The newborn days are behind you. As your baby becomes more alert and mobile, each day will bring exciting new adventures. Every experience — from cuddling before nap time to listening to a sibling’s chatter — will help your baby learn more about the world. Expect your baby to grow and develop at his or her own unique pace. Knowing what kind of behaviors to expect from your child as they develop can make parenting so much easier. Here are 6 critical periods in a child’s life development that every parent should know about.
Newborn To 3 Months Old
When your baby is this little, crying is the only mode of communication they have with you. It is perfectly normal for an infant to cry when hungry, thirsty, tired, lonely, or in pain. It is also normal for a baby to have a fussy period in the evening.
However, sometimes your baby might cry for no reason at all. In these cases, it is important to reassure your baby with touch and words. Comforting your baby will help them feel safe, loved and will help them trust you. Keep in mind that newborns can sense emotions in your voice so keep your tone loving and friendly to help them feel secure. If your baby doesn’t appear sick, you’ve tried everything, and he or she is still upset, it’s OK to let your baby cry. If you need to distract yourself for a few minutes, place your baby safely in the crib and make a cup of tea or call a friend.
4 To 6 Months Old
From ages 4 to 6 months, your baby becomes more aware of his or her surroundings. Infant development milestones include rolling over, clapping hands and babbling. At this stage your baby can even laugh, smile, squeal, coo and gurgle. So, the best thing for parents to do is to encourage them to interact as much as they can. For example, making your baby laugh and squeal by making funny faces or playing the peek-a-boo game. This is also the critical periods in a child’s life when babies start to recognize other people other than their parents so it’s time to start introducing them to other kids and close family and friends. Trust your instincts. The earlier a problem is detected, the earlier it can be treated. Above all, delight in your baby’s discoveries and abilities.
7 To 12 Months Old
Your baby at this phase might surprise you with how quickly he or she is picking up new skills. Infant development milestones for a 7- to 9-month-old include sitting, standing and laughing. They can get cranky when separated from them and are afraid of strangers. Many babies this age become wary of strangers. Your baby might resist staying with anyone other than you. If your baby fusses when you leave, have the person staying with your child create a distraction. Then say goodbye with a hug and kiss and a reminder that you’ll be back soon. Your baby will likely stop crying as soon as you’re out of sight.
1 To 2 Years Old
This is one of the most critical periods in a child’s life development every parent should know about. Your baby is constantly on the move. Nothing makes him or her happier than dropping a spoon from the highchair over and over again. If you aren’t stifling the urge to say “No!” chances are you’ve said it in the last few hours. Your baby will keep you on your toes. Welcome to life with a 1 -2 years old! At this age, infant development is rapid. Children of this age should have more social interactions. It’s okay to get out of the house once in a while and let your child explore the world around them. However, take note that children at this age don’t really interact with other kids much as they still don’t know what sharing is. This is also when parents will have to start discipling their child but without yelling or hitting them.
3 Years Old
Your 3 year old is at the very beginning of learning how to get on with others. They can now control strong feelings a lot better, but will probably still have some tantrums. They start to understand social skills like sharing and being kind, but only when they’re feeling safe and happy.
Your child may still be scared of monsters, noises, the dark or some animals. Comforting them will help them feel safe. You should also encourage them to be independent and to pursue their interests. When your child exhibits an inclination to painting, singing, roller skating or play-dough sculptures, tell them that you are proud of them. This will motivate them to keep doing the things that make them happy.
4 To 5 Years Old
Your 4 to 5 year old is moving out of babyhood into childhood. They are beginning to be OK about spending time away from you. This may be the hardest stage yet. Parents, welcome to the stage where you set and enforce rules. Children of this age can follow the rules, but they don’t understand what’s right and what’s wrong yet. However, they want to be more independent. So, so it’s important to encourage them to make choices on their own. Some 4 year olds can have mood swings, fights with siblings and be aggressive. But by the time they turn 5, have better manners and get along well with their parents and peers. It’s all a matter of discipling your kids in constructive ways and helping them channel negative emotions appropriately. Are you clear about this critical period of in a child’s life?
Being a parent comes with different challenges at different stages, but that doesn’t mean that you have to feel lost and unprepared. With a little insight into what your little one is going through, helping them overcome their hurdles will be easier than ever. Happy parenting!