Susanne Hugo, Mysmartkid’s occupational therapist recommends six tips for parents of children aged 0 – 2 help their little ones achieve the important Wellbeing developmental milestones.
1. When choosing games and activities to play with your baby, it’s important to always keep the developmental pattern in mind. For example, don’t try to get your baby to sit when they haven’t yet developed head control. It will only frustrate you, and your baby, without any results.
2. Babies need to spend a lot of time on their stomachs. So lie them and their toys on the mat, or on your tummy or legs while you talk and play with them. Tummy time helps develop your baby’s motor skills.
3. Babies need to crawl before they can walk. Every parent awaits those first tentative little footsteps, but crawling is a vital part of your baby’s development. It strengthens your baby’s muscles, teaches them to use their hands and feet in a coordinated way and ensures that important integration of brain functioning takes place. So, if your little prodigy skips this stage, or goes too quickly from crawling to walking, try to motivate them to crawl when playing.
4. It’s important to know that, at this age, repetition and verbalising are both an essential part of learning. It gives your baby time to practice and refine all the new skills they’re learning. So, it’s a good idea to repeat an activity many times, perhaps tweaking it slightly so that they don’t get bored.
5. There’s no denying it, your baby’s attention span is still very short – no matter how many funny faces you can make. So, don’t expect them to concentrate for long periods of time. Rather just be patient and let your little one play, without distraction, giving them time to better develop their attention span.
Play and Learn
6. Always remember that, at this stage, all learning happens through play. It’s natural that your baby will be curious about their surroundings and will want to touch, feel, hold and explore everything they come across. So, make sure that there are always toys to play with and give them the space and opportunity to ‘discover’ their world.