Anxious Child

How do I Help my Anxious Child?

I was recently asked by a parent of a 6 year old, ‘How do I help my child who worries a lot. He’s anxious, but won’t always tell me what’s going on?’ First thing – give him regular hugs and tell him how much you love him – that’s always a good start!

The following will give you some ideas on how to assist your child if they have a tendency to worry or be anxious.

 

Where did the anxiety come from?

It’s always useful to look at the background of the child… the parents, the home and the past experiences. Sometimes there is an overly anxious parent who constantly gives children messages to: ‘be careful’, to ‘watch out’, or ‘you might get hurt’. When children are told this often enough, they start to believe that their world isn’t safe. In regards to the home situation – has there been a trauma? eg a death, a serious accident, or parents separating, where there’s been a lot of heightened emotions – some children tend to make this mean that’s there’s immediate danger to them or those around them – they fear ‘bad stuff’ will happen to them. There are also children who have been affected by alcohol or drugs when in utero. When a woman uses these during pregnancy, they can affect the developing foetus, and may cause brain changes, which can affect a variety of functions, including being anxious or lacking impulse control. Obviously we can’t change what has already happened in the past, so let’s look at what we can do now, and also in terms of building resilience in children.

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Speech Development from 8 months

Speech Development from 8 months

Last week we looked at how language develops from birth to 8 months, let’s look at what happens next….

 

Between 8 – 14 months, babies become more interested in looking at books, and by 14 months they are often able to locate known objects eg ‘Where’s the dog?’ and they will point at it. They will understand often said words (known as Receptive language)eg Mum, Toby (the dog) bottle; and around their first birthday can say 4 -6 words (known as Expressive language). These ‘words’ aren’t complete, but may be ‘bo’ for bottle or ‘woof’ for the dog. Children of this age will listen, briefly. They may respond to simple requests eg ‘Come to Mummy’. They often jabber away to themselves or to you, and like to talk whilst looking at themselves in front of a mirror. They use gestures to make their needs known eg pointing at the fruit bowl when they want a banana.

How you can help: Share and read books to them, pointing out objects – the car, the big tree etc, and ask simple questions about the book: ‘Where’s the cat?’ Notice what you child is doing, and label it for him eg : You are playing with blocks’ or ‘You are eating porridge’. Let your baby sit in front of a mirror, to see themselves and ‘talk’! Sing simple songs to him. Listen when he is ‘telling’ you something – your smile and reponse encourages him to keep practising.

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How Does Speech Develop in Babies?

Language begins to develop prior to birth, when babies hear the parents’ voices in utereo. When a baby, who has just been born, is placed between their mother and a stranger, and they both speak to the baby, she will turn towards the recognisable voice of her Mum – amazing!

 

From birth to 6 weeks, this recognition of both Mum and Dad’s voices continues, and the baby responds to sounds and voices, but aren’t yet able to localise them. Babies have different cries to indicate their need for food, sleep, or to be burped! When parents are able to correctly identify these cries, then they can quickly settle the baby .

You can read more about this, in a previous article I wrote: http://theparentingcafe.com.au/the-5-words-your-newborn-says/ 

You can help by: Look at your baby and talk with her. Smile at her. Surround her with gentle, pleasant sounds, and avoid sudden loud noises, which may startle her.

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Motor Development 8 months - 3 years

Developing Motor Skills: 8 months – 3 years

Last week I wrote about the development of motor skills from birth to 8 months old. Let’s look at how they next develop…. 

During 8 – 14 months babies learn to (GM) pull to standing, walk along furniture, and may walk alone. They can stand and then lower themselves to the floor (not drop down), and they begin to go up and down stairs, usually by climbing. They now use the (FM) pincer hold – they pick up objects using their fingers (instead of the palm of their hand), and are beginning to stack blocks.

 

You can help your toddler by: Once the baby is able to pull to standing, you can encourage the next level of movement, by placing an interesting object just a few steps along the sofa or whatever they are resting against. Finger food is great once they start using the pincer hold – give them small piece of appropriate food, whilst supervising in case of any choking hazards.

 

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