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6 ways to support your child’s development

Play is the natural way your baby will develop important skills.

Although many parents understand that their child’s earliest years shape later development and learning, we are often unsure how to promote healthy emotional, social and intellectual development. So we asked early childhood experts from Early Start at the University of Wollongong – Professor Marc de Rosnay and Dr Cathrine Neilsen-Hewett – what you can do with your child to encourage healthy development.

Start talking
Even though babies aren’t speaking, they’ve already started communicating with us. All we need to do is slow down, be present with our child and talk to them.
By the time they’re between 12 and 18 months they understand a huge amount of language, and they’re well on their way to producing language. To get to that point they need to be exposed to language, they need to have people interacting with them so that they can become rich understanders of language.
If you’re feeling a bit awkward about chatting to your baby, just talk about whatever you’re doing, whether that’s putting the clothes out on the line or cooking dinner.

Use contrasting colours
Colours like black, red and white provide the perfect contrast for babies to make out the patterns and shapes. Include these colours in your baby’s nursery and keep the colour pallet neutral to not over stimulate.

Take a look in the mirror
Mirrors can help to develop a child’s self-awareness, self-recognition and vocabulary. By talking with your child when using a mirror, your child may smile, reach out to the ‘other’ baby and slowly point as they recognise themselves.

Tummy time
Playing with your child on the floor helps to strengthen neck muscles to assist them in holding their head up. Encouraging rolling, crawling and ‘pulling up’ helps your child build strength, which will benefit and help your child as they begin to walk.

Play!
Play is the natural way your baby will develop important skills and is a powerful force that encourages exploration, risk taking, the development of social networks and engagement with learning. Look for play opportunities that work their fine and gross motor skills as well as develop their hand-eye coordination.

Visit a children’s museum
Unlike adult museums where you’re not allowed to touch, a children’s museum encourages interactivity. Early Start Discovery Space is a children’s museum located at the University of Wollongong and has a dedicated area for children from birth to two years, called Crawlers’ Beach. This area was designed by early childhood researchers to stimulate babies’ physical, intellectual and social development while they play.

Reading is a great activity that will build connection between parent and child as well as literacy development.

Mini & Me Playgroup
Join us for Mini & Me parent and baby bonding session that encourages sensory exploration, gross motor fitness, tummy time and communication. On daily at 10am. FREE after entry and no bookings required.

Mini & Me Playgroup - on daily at 10am!

Research = Experiences

Play is one of the most powerful ways to learn. That’s why all our experiences are informed by early childhood researchers from UOW.

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