Childhood Developmental Stages
Trying to determine if your child is developing “normally” can be tricky business. Child development occurs at individual rates. Even between siblings, the rate of achieving developmental milestones can differ. Not to mention, everyone out there seems to have an opinion about your kid! Comments come from all over about the size of babies, developmental stages, behavior of older kids, etc. These opinions are enough to make anyone feel uptight about child development.
Take my advice…..Take a deep breath and RELAX!
Speaking from my own personal experience with raising two boys, there were many times when people on the street and even my own pediatrician would make recommendations to help enhance my sons’ developmental milestones. Although well meaning; their “hit the panic button”– “He isn’t walking yet, he isn’t talking yet, he isn’t feeding himself yet” was in one word: ridiculous! As a matter of fact, three weeks after I was told to call for speech services for my youngest, he started talking all on his own!
Point being here, provide your children with an enriching home and they are almost guaranteed to have age-appropriate child development.
A few child development tips for all of us to remain consistent with at home include:
1. Remember that enriching environment we mentioned above? Yeah well, DO IT! By enriching, I mean do things with your children. Help them to create and maintain a secure attachment. Having a secure attachment provides individuals with the power to problem solve, make positive life choices, and show empathy. Promoting a secure attachment and promoting child development takes time. Here are a few ideas for you:
♥ Read with them on your lap (if young enough)
♥ Tell them you love them
♥ Provide them with positive discipline, boundaries, and consistency
♥ Do what you say you will do. This could mean keeping your promises or simply following through on a consequence that you gave a warning about. Following through helps your children to trust you and take you seriously
♥ Talk to your children and include them in what you are doing
2. Be a role model for your children. Do you want them to show respect to others? Do you want them to take responsibility for their actions? Do you want them to develop in all areas of functioning (behavior, intellectual, motor)? Then YOU need to show them and teach them how to do these things. Child development doesn’t spontaneously happen! Our brains and your children’s brains develop throughout life. This development is heavily influenced by what we are exposed to in our environments.
Our children come to us as blank slates – we get the privilege to mold them into wonderful adults. Will it be challenging? Of course! Parenting (the right way) is the hardest thing you and I will ever do, by far!!!
3. By now, perhaps you are wondering, “Geez Barb, what happened to that deep breath you mentioned above?” Ok, Ok, I’m a bit passionate about positive parenting. Here comes the relaxation part, take a look at the developmental milestones that are posted here. These are general guidelines on what you can expect from your children. Please remember, your child develops in their own time – don’t stress yourself out if your children do not fit the picture of “normal”. Take that deep breath and continue to enrich and monitor. There is wiggle room to be had within these developmental milestones. Enjoy this time with your kids as you teach them how to develop their skills.
So, at what point should you not be so relaxed about this stuff? Based on my own experiences, and profession training – if your children are not reaching their “normal” expected developmental stages within 3 months for babies, 6 months for toddler-preschool age, and 8-12 months for school age children consult with your child’s doctor. These delays may indicate a medical condition.