In recognition of the “Month of the Young Child,” Cobb & Douglas Public Health (CDPH) offers the following tips to aid parents in their child’s development:
- Consistency is key
Children thrive under structure. A regular routine guides children so they know what to expect, or what will come next. Regular responses to their needs, regular meal times, routines for waking up, playing, bathing and going to sleep all help reinforce consistency. Flexibility is OK, as long as it is the exception to the rule.
- Personal attention is needed
Children need to have their basic needs met when they are infants. Infants are not able to meet any of their own needs at all at birth, so their cries must be answered. As the child gets older, parents and caregivers should begin to understand the sound of the infant’s cry. Trying to put a baby on a strict routine too early will not meet the infant’s need for food and comfort. If the child’s immediate needs are met when they cry, then a more structured routine can begin to be set as early as two weeks.
Once the infant is basically on a regular schedule, the family needs to hold and talk to the baby when the baby is awake, but isn’t eating. This attention to the infant gives them the message that they are being heard and that they are important to you.
Parents and caregivers should spend as much time possible holding, reading, laughing, and playing with the infant each day. The infant by four months should begin to roll, by six months begin to sit, by nine months begin to move around the room, and by 12-16 months walk – and then the challenge (and the fun!) increases.
- Change in development is constant
Children change daily. Parents and caregivers can be prepared for these changes by reading research-based material, watching researched-based programs and by seeking advice from child development professionals.
- Less is more
Less TV, cell phones, tablets and electronic devices leave more time for personal interaction. Adults should help children focus on talking, playing, reading, participating in chores, and general conversation which leads to better connectivity between children and their caregivers.
For questions or developmental concerns for children in your life, please call the Cobb & Douglas Public Health referral line at (770) 514-2759 and make a referral.
To learn more about child health and development, visit the following resources: