5 Things I Wish I Had Known About Child Development

{Disclosure: We are thrilled to partner with Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota to share helpful information about early childhood development for children ages zero to three. A host of additional early childhood resources are available on the Children’s website.}

I flashed the black and white printables in front of my new baby’s face. Back and forth I waved the laminated sheets. She laid on the changing table giving me her distinct, brow furrowed, “What on Earth are you doing?” face. Child development! This is what I thought child development looked like. Quietly waving my black and white images were supposed to be visual stimulation and help that baby brain grow.

I did other “child development” things too. Like make the world’s biggest binder filled with the lyrics of kids songs I’d forgotten, games I could play with baby and vocabulary rhymes. I went to every baby class I could get to, art, music, sign language, playdates. It was all really great but something I’ve learned since the baby time is that it can be more simple. Good child development with your child doesn’t need to cost money, it doesn’t require printables and you don’t need to know every song lyric. Here are five things I wish I had known about child development when I was a new mom.

5 Things I Wish I Had Known About Child Development | Twin Cities Moms BlogPhoto Source: Sarah Hudson Photography

1. Just Be You

Child development classes like music, art, sign language and early childhood classes are really awesome but as a new mom there are so many transitions happening, getting out of the house sometimes takes an act of Congress. If it works for your family, great. But if the idea of shuffling between a multitude of classes isn’t for you, that is okay too. What baby really needs most when it comes to child development is you. Just be yourself and engage with your baby. And if you want to wave a laminated black and white printable in front of your baby, that’s great but baby just wants you there engaging with her.

2. Talk About Everything

Use your words, mama. Talking is teaching. Talk to your baby when they are laying on the changing table, in the bath or sitting in their seat or swing. Tell them about your day. Tell them your dreams. Tell them your dreams for them. It doesn’t matter what you say, just talk. Read books together. Read anything, read your favorite book or magazine out loud to them. Sing songs you know and the ones you make up. The action, not the content matters. According to Children’s Minnesota,

“The more words children hear and learn from parents and caregivers, the greater their chance of success through the preschool and kindergarten years, and the more benefits to their lifelong health and well-being.”

5 Things I Wish I Had Known About Child Development | Twin Cities Moms Blog

3. Being Silly Matters

Whether it is singing a silly song, making a funny voice or engaging in imaginative play, all of these activities of being silly matters. It doesn’t cost anything to be silly and it allows children to learn emotions, problem-solve and grow their dreams and imagination. Several ideas from Children’s Minnesota includes, going along with your child when they start imaginative play and giving down time to allow for silly time. Silly time can be as simple as blowing bubbles to your baby during bath or asking imaginative questions during a book.

4. Play Like A Kid

As moms it is really easy to get wrapped up in the functions and logistics of just maintaining stability in your household. Folding laundry, dishes, cleaning up, preparing meals. There’s never a really good time to play, right? But play is critical for your child’s development and engaging with them at eye-level, unplugged, builds trust, confidence and imagination. While we can’t always play like a kid, remember household chores don’t always need to be done. So take a moment to have a dance party, sit in the baby pool or go down the slide together at the park. Those engaging moments of playing like a kid matter.

5 Things I Wish I Had Known About Child Development | Twin Cities Moms BlogPhoto Source: Sarah Hudson Photography

5. Slow Down

You know all those moms you run into and say, “It goes by too fast.” Well, it’s true. Your kids grow up really fast. In the moment it feels stressful and long, but later you’ll reflect on the speed. So it is okay to slow down, take one day at a time and realize, you are the best educational tool for your child’s development. And while it feels like they are growing up fast, their brains really are growing fast too. Their brains are absorbing significantly during birth to age three. According to Children’s Minnesota,

“Birth to age three offers an amazing opportunity to influence the entire trajectory of a child’s life. Research indicates that 80 percent of brain development occurs by age three.”

For more information about child development and how you are the best teaching aid, visit Children’s Minnesota.

We are thrilled to announce a summer partnership with Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. We all know Children’s to be an incredible leader in healthcare, but they also have a wealth of resources to help you guide your child into the potential they already hold within them. You ARE your child’s greatest tool in learning and over the next month, we’ll be sharing a number of experiences from our team alongside the incredible amount of resources offered by Children’s. Find more information on the Children’s website.

Alice Seuffert
Alice is the creator of Dining with Alice where she shares creative comfort food recipes and conversations about motherhood. She is a television cook known for her easy and creative recipes and appears on Twin Cities Live and has also appeared on the Rachael Ray show. Alice is the author of Freezer Meals for Moms a book filled with freezer-friendly meals. Alice has also been recognized for her writing on body image, marriage and motherhood and has been featured on national parenting web pages including Scary Mommy. Alice works outside the home at a Twin Cities nonprofit organization as an education researcher and advocate at the state legislature. Alice’s favorite and most important role is mom and wife. Connect with her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram or sign up for her Email Newsletter for all of her recipes and posts about motherhood and Minnesota.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here