I had a call from a concerned parent yesterday and I realised again how hard it is to bring up a baby in today’s world. As first-time parents you are so afraid of doing the wrong thing and not getting it right that we forget to trust our instincts when raising our children.
Remember milestones are an indication that all is well developmentally. It’s not a list to be rushed through. A child must spend time in each phase in order to develop all areas of his intellect. The less time he spends playing with gadgets, the better for him.
So, ask yourself the following question:
Is someone or something allowing him to be able to do this? (Sit/ walk/jump/ draw etc.) If you get a YES, then you know it might hinder him developmentally. Support seats, walkers and jolly jumpers are all allowing him to be in a position that he should not be able to be in at this stage. If he could sit/ walk/ jump he would be able to do it on his own. Help him strengthen his muscles to be able to do just that. Put your baby on the floor and less time in constraints or in mom’s arms. Your child needs to be working on those large muscles so that he can control the small muscles later on.
Yes, we are living in a world where you have to be technologically savvy and our children are exposed to IPads and other electronic devices, but at what expense? It’s now even more important than ever before that we limit the use of electronic devices in the early toddler years. Toddlers need to spend most of their day playing, using their imagination, running, jumping and drawing. All these experiences help them to sit still later at school. His “job” is to strengthen his gross motor muscles so that the fine muscle control (to hold my pen and read across a page) will work optimally later.
Pushing a child to perform is not the answer. A child that can use the IPad/ computer / cell phone at three is not a genius. He is a child who might have problems later on at school with midline crossing/ fine motor control/ reading etc. Limit devices/ gadgets to 30 min a day and let him be a child. It is the only time he has to be carefree.