Raising kids is one of the most challenging tasks in life, but it’s also one of the most rewarding experiences. However, no one becomes a parent and knows exactly how to handle the obstacles they come across. The best parents always look for ways to become better at their job and adapt to their child’s needs.
While every stage of a child’s life has its own trials, most people argue that taking care of an infant is the hardest. Not only is there a communication barrier between you and your infant, but there are also a lot of dangers you need to watch out for.
Today, let’s take a closer look at some facts regarding the infant age range that you should be aware of. And to top it all off, this article’ll also give you a few tips on how to take care of your kids during this vital stage of their development.
Infant Development Milestones and Facts
Generally speaking, children are considered infants from birth until they turn one year old. During this stage, you’ll be able to observe a variety of developmental milestones regarding how your child plays, speaks, behaves, moves, and learns. In other words, actions such as smiling for the first time, waving bye-bye, and laughing are referred to as developmental milestones.
In the first year, your child will begin to reach out, focus their vision, explore, and learn about their surroundings. Their brains will also develop, allowing them to learn the basics of cognitive concepts like thinking, reasoning, memory, and language.
However, your child won’t learn to speak right away and may use other ways to communicate, such as making random sounds. Understanding, knowing, and listening are also parts of language development, so remember to speak around your child constantly.
During the infant age range, your children will develop bonds of love and trust based on how you treat them. They will use these experiences later in life when socializing with other children and adults. Simply put, the way you hold, cuddle, and play with your infant will set the fundamentals for how they will interact when they grow up.
The infant stage is a crucial part of your child’s development. As a result, you need to be careful and do your best to aid your baby during this time. Fortunately, the following tips should help you do just that:
• Talk to your baby, as they will find your voice calming.
• Answer your baby’s sounds by repeating them and adding a couple of extra words. That way, you accelerate the language learning process.
• Play music and sing to your baby to help them acquire a love for music and aid their brain development.
• Read to your infant to help them understand sounds and language.
• Give your child praise and lots of loving attention.
• Cuddle and hold your baby to make them feel cared for and secure.
• Play with your infant when they are relaxed as well as alert. However, make sure to take a break from playing if you notice signs of fussiness or tiredness.
• Use toys to distract your baby and move them to a safe area when they start touching things they shouldn’t.
• Parenting involves a lot of hard work. So remember to also take care of yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally in order to be able to provide a positive and loving environment to your children.
• Show your child pictures of familiar things, such as people and animals. Make sure that they feature plenty of textures, colors, scenes, and faces. Also, talk to your baby about the pictures and observe their reaction to what you tell them.
Child Safety Tips
When you have a baby, it’s important to ensure that your home is 100% safe. As a result, you need to look around for things that could pose a risk to your baby’s safety. Besides that, you also need to handle your child with care to avoid harming them. Here are a few tips you can use to keep your baby safe no matter the situation:
• Don’t allow your child to play with anything that could cover their face.
• Never carry hot foods or liquids near your baby.
• Always put your baby to sleep on their back to avoid sudden infant death syndrome, also known as SIDS.
• Protect your child from second-hand smoke by not allowing anyone to smoke inside your home.
• Children can get serious diseases, which is why they must get vaccinated at the right time. Talk to your doctor about vaccinations and make sure that your child is up-to-date with their shots.
• Never shake your baby. Keep in mind that infants have weak neck muscles which can’t fully support their heads. Shaking your baby can cause severe damage to their brain and may even lead to death.
• While driving, place your infant in a rear-facing car seat in the back, as recommended by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
• Cut your baby’s food into small bites to prevent them from choking on it. Also, don’t let your infant play with small toys or objects that can be easily swallowed.
Lastly, you need to understand that infants are extremely vulnerable. Therefore, you have to do everything you can to make sure that they don’t experience health problems and that they grow up to become healthy individuals by following these recommendations:
• Breast milk is ideal for the first 6 months of your baby’s life. Between 6 and 12 months of age, your infant will be able to learn about new textures and tastes through solid food. However, breast milk remains an important part of your child’s nutrition.
• Encourage your baby to try new tastes and watch closely to see if they are still hungry. And remember to never force-feed your baby; otherwise, you risk physical and emotional harm to them.
• While breastfeeding is a natural way to feed your baby, it can be challenging. If you need help, you can always visit the Office on Women’s Health and ask for their advice. You can also contact your local WIC program to see if you qualify for breastfeeding support.
• Although your baby isn’t able to run and play like older kids, there are many ways you can keep them active throughout the day. Allow them to get down on the floor to move and explore — that will help your baby get stronger and learn about its surroundings.
• Don’t keep your child in strollers, swings, exercise saucers, or bouncer seats for too long.
• Kids younger than 18 months of age shouldn’t have prolonged access to screen devices like phones, laptops, or tablets. So, you should either limit their screen time or cut it entirely.
• Always make sure that your baby gets the recommended amount of sleep each night — about 12 to 16 hours per day, including naps.