As children, our growth and development is shaped by the world around us, and what we are exposed to. This applies to the neurological and muscular systems of the body. Often in slow child development, the lack of appropriate stimulus from the outside world can be a major factor.
For example, it has been seen that children late in learning to walk, may have not learned to crawl properly because of the surface in the house. If there is hard tile flooring in the house, it may be uncomfortable for the child to learn to crawl. This results in less time practicing crawling, which has a snowball effect in the ability to then learn to walk.
Another example of how the environment can affect a child’s development is with slow speech. If the child is not exposed to much vocal stimulus, for example with watching an excessive amount of TV, he or she may not be exposed to trying as much needed interactive sounds with other children or adults. This can have an effect on language expression and development.
Here’s what you can do to help your child in their development
- Physical development. Ensure that the area they are playing in has comfortable and safe surfaces. If you have hard tile or wood floors, look to play on area rugs or even put down a blanket that your child could crawl on to practice. Challenge their crawling and walking with unique surfaces such as blankets, pillows, and foam board. Don’t just give toys readily to your child. Make them work at reaching or moving towards toys they want to play with. When a child is learning to stand help them by holding onto their hips and pelvis, guiding them to maintain their balance.
- Neurological development. There is a tremendous amount that can be done to help your child develop neurologically and there are many books on the subject. Simple actions you can do are to expose your child to many different objects and experiences. The more play toys they can grab, manipulate and experience the better. Use different shapes and colors in the child’s bedroom to help creativity. Have them draw, play with play-do (when at a safe age), do finger painting and a host of other physical experiences.
- Social development. Get involved in playgroups that your child can engage in. Have children present at the dinner table and try to sit down as a family multiple times in the week. This exposes them to social interactions in the family and conversation. Have supervised play dates with other children, helping them to interact and reward good behavior such as sharing, with praise.
There is a lot that can be done to help children develop in both their physical, neurological and social skills. Understand that the environment you live in has a profound effect on the development of your child. In our busy lives, we rush to work, daycare, rush home, cook dinner and get children to bed. Make sure that time is carved out in the day to work on the development of your child’s well being. With some simple understanding and changes, your child can have a wealth of experience and achieve their milestones at a regular pace.
If you have concerns that your child may be developing slowly in their physical, speech, language or learning abilities, talk to one of our specialists today. Catching a problem early can make a big difference in your child’s future abilities. We offer free pediatric consultations, so don’t delay and speak to our therapists today.