Child Development + Proactive Parenting = Stronger Families

From the time when “operation shock and awe” (your new baby) arrives, until its first birthday, marks the year of life in which the most profound physical growth takes place.  For this reason, parents closely clutch resources such as the book “What to Expect in the First Year”.   Resources like this give eager them valuable information from which they decide how best to nourish baby’s growth physically, cognitively, emotionally, and socially.  Unfortunately, as children grow, and parents become busier, the frequency of learning about child development decreases and subsequently the power of parenting also decreases.  Why should parents make time to keep up with all aspects of their child’s development?  So glad you asked!  We see their physical growth and quickly respond with healthy foods.  If we take time to learn about their cognitive and psychological growth, we can give them healthy food in those areas too.  This food is in the form of guidelines, wisdom, and tools to maximize their potential in the journey of life.  We parents are smart but we can be smarter.  We are, after all, not just our kids’ caretakers; we are their very first and most important teachers.

Here are three quick examples of child development (from www.webmd.com ), and how parents might consider doing things differently:

  1.  An 8 year old cognitively would know what day of the week it is, but not necessarily the full date and year.  As a parent, would knowing this make you more forgiving toward a child who erred in this area?  How would a greater understanding of the timeline of brain development impact your expectations?
  2. The emotional and social development of a 6 year old tells us they want their parents to play with them, and that parents are their main source of companionship and affection.  As a parent, would knowing this motivate you to carve out more time for your child’s emotional and social needs?  What plan of action will incorporate both parents (where applicable) either together or separately to provide quality interactions?
  3.  Toddlers do best when they know what to expect, whether it's what time they bathe or go to bed or what consequences they'll face for misbehaving. The more consistent and predictable things are, the more resilient and agreeable a toddler is likely to be.  As a parent of a toddler, keeping your toddler’s sanity might very well help you keep yours.  What will you do to keep her world consistent?  How will you, your spouse, and or other caretakers keep limit setting and discipline consistent too? 

 Knowledge is power that can make a difference.   WebMD is an excellent online resource but there are countless others, including books authored by prominent experts.  Search engine tag words can include “child or teen development, ages, and stages”.  Pick the resource that’s best for you and nurture your child, not just physically, but intellectually, emotionally and socially.

Readers, please share your favorite resources and comments with us in our comments section.