Your baby’s ability to smile, crawl or take the first step are called developmental milestones. During your baby’s first year, there are some developmental milestones that your son or daughter should exhibit. As a parent, you can play a key role in your child’s development. In the handout below, The National Center on Birth Defects and Development Disabilities shares a list of Positive Parenting Tips you can use with your child.
Positive Parenting Tips for Healthy Child Development
Infants (0-1 year of age)
Skills such as taking a first step, smiling for the first time, and waving “bye-bye” are called developmental milestones. Developmental milestones are things most children can do by a certain age. Children reach milestones in how they play, learn, speak, behave, and move (like crawling, walking, or jumping).
In the first year, babies learn to focus their vision, reach out, explore, and learn about the things that are around them. Cognitive, or brain development means the learning process of memory, language, thinking, and reasoning.Learning language is more than making sounds (“babble”), or saying “ma-ma” and “da-da”. Listening, understanding, and knowing the names of people and things are all a part of language development. During this stage, babies also are developing bonds of love and trust with their parents and others as part of social and emotional development. The way parents cuddle, hold, and play with their baby will set the basis for how they will interact with them and others.
For more details on developmental milestones, warning signs of possible developmental delays, and information on how to help your child’s development, visit the “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” campaign website. http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/index.html
Positive Parenting Tips
Following are some things you, as a parent, can do to help your baby during this time:
- Talk to your baby. She will find your voice
- Answer when your baby makes sounds by repeating the sounds and adding words. This will help him learn to use
- Read to your baby. This will help her develop and understand language and
- Sing to your baby and play music. This will help your baby develop a love for music and will help his brain
- Praise your baby and give her lots of loving
- Spend time cuddling and holding your baby. This will help him feel cared for and
- Play with your baby when she’s alert and relaxed. Watch your baby closely for signs of being tired or fussy so that she can take a break from
- Distract your baby with toys and move him to safe areas when he starts moving and touching things that he shouldn’t
- Take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. Parenting can be hard work! It is easier to enjoy your new baby and be a positive, loving parent when you are feeling good
Child Safety First
When a baby becomes part of your family, it is time to make sure that your home is a safe place. Look around your home for things that could be dangerous to your baby. As a parent, it is your job to ensure that you create a safe home for your baby. It also is important that you take the necessary steps to make sure that you are mentally and emotionally ready for your new baby. Here are a few tips to keep your baby safe:
- Do not shake your baby―ever! Babies have very weak neck muscles that are not yet able to support their heads. If you shake your baby, you can damage his brain or even cause his
- Make sure you always put your baby to sleep on her back to prevent sudden infant death syndrome (commonly known as SIDS).
- Protect your baby and family from secondhand Do not allow anyone to smoke in your home.
- Place your baby in a rear-facing car seat in the back seat while he is riding in a car. This is recommended by the National Highway Traffic Safety
- Prevent your baby from choking by cutting her food into small bites. Also, don’t let her play with small toys and other things that might be easy for her to
- Don’t allow your baby to play with anything that might cover her
- Never carry hot liquids or foods near your baby or while holding
- Vaccines (shots) are important to protect your child’s health and safety. Because children can get serious diseases, it is important that your child get the right shots at the right time. Talk with your child’s doctor to make sure that your child is up-to-date on her
- Breast milk meets all your baby’s needs for about the first 6 months of life. Between 6 and 12 months of age, your baby will learn about new tastes and textures with healthy solid food, but breast milk should still be an important source of
- Feed your baby slowly and patiently, encourage your baby to try new tastes but without force, and watch closely to see if he’s still
- Breastfeeding is the natural way to feed your baby, but it can be challenging. If you need help, you can call the National Breastfeeding Helpline at 800-994-9662 or get help on-line at http://www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding. You can also call your local WIC Program to see if you qualify for breastfeeding support by health professionals as well as peer counselors. Or go to http://gotwww.net/ilca to find an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant in your
- Keep your baby active. She might not be able to run and play like the “big kids” just yet, but there’s lots she can do to keep her little arms and legs moving throughout the day. Getting down on the floor to move helps your baby become strong, learn, and
- Try not to keep your baby in swings, strollers, bouncer seats, and exercise saucers for too
- Limit screen time to a minimum. For children younger than 2 years of age, the American Academy of Pediatrics
- (AAP) recommends that it’s best if babies do not watch any screen media.
A pdf of this document for reprinting is available free of charge from http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/childdevelopment/positiveparenting/infants.html
1-800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) http://www.cdc.gov/info
Heather Park Child Development Center’s infant program focuses on providing your infant with a positive, engaging environment that aids in development. If you would like to learn more about child developmental milestones, speak with your child’s teacher at Heather Park.