From the ages of three to five, your little one will hit many milestones. Help your child reach his full potential with these tips.

WORDS NURULHUDA SUHAIMI

Watching your child grow and develop over the years is exciting for any parent. You have probably documented as many “firsts” as possible that your little one has gone through since he was a baby — from seeing him progress from crawling to walking, and listening to him speak his first words. All these moments that your child is experiencing during his infant years are crucial to his development, but that doesn’t mean there is nothing else to look forward to once he hits his preschool years.

From the ages of three to five, your child will be going through so many dramatic changes that it may be hard for you to keep track. “Developmental milestones act as useful checkpoints in a child’s development to determine what the average child is able to do at a particular age. Knowing the developmental milestones helps parents understand normal child development and also aids in identifying potential problems with delayed development,” says Dr Tan Zhen Han, consultant paediatrician at SBCC Baby & Child Clinic at Mount Alvernia Medical Centre.

A child’s development is strongly influenced by the environment he is in, and parents play a major role in aiding all aspects of their child’s development. Help your child in reach his developmental milestones with these tips.

Don’t be Overprotective
“As much as you would like to protect your child from falls and from tripping over, allow your child plenty of opportunities to run, climb and explore his surroundings safely,” advises educational and developmental psychologist at Th!nk Psychological Services, Pamela See.

Create a Balance
Allow your child only 30 minutes to two hours of television per day. Encourage him to read or play with his friends to promote different aspects of his development.

Get Creative
It’s time to get creative with your child to promote his fine motor skills. “Develop skills by drawing with your child using markers, crayons, coloured pencils and chalk,” says Dr Lim. “Exploring with playdough and building things with large linking blocks such as Duplo and Megablocks are also helpful in developing these skills.”

Teach Your Child Problem-solving
See advises parents to talk to their child when a conflict with his friends arises. Discuss with your child what he is feeling, how his friends might be feeling, as well as simple solutions your child can use if a similar situation occurs in future.

Remember: these developmental milestones are general guidelines for parents to keep track of their child’s development. This does not necessarily mean that every child will reach all these milestones at a specific age. However, knowing them will help aid you in identifying possible signs of developmental delay in your child.

Below are some red flags, identified by Dr Tan that parents should be aware of:

  • Unable to gain new skills or loss of previously established skills, after a period of normal development
  • Difference in strength and movement between right and left sides of body
  • Has either loose and floppy, or stiff and tense, movements
  • Difficulty focusing or making eye contact
  • Difficulty responding to visual stimuli or sounds
  • Poor interaction with other children or adults

If you suspect that your child might be having a developmental delay, approach your paediatrician as soon as possible so that your child can be treated earlier. “Parents know their children best. If you think your child may be experiencing a delay, don’t wait to find out,” says Dr Tan.

Article was originally published on http://www.motherhood.com.sg/kids/juniors-6-8-years/485-making-every-milestone-count