Learning about your child’s development
Here are some basic age-appropriate ways that you can support your child’s feelings:
Birth to 9 months old
- Talk, read, and sing to your baby. By holding, cuddling, singing and talking to your baby every day during daily routines, you provide the nurturing their growing brains need. And your baby needs your loving touch and soothing words just as much when they’re fussy to help them feel special. A bonus is that these bonding moments help you feel better, too.
- Help your child transition to a new caregiver. A favorite toy, stuffed animal or blanket can help comfort your baby in unfamiliar situations. Also, be aware of your own response to a new caregiver when your baby is present; your baby can notice concern in your facial expressions and body language even when they are very young.
9 months to 18 months old
- Be an emotional role model. Even at a young age, your baby learns by watching you. Taking a deep breath during stressful situations, expressing joy when you’re happy, and letting your child know that you love them helps them learn how to behave with others.
- Be aware of developmental stages. Though your baby is becoming a toddler, they’re still not capable of doing things that older children can do, like sharing toys or playing one-on- one with other children. The more you know about what your child is capable of at a certain age, the more prepared you’ll be for the times when they need a little more help to get along with others.
18 months to 24 months
- Talk about feelings. As your child learns new words, ask your child to think about how they’re feeling, and offer words to help them express difficult emotions.
- Help your child develop appropriate responses. Young toddlers need guidance to understand the appropriate ways to behave when they’re angry, disappointed or frustrated. You can help them by hugging them, telling a story, singing a song, or giving them a favorite toy or blanket so they can self-soothe.
24 months to 36 months
- Offer choices. Older toddlers typically want to feel some control over their environment. Let them decide how they will accomplish tasks, or offer simple “either/or” choices. Simple choices can reduce conflicts and help your child learn to communicate their needs and wants using words.
- Praise good behavior. Be specific about what they did right, and how that made you feel.
Read more from Talking Is Teaching.