Is my baby delayed with their development?
Firstly, we need to understand that baby development comes naturally. We do not need to ‘teach’ a baby to move, make sounds, put things into their mouth or smile to you. These all come naturally unless the baby has already shown signs of delay in development, in which case hopefully they are already seeing a therapist for support.
What this blog explores is ways you as a parent can provide a good environment to enrich your baby’s development.
Ideas for creating a nurturing environment for your baby:
Ensure a Safe Environment
It is of utmost importance that the environment the baby spends most of the time in should be safe physically and emotionally. Just imagine if you are in a place you feel threatened, the last thing you want to do is to read a book or complete a work out.
Being able to explore in a safe environment allows the baby to touch, feel, move, interact, understand and learn about their natural environment, which is an essential ingredient for the 4 types of development mentioned in my previous blog.
Try and maintain calmness
A chaotic environment increases the stress level to everyone including the baby. The baby can feel how their close carer feels. Environmental stimulation is good but over-stimulation may not be a good idea. A calm environment allows the baby to focus on the interaction with their carer and the toys. A regular routine could promote a calm surrounding. Start early on establishing a regular routine for you and your baby.
Adequate good quality sleep is essential for babies, children, teenagers and definitely parents! Good quality sleep allows our brain to grow and re-organise. This is easier said than done with a young family! Look at resources by Raising Children Network for more support on sleep for your baby.
Enriching activities and interactions
Here I emphasize on the interaction with a variety of people, activities and environment. Different people offer different ways to interact with a baby and they have different ways to talk to the baby (including using a different language), to hold the baby and to play with the baby. Different activities offer the baby or later on, the child different ways to handle a toy, to play with a ball or to join in different sports activities when the child is older using different gross and fine skills.
Be kind to yourself
Raising a baby is challenging it requires persistence and patience, which let’s face it a lot of the time can be a difficult thing to do and it is easier to said than done. Try and make sure you make time for yourself, to re-charge your batteries so you are able to give more quality time to your baby. If you have any tips on how to do this we would love to hear them!
These are all suggestions to stimulate you to think outside the box. Do not stress yourself if you cannot offer a variety of enrichment, especially under the current situation of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the end of the day, it is interaction with you that your baby wants and your interactions with them will makes a huge difference their development.
What to do if you have concerns about your baby’s development:
If you would like further advice regarding baby development then Raising Children Network is a fantastic free resource. The Love Talk Sing Read Play app by NSW families is another free resource packed with loads of top tips. You can always book an appointment at your local Child and Family Health Centre or GP. If you have concerns regarding their physical development, then please seek advice from a Paediatric Physiotherapist.
Happy parenting and enjoy watching your baby grow and learn new things every day.