Understanding early childhood development stages
Children grow, develop and truly bloom at different times. They are all unique with different dispositions and characters, so they will always do things in their own way and get there in their own time.
As a parent you naturally want the best for your child and to know they are happy, confident and achieving the best they can. Stages of development typically follow a natural order. Developmental milestones help us all to check in on each child’s progress and to offer a little more support when and how they need it.
Windows of Opportunity
As children grow and develop they pass through prime times for learning which are named as ‘Windows of Opportunity’ in social, emotional, physical, language and cognitive development. During the windows of opportunity you might see your child gravitating towards certain activities with great interest. Click here for more information on the developmental Windows of Opportunity.
Comparing your child’s development to another child of the same age can be tempting to do but it can be really stressful for you and your child. So the best thing is to stay focussed on what your child can do and celebrate their individuality and achievements as they come. From the ‘no messy play for me’ child to the ‘let me into that mud puddle’ child they are all different.
Usual development just happens; as long as children have a loving, safe and stimulating environment one developmental step leads to the next. But all parents worry sometimes, it is part of the journey of parenthood and perfectly normal especially as a first time parent watching your child grow and develop. Nonetheless there may be times when you have a concern or feel worried about something your child is doing or not doing. So here’s what you can do:
Listen to your Gut
You know your child better than anyone else, your gut feeling will never let you down and is there for a reason. Learn to listen to and trust your instincts and if something is telling you something isn’t right, seek out further help to put your mind at ease.
If your gut is telling you that something isn’t going as well as it should then speak to a health care professional. You can speak to your GP, child health nurse or even your state child development centre. If you are offered a referral to a child health specialist such as a speech pathologist, occupational therapist, physio therapist or paediatrician, don’t panic. A referral doesn’t mean there is something wrong and it’s a good opportunity to have a chat and check your child’s development. Many children need a little help along the way sometimes to help them get back on track, often this is all that is required. If your child happens to need more than a little help, take it one day at a time, have a support network and see your child’s strengths and capacity grow.
Parenting is a Journey
Parenting is one of the most rewarding, challenging and exhausting things you will ever do in your life and can be a roller coaster of emotions. Having a good support network around you of family, friends and community is really important. Getting out and about meeting other parents and spending time with adults as well as children will also make this journey more interesting and fun. Try not to get sucked into the perfect parent image on social media, every parent has their struggle days and their amazing days. Grab the amazing days with both hands to enjoy every moment and let the struggle days roll on by, remembering tomorrow is a new day!
Keiki Early Learning can help
So where does Keiki Early Learning fit in the picture? We work in partnership with you, listening carefully to everything you tell us about your child. We take time to get to know your unique child, their personality and dispositions so we can meet their needs and build on their strengths. We are early childhood development specialists, so if we feel there is any reason for concern with your child we will always look out for their best interests and speak with you. We may also recommend an Occupational Therapist, Speech Pathologist or relevant childhood development specialist from our trusted network if required. For more information on us, and our childhood development expertise, visit our contact page for ways to get in touch.