Oh the joy of having a new tiny human to care for, love, nurture, and make memories with! Is there a better sound than hearing a baby laugh? Is there anything more precious than watching a baby sleep? Is there anything more terrifying than being a first-time parent? Let’s start building a solid physical, mental, and emotional foundation from the tiny human’s first day on planet Earth!
Motor precedes cognition. Motor… precedes… cognition. This is EXTREMELY important to remember in the overall development of your tiny human. Generally, tiny humans will scoot, roll over, crawl, stand and walk all before they can really talk. Those who skip or miss these physical milestones are missing an important part of their cognitive development. Do not rush a child to walk… let them get there when they are physically ready.
Tiny humans’ physical development revolves around their ability to support and control their heads. They need enough strength in their neck and core to develop cognitively. Tummy time is the best way to develop that strength! Spend time on the floor with your tiny one. Let them lift their neck and move their head to see what they want to see. Always be mindful and watch over them while they are on their tummies.
If you are a parent, think about this… you are heading to lunch with a friend and then to the grocery. Your tiny human is in the car seat while you are driving… as they should be. You leave them in the seat while you are at the restaurant for lunch and in the grocery store. The only exception to that is when a diaper change is needed. When you get home and get the groceries put away, you finally take them out of the car seat. That sweet, tiny human has been in that seat for hours… unable to move and explore. Get them out of the car seat when they are not in the car! Is it inconvenient at times? Absolutely! Will it pay off for your child down the road? Without a doubt! When you are out, carry your tiny human! Again, this will allow them to support their head and strengthen their neck. When they get tired, they will put their head on your shoulder… which will make you smile! Let your child do the work!
If you remember back to the previous blogs, a strong vestibular system is vital to a child reaching his/her full potential. Tiny humans love to be rocked, played with, rolled over, thrown up in the air, and caught (and luckily Dads love to do that!!!), go down a slide, and swing on a swing with a bigger human. Find ways to get outside and let your tiny human explore and discover, fall and get back up, get dirty, and wipe themselves off. Watch and enjoy the expressions on their face and their zest for discovering things for the first time!
PLEASE, put the “educational” videos away. Instead of tracking colorful things on a screen to music that is right in front of them… which means they do not have to move their head at all… put the music on in your house while YOU play and interact with your tiny human! Move things to spaces where your tiny human has to move their head to see. Tiny human to other human interaction is THE BEST for them, and for you!!
Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, babysitters, and anyone else who has the blessing of being with a tiny human, the challenge is on! It takes time, without question. But, that sweet, precious tiny human is counting on you!