Find out what you can do as a parent to help your child’s development.
1. Simple, regular routines
These will help you and your child feel more secure. Routines will help structure your day from start to finish. You will need to plan ahead for the next day and week but keep it simple and doable – getting up time, meals, bath time, exercise, and going to bed.
2. Talk about what you’re going to do
Talk about and explain to your child what you are going to do throughout the day. Help them take turns in conversation. Tune into what they already know and build on their daily routine. Be a running “commentator” and keep your language simple. Draw pictures, show pictures or use objects to show what you are going to do if your child needs more help to understand. If you have them, use photos of friends and/or family to talk about people that are important to you in different households.
3. Enjoy your time together
Have fun, we learn best when we are enjoying what we do. If you or your child are not enjoying something, stop and change your plan. Try to make sure you do something fun for you and your child every day, more than once if you can.
4. Selectively use devices
Use the TV and/or other devices, but choose when you are going to watch and what you are going to do. CBeebies and S4C's Cyw have some fun programmes. Use your phone/other devices to record what you have done – kicked a ball, learnt a new song or a new word. Turn off the TV when you are not watching it so there is not a constant stream of information.
5. Use what you have at and near your home
You don’t need to buy extra things. Walk in your garden or near home, point to flowers, birds and trees, buildings and everyday objects and name them. Play walking, running and finding games. Do a treasure hunt for everyday objects in your home/garden. Teach your child a new song or nursery rhyme. Play catch, or rolling a ball backwards and forwards. Use mirrors in the bathroom to encourage copying and taking turns – making silly faces. Children like to repeat familiar activities. You are your child’s first and lasting teacher – you can help them learn and grow so much. They can also teach you - look at how they learn best.
6. Let your child join in and help as much as they can with household tasks
Cleaning, cooking, fixing. If they can’t help, they can watch you and you can tell them what you are doing. If you have older children, they may be able to help by talking with and/or entertaining younger siblings.
7. Create a safe, quiet place for your child to be quiet
A cocoon. Create the same for yourself. Put your phone in the drawer and check at set intervals only (not too often). Acknowledge your worries, ask for help/advice if you need it and let your child ask for help. Practise relaxing and deep breathing.
8. Let your child talk and ask about COVID 19 and other things that may be worrying them
Covid 19 is still around us and if your child wants to talk about it please tell them the facts very simply. They may also be worried about the war in Ukraine or having enough money. Let them tell you about their worries however small or big.
9. Keep in touch with your family and friends
This could be on a daily basis or a few times a week either face-to-face, or by FaceTime/Skype/WhatsApp if they live away. Start by saying “Hello” and finish by saying “Goodbye”. Tell or show your family one thing your child has done well or learned. Decide what you will share/do, sing a song or do a dance. If you need a longer chat for yourself ring later when your child is asleep, if you are not too tired!
10. Celebrate achievements
At the end of each day, think of one particularly positive thing that you and your child have achieved and enjoyed that day. Tell them, talk about it and record it in some way and celebrate it.
For more information and advice on parenting, visit:
Keep in touch with your Health Visitor. They are here to help you and your family.
Anne Marie McKigney, Consultant Child Psychologist, Aneurin Bevan
University Health Board,
Dr Heather Payne, Consultant Paediatrician, Senior Medical Officer for
Maternal & Child Health, Welsh Government.
April 2020 Revised June 2022