As a parent, you have a huge impact on your child’s development. Between the time they are born and off to pre-school, the amount of milestones your child achieves is incredible.

Here are a few main milestones your little one continues to develop and how you, as a parent, can help them get there.

Eating

4 – 6 months – Your baby may be ready for solid food! Although breast milk or formula is still substantial for them, it will be worth starting to introduce them. At this point they will also start grabbing food, so watch out for your biscuits!

7 – 9 months – It’s time for finger foods! Your baby will be able to grab or pick up food and start feeding itself.

10 – 12 months – Prepare for a lot of messyour little one will start holding their spoon and will try to feed themselves. Your baby may start pointing to food when hungry and will want to have a try of yours!

12 – 18 months – With lots of practise, your child will get better at using a spoon by itself and will start to nod or shake their head when they decide they’re full. That’s always a fun game…

18 – 24 months – After a few months of using the spoon, your toddler will be a little bit tidier when it comes to meal times. They may play with their food and will start letting you know verbally whether they’re still hungry or full.

How to encourage you child through each eating milestone

  • Continue to introduce different types of food
  • Allow them to handle and play with different foods to explore textures and tastes
  • Eat together at meal times when possible
  • Make a note of which foods your child likes and dislikes
  • Make eating time fun!

Talking

12 – 18 months – During this time, your toddler will start to use one or two words, usually ‘mama’ or ‘dada’. They will also start raising their voice at the end of questions and start making hand gestures when communicating.

18 – 24 months – Throughout this time frame, your toddler may start putting a few words from their developing vocabulary together. They will chat to themselves or other children when playing games and they will try and sing along with you!

25 – 36 months – Your child will begin to grasp basic pronouns, like ‘I’, ‘you’ and ‘me’. They may start stringing a few simple sentences together and ask questions like ‘where?’ and ‘what?’. At this point in their development, your child will confuse tenses, but that’s okay, they’re learning! Last but not least, your child may even be able to tell you their name!

How to encourage you child through each talking milestone

  • Interact with your child as much as possible when you are with them
  • Introduce story time so you can read together, they’ll enjoy and learn at the same time! This is also great to pop into their bed time routine.
  • Point out things and ask them what it is, or encourage them to repeat the word you’re saying
  • Correct them when they say something the wrong way, for example, tenses
  • Simplify your speech and as they develop introduce more complex sentences and words. Sound the words out so they can understand or use picture books to aid them

Walking

Newborn – 2 months – From birth, your baby will shave a natural instinct to walk. They’ll push against surfaces and you’ll be able to feel this when you hold your newborn.

5 – 10 months – During this period your baby will hit many milestones, including bouncing while you hold them, crawling and standing whilst holding on. Once they gain more strength, they’ll start moving around whilst using furniture as support.

9 – 12 months – At this important point, your baby will start to stand without support! They may be able to walk while holding onto your hands too.

12 – 18 months – Between these months, your child should be able to walk, getting up to lots of mischief!

How to encourage you child through each walking milestone

  • Prompt your baby to start crawling, standing or walking by using a toy they love
  • Sit or kneel in front of your baby, you can look pretty scary from down there!
  • Let them go barefoot when they can, to improve balance and co-ordination
  • Allow as much floor space as possible so they can safely develop through these stages
  • Don’t give up at the first hurdle!

Each of these milestones are so important and any encouragement and stimulation will be super beneficial to help your little one get there! Remember, all children develop differently, so don’t be alarmed if your child is slightly behind, they’ll get there in their own time.

Don’t forget to look at our other blogs too:

How to help your child learn to read

Healthy eating tips for children

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