to encourage your baby to clap?

Your baby tends to mimic you.


Play games.

This will develop the verbal skills, fine motor skills, and cognitive skills of your baby.

For example,

If You’re Happy And You Know It

Hokey Pokey

Clap with rhymes.

Take your baby’s hands in your hands and show him the motion of clapping.

Laugh and appreciate your baby when his hands join to clap.

Play a nursery rhyme and show your baby when to clap.

Clap with different speeds.

This will help to get your baby’s attention and develop his interest.

Give high fives.

Your baby enjoys when you “high five” with him frequently.

Clap when your baby achieves or does something.

For example, point and pick the right things when told, finish his meal or feeding, first time roll over, sit up, crawl, stand or walk etc.

What to expect after your baby learns to clap?

Stand up without support.

Start walk his first steps.

Say his first words, such as “Mama” and “Dada”.

Follow your simple directions, like “find the ball” or “point your nose”.

Shake his head to answer your questions in “yes” or “no”.

I hope all these pointers will help you to encourage your baby to clap.

As parents, it make us happy when we see our baby clapping and expressing their joy to us.

Every baby starts clapping at different time, lets him explore his skills and develops clapping in his own way.

What matters most to parents? Our most-read articles:

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