by Magda from Illinois
In January of this year, I welcomed a healthy baby boy named Kai. The joy took over me, but I knew that raising a child was going to require hard work and dedication. As an Early Childhood Educator, I have mastered all four developmental domains: Social/Emotional, Language/Communication, Cognitive (learning/thinking), and Physical/Movement (fine and gross motor). However, I know that the most important domain that is often overlooked, is the Social/Emotional milestones.
Without strong Social/Emotional growth, delays can occur in Language, Cognitive, and even Physical development. During infancy one must focus on attachment. Moreover, there is no such thing as spoiling an infant. If they need to be comforted, fed, changed etc., and their needs are met, they create a bond with their caregiver, known as attachment. This allows them to realize that their needs will be met, building trust for the world. The best way to fulfill this is by knowing your infant’s cues, and assisting them before they cry. However, if they do cry it is best to meet their needs right away. Neglected infants learn that they cannot trust the world because their needs are not met. Therefore, they struggle with reaching other milestones because they are stuck in a fight or flight mentality.
As the child gets older and becomes a toddler, it is important to provide them with appropriate choices. This helps them build a sense of independence. They will want to do things themselves, and it might get messy, but that’s okay. It is important to encourage their independence for Social/Emotional reasons. In addition, they will be learning about their emotions, and will have no self-control. It’s completely normal, talk them through the situation, and be a role model for them.
As parents we need to teach our children how to self-regulate emotions, and it usually starts by setting the example. Parenting can be challenging, and it’s okay to take a step back when feeling overwhelmed. We often forget that our children are not the only ones growing during this journey.
Note from wichealth: You can take our Milestones Matter lesson series for more information about milestones. This lesson will be available in July 2021. In the meantime, check out the CDC's page on developmental milestones. It will tell you which milestones to look for at your child's age!
My name is Magda. I am a mother of a 4-month-old boy, and an educator to a dozen three-year-olds. I migrated to Chicago from Poland, and started my journey in the culinary field. Now I am a preschool teacher building my own family.