Mindful child development

All children develop differently and at their own pace. Probably like most mums of two my experience has been that my children have developed differently from each other, each with their own unique preferences for what they want to learn about when and how and their own personality shaping how they want to go about it and what they want from me. For example, my daughter at 8 months was a determined crawler whereas my son at the same age prefers to march round the living room dragging his dad around with him by the finger. He’s learning to crawl but seems less into it. My daughter at 8 months would sit for half an hour to listen to story books and very gently turned the pages herself. My son also likes books but only if they have flaps, touchy feely patches or finger puppets he can pull and move. And he will rip any paper he can touch so needs board books. I’ve done baby led weaning with both and my daughter at 8 months would have spent an hour playing with her food, probably having some nibbles of the tasty bits. My son at the same age wolfs down his portion before I finish mine and looks expectantly at me for a top up – from my own plate. Generally, it can be unhelpful to compare your children to each other or your friends children for the same reason – they are different and often both fine just the way they are. What counts as normal can vary so much when children are small because development spans a vast portfolio of skills – and the baby hasn’t read the book that says what they should do and in what order. So unless your child is very obviously behind typical developmental milestones it’s probably best to not get fused with unhelpful rules about whether they match average development timescales and attune instead to their own developmental journey.

Useful exercises

Try making a poem about the little things your child likes – what do they play with? What do they like to eat? What’s their favourite place to go? What’s their latest achievement? What early signs of their personality can you see – do they laugh a lot or make you laugh? Are they determined and serious? Curious? Clever? Cute?

Try spending ten minutes playing with them on the floor following their lead rather than trying to entertain them – if they roll, you roll. What do you notice?

Consider if there are any family stories about how you or your baby’s father were as babies and how this might impact your expectations of their development. Is it helpful to also consider defusing from any of this stuff?

Tuning into your baby as they are right now, what is one small step you could take to help them move on?

#mindfulness #baby development

Published by Mummy ACT

Qualified Clinical Psychologist blogging about pregnancy, miscarriage and parenting in the early years using tools from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Compassion Focussed Therapy during a pandemic

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