The joy of becoming a parent is incredible! Seeing the child take its first step, say its first word, go to its first school are all memories that any parent cherishes for life. As the child grows, it is very important for parents to develop their children. This process is called the parenting process or child development process. The process involves encouraging and supporting the emotional, physical, social, and intellectual development of a child from an infant to an adult.
Parents do their best to ensure that they are developing their child in a manner that will bring the best out of him or her. There is no right or wrong way of doing so, but still, it is wise to understand what to expect and how to fulfill the need of the child during the development phase. There are various parenting strategies and child development best practices that can help parents to be the “perfect parent”. The progress that has been made in fields like pediatrics, neuroscience, and psychology has provided new insights about how child development should take place.
The parenting process is especially important during the formative phase of child growth.
The formative phase is the phase comprising the initial 8 years of the child. This is the phase when a child becomes the individual they are going to be for the rest of their life. It is the period when they learn appropriate behavior, empathy, boundaries, and other important social skills that remain with them for the rest of their lives.
During the formative years, it is very important for a parent to take care of the following five aspects of child development. To explore more about the formative phase of child growth, visit sparkous.com.
- Speech and Language Development
This aspect of child development caters to the child’s ability to understand and use language. The first 3 years of a child is the most critical period for acquiring speech and language skills as during this period, the brain is developing and maturing. These skills are developed best when the environment around the child is exposed to the speech and language of others and is also rich with sights and sounds.
Parents play a critical role in the development of a child’s speech and language skills as they provide the necessary environment for the child to learn from. The parents should continuously talk and read in front of the child so that the child can build on the vocabulary needed for speech and language skills. Enjoying music together, telling stories, and going on field trips are also other ways of helping a child to develop these skills.
- Fine Motor Skill Development
This is the ability of the child to use small muscles like hands, toes, fingers, and thumb for doing things like picking up small objects, holding a ball, or using crayons to draw. With the development of this skill, the child will be competent enough to perform important day to day activities like writing, eating, and performing other chores.
Parents can encourage and help children to improve these skills by participating in various fun activities. Involving the child in puzzles, sand play, Lego, or dough play activities, will develop the child’s pincer grasp and other senses, and also foster creativity.
- Gross Motor Skill Development
As Fine Motor Skill was referring to the use of small muscles, the Gross Motor Skill talks about the use of larger muscles like arms, legs, and torso for performing full-body movement activities.
These full-body movements include but are not limited to walking, running, jumping, or sitting upright on a bed.
These skills can be improved mostly during the playtime of the child. As a parent, one should limit the use of positioning aids like Infant seat or floor sitter as they limit the movement of the child and hence hamper muscle development. The parents should allow their child to spend quality time on a clean floor so that the child can make use of all the key muscles. Organized sports like dance, karate, and gymnastics also helps in the development of the gross motor skills. Swimming is another sport that can help in strengthening the muscles and building endurance and coordination.
- Social and Emotional Development
This is another ability of the child which plays a crucial role when the child grows into an adult. This ability determines how the child interacts with others and how it handles various situations. The development of this skill influences a child’s empathy, self-confidence, and his or her ability to develop meaningful and lasting partnerships and friendships.
Parents play a very critical role in the development of this skill as they are the closest relationship that the child has from the very beginning. The child learns from the relationship that the parents have. Thus in order to build this skill in the child, the parents should maintain a healthy and balanced relationship so that the same is noticed by the child.
- Cognitive Development
Cognitive development builds the child’s ability to learn and solve problems. It is the development of knowledge and skills which helps children to think about and understand the surroundings around them. It is a field of study in neuroscience and psychology and has been a topic of research for ages.
Stimulating a child’s cognitive development right from the start lays a foundation for success in school and later part of the child’s life. Some parents mistakenly think that the ability to learn and solve problems is something that is going to be taught in schools. They think that cognitive skills are more related to academic skills and building a knowledge base. But one should realize that the home is the first school for the child. Parents should provide opportunities for their children to get exposed to new and interesting places so that they can observe and learn new things. If going out is not possible then the parents can bring in interesting materials like toys or books for the child.