What every Mom needs to know to help her child grow and thrive in daycare and early learning environments.
During infancy and early childhood, your child develops from a vulnerable newborn into a walking, talking toddler. During this time, mental stimulation is key to helping your child reach developmental milestones, though every child will develop at a different rate. Interaction with family, friends and the environment can provide plenty of stimulation. It is important that your child receives significant attention and activity whether at a daycare or a childcare facility to ensure that the brain develops properly. Mental and physical stimulation play vital roles in helping reach child developmental milestonesin each of the following developmental stages:
● Birth to two months:At birth, your infant is ready to start learning. An infant’s brain has developed almost 100 billion neurons that require stimulation to become active and permanent. By two months of age, your infant’s social-emotional development includes smiling, self-calming behavior (i.e. sucking on the hand) and looking directly at adults. Cognitive development includes looking at faces, following things with the eyes and a short attention span. As your infant begins to respond to sounds, he or she will try to hold up the head and will start to gain more control of arm and leg movements.
● Four months:At this stage, while learning to enjoy playtime, your child will likely begin to copy facial expressions. You will also start to hear babbling and crying in response to hunger, fatigue or pain. During this developmental stage, your infant will start to reach for toys and objects, will learn to recognize people and will respond enthusiastically to affection. Physical milestones will ordinarily include rolling over and pushing up when lying on the tummy.
● Six months:The achievements above will begin to be far more pronounced. Learning to interact with adults, your child will begin to distinguish between familiar and strange faces. During this stage, your child will likely be able to sit up without support, roll over in both directions and use his or her legs to bounce when held in a standing position.
● Nine months: Your child will begin to make limited sounds that are more like speech, will recognize favorite toys, show preference for familiar people and may act shy around strangers. Your child will be able to point to desired objects and pick them up using the thumb and index finger. Playing peek-a-boo is a favorite game at this stage and your child will watch and respond to your hiding objects. He or she may be able to stand with support and crawl.
● 12 months: Your child may begin to respond to certain requests and to wave goodbye. Fear of strangers and new things is common. Your child will start to recognize the connection between images and words. Mobility can be problematic for you at this stage as your child begins to become mobile and even takes a few steps.
● At all ages and stages, it is important to remember that each child develops at an individual pace. Not every child will reach the same milestones at exactly the same age. If you have any concerns about your child's development, discuss them with your pediatrician.
At Kids 'R' Kids Learning Academies, the exclusive Toddler Big Steps Curriculum™ takes into account that development and learning begin prenatally and continue throughout life. Toddlers are immersed in a curriculum that invites and promotes multiple opportunities for motor and sensory activities. Cognitive skills are developed through planned activities that invite children to interact with the environment and demonstrate eagerness, curiosity, persistence, creativity, and problem-solving. Literacy and language development are nurtured.