Throughout my years working with children I have done extensive studies into the academic theories of child development, namely the those of Piaget (phases of development), Bowlby (attachment theory), Bandura (modelling), and Vygotsky (learning from others). Training as an early years professional, I also spent a lot of time covering the Early Years Foundation Stage (a kind of learning "curriculum" for under fives), and carried out supporting studies into nutrition, special educational needs, and the psychology behind children's behaviour. I have experienced different kinds of school systems (state, private, forest, Waldorf, Montessori), and observed many different parenting styles, and different home environments. I have worked in tandem with speech therapists, occupational therapists, cognitive behavioural therapists and academic tutors. I have been to toddler groups, baby groups, and extra curricular classes of all kinds, and read vast amounts of literature on topics from improving a child's sleep to helping them make friends!
As a result, my own thinking on child development is an amalgamation of all of these things. I am unwilling to subscribe to one particular theory, but instead like to take the best bits of each, and bring them together. It is important to me to encourage parents to think about holistic needs of the whole child, all of which can and should be met in their routine. Thinking "holistically" about child development means thinking not just in terms of academic success or physical development of motor skills - but considering all parts of your child's life as interlinked and of equal importance. This should include their health, diet, daily routine, sleep, environment, social skills, experiences of the world, mental health, and behaviour.
A good routine should be consistent but flexible, and should be regularly updated and renewed to reflect your growing child. Consistency and routine play a big part in a child's behaviour and emotional well-being, especially those exhibiting challenging behaviour. This should be the positive foundation of your child's life. Reviewing this routine regularly and planning for both the present and the future is crucial to give you confidence and peace of mind that you have given your child all they need to fulfil their potential.
Play is large part in any child's life, and should be allowed for in their routine. Children learn through play and the importance of this can often be underestimated. Play enables them to make sense of the world around them, and figure out who they are. Play should allowed for both in a planned sense, and whenever unplanned possibilities for play arise.
If you feel that you are struggling with parenting, feel anxious or overwhelmed, feel that there is something missing, or have specific issues that need addressing, then this is where we will begin. The topics below are all worth taking a step back and creatively re-assessing regularly:
Developing social skills
Education and schooling
Recurring behaviour patterns
The "team around the child"(see below)
The Team Around The Child
Parents of small children often feel overwhelmed by the task of raising a little human being, and being responsible for their development, but fear not, you may be the captain of the team, but there are a host of other professionals and skilled individuals with unique talents and areas of knowledge who are there to share this task with you. Being able to accept the fact that sometimes it is good to let others take the lead in their area of knowledge or particular skill will make life a lot easier! The team around the child includes not only every single member of your family (siblings included!) but your midwife, doctor, dentist, optician, teachers, activity leaders, childcare providers, and any number of nutritionists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, etc!
If you are concerned that you aren't doing enough to support your child's development, get in touch and we will take a fresh look at your child's routine!