Thursday, January 21, 2016

Skill of the Week: The Parents' Guide to the First Year of Life

Congratulations! You just brought your little bundle of joy home from the hospital, and you are so excited to start the rest of your life. You begin to envision your child as a happy baby, growing into a feisty toddler, and beam at the thought of the two of you, hugging, on the first day of preschool. Until... Another fleeting thought... You realize that there are so many stages for your baby to first go through, and you are immediately overwhelmed at the thought of raising your child in a developmentally appropriate manner. As a pediatric occupational therapist and mommy x 3, I know that it is absolutely frightening to think of every skill that you "should" work on every day- in order to help your child meet developmental milestones. After all, not everyone has the time or energy (hello, newborn sleep-deprivation!) to go through the daily developmental checklist. After working with some of my early intervention families, I realized that many parents would truly appreciate having one skill to focus on each week, incorporating attainable goals to help their children reach milestones. "Skill of the Week" will offer families an opportunity to engage their babies, using best practices for cognitive, fine motor, gross motor, and social and emotional skill development. The series will highlight one skill per week throughout the baby's first year of life, which a family can easily incorporate into their [child's] daily routine. Toy suggestions will also be provided- to complement the skill that is being featured. You might be saying, I will enjoy my child as soon as she can sit or talk or run or go to school. Perhaps you think, "babies are not my thing." But they can be when you realize all that your child can and will do. So I say, let's work on one skill at a time, marveling in each new achievement. I promise, it really is amazing.