Starting the moment you hold your newborn in your arms, you want to do everything possible to be the best parent. You want your child to grow up strong, intelligent and successful. You would like to explore child development parenting matters to ensure you do your best for your baby. You must focus on helping your baby grow and develop from the very beginning.
Most neural connections form in the first few years of a baby’s development. Based on external stimuli experienced by the baby, the brain establishes new synapses. After the first few years, the brain starts disconnecting synapses that do not get repeated stimuli. As parents, you have this narrow window when you can enhance your baby’s brain development by exposing them to the right experiences and learnings. Today, let us look at the 10 important milestones of development in childhood and how you can help your child to achieve them.
1. Baby Talk Helps Develop Communication Skills
When talking to a baby, you use terms like ‘choo-choo train’ and ‘tum-tum’. This choice of phrasing and the lyrical way of speaking is called baby talk.
Talking to your baby in a sing-song tone with elongated syllables aids the child’s overall development. It grabs your baby’s attention and makes them listen to you more carefully. They may not understand your words as such. However, they will gradually learn to make connections between sounds and objects. Baby talk prepares their brain for learning language and building vocabulary. More importantly, it makes babies feel cared for and strengthens the bond between you and them. A secure environment is critical to their development.
2. Colourful Crib Mobiles Help Master Hand-Eye Coordination
Babies can see and hear from the day they are born. Hence, you must decorate their room and cot in vibrant colours to help them explore and engage. A hanging mobile is a great idea.
Hanging a colourful mobile over your baby’s cot offers visual stimulation and helps them learn to focus their attention. As your baby’s eyes follow the moving toys on a mobile, they also develop spatial awareness and the ability to judge distances. Remember, babies cannot see too far when they are born. As the months pass, they’ll start reaching out to the mobile toys, thus improving their hand-eye coordination. As this skill improves, they will enhance their grasping reflexes and strengthen hand muscles while controlling eye movement simultaneously.
3. Storytelling Helps with Vocabulary Expansion
Storytelling opens a child’s mind to magical worlds and fuels their imaginative spirit and creative thinking. Storytelling also benefits vocabulary development. The story doesn’t have to be new every day. A simple story with five lines is enough to entertain your child.
Studies have shown that sharing stories influences activity in the prefrontal areas of a child’s brain. Storytelling introduces your child to new sounds and words, language rhythm, and emotional links to new concepts. Some people say that childhood is the best stage for vocabulary development. A study showed that children whose parents read to them had heard 1.4 million more words by the time they entered kindergarten than those who weren’t read to at home.
4. Encouraging Play Helps Strengthen Muscles and Motor Skills
Playtime is one of the most important factors affecting child development. Playing with toys helps children practice large body movements as well as work on improving fine motor skills. Your child will learn through playing on their own and with others.
Involve your child in activities that allow them to run and jump, throw and catch objects, climb up and down, pedal tricycles, push and pull, and more. These activities teach children to control their arms and legs. Older children can play with colourful playdough to perfect fine motor skills. Playdough trains them to control their fingers and hold on to things.
5. Toys for Sorting Colours and Shapes Help Develop Mathematical Skills
Blocks of different colours and shapes are popular toys for curious infants. These toys come in different shapes, and their lids have slots for blocks to pass through.
Recognising shapes and colours forms the foundation for understanding math and geometric concepts. Stacking blocks one on top of the other is akin to working on puzzles and could be considered a child’s first geometry lesson. As they learn to distinguish between triangles and squares, they learn to count the sides of an object. Sorting colours and shapes also helps toddlers learn about similarities and differences and builds a foundation for logical thinking.
6. Reading with Your Toddler Improves Word Association
It is never too early to read to your child. There are many books written specifically for infants and toddlers. Reading benefits a child’s development in many ways. As you read with your child, your little one will pick up on different emotions and expressions, thus boosting their emotional development. When you point to pictures while reading, your child starts to think about images and recognise objects and activities from them. When reading to infants, pick books made from fabric or vinyl so your baby can hold on to them without fearing tearing them.
One of the popular parenting tips for reading with your child is to read a story before naptime or bedtime. It creates a routine and allows you to cuddle with your little one. It also lays the foundation for the habit of reading.
7. Puppet Play Helps Preschoolers Learn to Manage Emotions
Children often find it hard to manage their emotions. They get cranky and cry without knowing why they feel like they do. One of the roles of parents in areas of child development is to help them cross this hurdle. Playing with puppets and dolls can help your child understand their own emotions better, help them name their feelings, and tell them ways to deal with them. This roleplay is an excellent way to teach them the difference between appropriate and inappropriate ways of expressing their emotions. Puppet play can have as many participants as desired. It could be just you and your child or a group activity with your child’s peers.
8. Age-appropriate Activities can Promote Physical, Mental, and Emotional Development
A 6-month-old baby can’t learn much from a jigsaw puzzle, and a 5-year-old would find a rattle boring. Knowing the type of toys best suited to children as they grow is one of the critical roles of parents in child development. For example, balls, building blocks and push-pull toys can help infants between the ages of 1 and 2 years develop physical strength and motor skills. For older children between the ages of 3 to 5 years, exposure to a playground and tricycles can help with their physical development. Similarly, the mental development of infants is encouraged by soft fabric books with bright pictures, while older infants can benefit from puzzles and toys that mimic real-life objects.
9. Play Helps Build Social Behaviour
To understand how a child’s development is influenced by the environment, you should look into how play enhances social skills. These skills are as critical as mental and motor skills. Playing tag and roleplay games helps children understand group dynamics and how to maintain relationships with their peers. Spending time with other children of their age helps them understand how to show affection and resolve conflicts. Playing with others also fosters a child’s positive self-esteem. In addition, pretend play games allow children to explore the power of their imagination and develop decision-making skills.
10. Early Education Helps Prepare Children for School
Paying attention to your child’s early education before they start formal school can make their academic journey smoother. Early education at home gives children a safe space to socialise and develop an interest in learning more about their world. Through early education, you can help them improve their ability to concentrate on tasks and build patience.
This article answers your question, “Why is it important for parents to know about child development?”
The first few years of a child’s life can determine the course of their life. By paying the right attention and through expert guidance, you can shape your child’s future in a way that celebrates their strengths and inborn talents. At Raising Superstars, we focus on ways to encourage your child to make the best of their super talents and skills through simple, screen-free activities. In just five minutes every day, you can help your child unlock their super talents and achieve developmental milestones early on. Click here to learn all about it.