Parent/Caregiver interaction is the key to the development of children. Parents/Caregivers are important to child development because they know their child best. Research shows that the more parents interact with their children the better their development. When a child feels good, loved and cared for important connections within the brain are enhanced which helps in a child’s development. Interacting with your child by engaging their senses is very important from birth. Babies develop listening skills and interest in sounds and words. Babies eventually learn to understand patterns of sound and try to reproduce them which are the beginning of personal expression and two-way communication.
What Can I do to help my child develop?
- Ask your baby or toddler lots of questions even if they can’t respond they will learn that questions are an invitation to respond.
- Talk with your baby about what is going on around them, what people are doing etc…
- Use cloth books or board books and allow your child to hold the book.
- While reading to your child point to the pictures and words on the page.
- As you play together help your baby see and feel the different shapes (say, “the ball is round”)
- Point out what is different between two things.
- Say nursery rhymes so that your child hears words that rhyme. Emphasize the rhyming words.
- Add actions as you sing a song or recite a poem. This helps your child break down language into separate words.
- Singing songs is a good way to help your child hear syllables in words. In most songs, each syllable in a word gets a different note.
- Explain unfamiliar words to your child rather than substituting familiar words; this exposes children to many more words.
- Encourage your toddler to tell you about things, listen patiently and ask questions
Are there any Special activities at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health that can help me help my child? YES-here are just a few ideas:
- Join a playtime (Ask your Child Life Specialist)
- Join a Music Therapy group (Ask your Child Life Specialist or Music Therapist)
- Come to the library
- Come to open art studio (Ask your Child Life Specialist or Art Therapist)
- Request a storyteller (Ask a Library staff member or ask your Child Life Specialist.)
Information on the benefits of reading to children from birth:
Kidshealth.org is a website about the development and health of children. Included are topics for parents, children and teens.
Parents.com is the website version of the popular Parents Magazine. Like the magazine, the website offers advice from leading childcare experts.