by Rahila Butt
Early childhood development is a necessary step towards making your child a bright person in future. Thanks to technology and science, many researches have been conducted on how to improve early childhood education, which is directly correlated with the early brain development of children. Before we move on to early brain development we must accept the fact that every child is unique, this means that your second child is going to give you very different and varied challenges as compared to your first, however they will be encouraged because you have achieved a higher degree of patience.
Moving on, it is safe to say that all children follow a pattern of brain development, that means if we are talking about physical development we can take an example walking of the child, that he or she will start at the tummy time first, then in a few weeks he will start to put some weight on his hands and try moving back and forth, afterwards when he or she has mastered this movement, they will try to crawl, so if we put this in a graph, we can observe that all children follow this same pattern, some children might take longer time to start crawling but eventually he or she will get there, so there is no need to rush, children like to develop on their on pace and nurturing environment.
Moreover there has been an ongoing debate that what determines how our child is going to turn out like? Savvy parents understand that genes do effect your child’s early development but they are not all. We can nurture our children by the influences of environment and experience which will effect the way genes work. Our children are born with a genetic blueprint, which helps in determining the basics of their personality such as their hair color or the tendency that they might have certain abilities, or health problems. Genes need instructions; therefore it is safe to say that genes do not affect the life path of your child. Genes may tell that your child has potential to be six foot four inches but poor nutrition can hinder their true growth. Similarly it applies to the interaction with people or child’s ability to count. We can’t change the genetic blueprint of our child but we can groom their genes to play out differently.
Now we are going to explore child’s development and why is it so essential? We can start with a definition that development refers to the biological and emotional changes that occur as the human beings grow. For our proper understanding lets divide the early stages of development in four areas.
- Cognitive, it is the development of thinking skills, problem solving and reasoning
- Physical development, this covers the development of gross and fine motor skills that include big and small muscle movement as well as development of sensory perception such as vision or hearing.
- Emotional development, or we can also call it social and emotional development because in this children learn how to cope with their emotions, understand their feelings and learn how to express them and how they can get along with other people.
- Language development, it is about communication.
Child development is a holistic approach we see and observe this development as a growth in the whole person rather than focusing on just one area. In the initial months the child will be learning at a very fast pace, he or she will be perceiving things and adapting habits and behaviors, so in order to groom your child in the way you want, you need to start from day one. Be compassionate and empathic around them because children perceive emotions.
Lets start with how to understand these areas of development, for instance when the child begins to walk, obviously they are developing a physical skill here but we can say that in general they are developing the gross motor skill of walking. When I had my first child, we were a household of all adults, so everyone often resorted to holding him in their arms, so he developed the walking skill a little slowly but eventually when he started moving around it was very tiring because he was off to explore, this resulted in many bruised knees and roughened palms however he was giddy at the end of the day and tired enough that he slept instantly and through the night. Up until 3 months he will have a time on his tummy, then from 3 to 6 months he will try balancing himself or herself on their knees and hands, now during these three months the child will try to sit up, but they cannot independently balance themselves so it will be helpful if we prop them up against a pillow and obviously they will be propped against you when you are holding them, but try to sit them up instead of lying them down, so that it helps develop the habit of sitting. Remember that children learn very quickly in their initial stages so try to help develop most of the gross motor skills during 3 to 6 months.
Similarly, if we continue with our example of crawling we can observe that they are also developing their cognitive, emotional, social and language skills. Whenever the child comes across an obstacle or has a need he or she will cry or make a sound to gain your attention and tell that they have a need and they want you to fulfill it. In the social skill they are moving around a place and they perceive things and objects and temperatures so that is their social skills that are developing. In the first three months the child cannot retain what they see, or you can simply say that ‘out-of-sight-out-of-mind’ theory is applicable, but from 3 to 6 moths object permanence develops and now the child will try to find something even if it is out of sight. In the first 3 moths the child will give his first smile, and it is a very remarkable moment if anyone has witnessed that. During 3 to 6 months the child will develop preference to familiar faces and voices, some may grow vary of stranger faces. Moving to 12-month mark, some children will grow more vary of strangers while others might overcome, it depends on how social you are as a person. This will lead to separation anxiety if the child is only used to having his parents around.
On the whole, I can say this from my personal experience that raising a child is a full time job, you have to be ready to move to something like this, there can be many challenges in the start but eventually you start getting hold of this whole process. Learning never stops you can always go for classes or read blogs but keep updated. In the beginning it might seem too tiring but don’t stop enjoying, because the first smiles, words and their first walk is never going to repeat itself. Give them time because they deserve it. Happy motherhood!
A proud mother of four, Rahila Butt is a stay-at-home-mom with passion for reading, writing and cooking. She has done masters from UoK at the top of her class. Ever since she has explored different hobbies like cooking, baking, home decorations and travelling. She believes that life is all about the small pleasures of life that we should to be grateful for.