Raising a child can be stressful. As a parent, you feel responsible for every milestone, and that can feel overwhelming. You probably have a variety of people giving unsolicited advice, making observations, and telling you what you should and should not be doing as a parent.
First, take a breath. Parenting isn’t easy, but you are doing a great job. Second, there are simple yet effective things you can do to track your child’s development. The more aware you are of your child’s physical, mental, and emotional development, the more equipped you will be to seek professional help if you feel there is a problem and take steps towards helping your child.
Here are five ways you can keep track of your child’s development.
1. Play with your child
Motor skills develop through play. Building with blocks, putting together puzzles, drawing, playing board games, doing crafts, playing sports; these are all activities that will engage your child and have them use balance and coordination, as well as their large and small muscle groups. Playing a variety of different things with your child daily will allow you to see their progress as they do physical movements regularly. For example, if you play a game that forces your child to utilize balance, you should see their balance improve over time. Playing with your child every day will also help them develop emotionally as they bond with you.
2. Have your child take an online hearing test
Difficulty hearing can lead to learning and speech problems, as well as balance and coordination problems depending on the cause of the hearing impairment. Undetected hearing problems can also lead to behavioral issues as your child is not able to express what is wrong. Taking an online hearing test will allow you to see if there is a problem or reason to seek out medical attention. If the hearing test suggests there is a problem with your child’s hearing, you will know to make an appointment with your pediatrician for a referral or make an appointment directly with a hearing specialist.
3. Ask your child identifying questions
When you are playing or picking up, ask your child questions that will lead to them identifying objects around them. For example, instead of saying “pick up the ball,” say “pick up the red ball.” You can identify objects by shape, color, texture, or other identifying features. These types of questions will help your child learn these different features and vocabulary, but it will also allow you to see their progress as they respond to what you are saying.
4. Do physical activities with your child
Physical activity is vitally important to a child’s development. Being outside will help ensure good vision while also providing them with the exercise they need to stay healthy and active. Avoid allowing your child to spend hours each day with electronics or in front of a television, as it is unhealthy for their vision, attention span, and physical health. Regular physical activity will also help your child build muscle, which is important to their physical development.
5. Read with your child every day.
Reading to your child every day is crucial to their mental and emotional development. It is also a great way for you to monitor your child’s development as they respond to what you are reading. Children learn through repetition, so as you are reading, your child should start remembering the stories and identifying upcoming parts of the story. As you read, stop and ask your child simple questions about what you just read and what is coming next to help develop and monitor their development.