Best ways to stimulate your child’s development

You began to follow your son’s progress long before he left his belly cuddle: in the tenth week, his heart was ready; in the 24th week, he already had his hearing developed and listened to his voice; in the 30th week, he began to prepare for childbirth. Now that he is already in your arms, you are still anxious to follow all the signs of your little one’s development from your cabin and tremble just thinking that he can stay behind. Nonsense! Excessive worry will not help at all, so take your foot off the accelerator and shorten each phase. Your child will accomplish all the fundamental achievements to maturity: he will learn to walk, to talk, he will leave the diapers and, when you least expect it, will be riding a bike alone (and without wheels!). Only you will do all this in his time.

As much as your expectations may be, your child’s development depends, above all, on a biological factor that is decisive and beyond your parents’ control. This is amielination, the process of maturation of nervous structures, which take time to become able to transmit nervous impulses. Without this neural structure being prepared, there is no point in forcing the bar. It is always possible to offer stimulation, but without wanting to rush anything, because this can even generate frustration. “The child’s rhythm must be respected. Without that, your child may suffer for being pressured to do something that maybe he doesn’t have aptitude or isn’t ready yet,” explains Maria Carolina Villas Bôas, a teacher at the Vera Cruz Center for Educational Studies, focusing on the formation of elementary school teachers.

So stop taking developmental milestones so seriously, which establish, for example, that your 7-month-old child will be able to sit on his own and at the age of 3 will be able to ride a tricycle. Consider what is expected for each age only as a reference. It may take the child a little longer to say the first words, but have better coordination in relation to colleagues of the same age. This does not mean she will have a speech problem. It just means that, for some reason, she will need a little more time.

The best thing to do is to leave aside the checklist of abilities that your child needs to develop and play a lot with him, because there is no more powerful stimulus than contact. A study by the University of Pennsylvania, USA, confirmed this. Following 64 children from birth to 20 years of age, researchers found that those who received parental attention had a higher IQ as adults. In other words, we can say that it is the desire to relate to other human beings that will awaken the desire to communicate, move and express what one feels.

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