How to Nurture Your Child’s Growth and Development at Every Stage
In last month’s blog, we dove into Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development and discussed how to help your child at each stage. This month, we’re focusing on your child’s development in the early years, from birth to age five.
A simple way to view the stages of child development is through these five categories: Newborn, Infant, Toddler, Preschool-Age, and School-Age. Here at Kiddi Kollege, we set up our classrooms based on the age and development of our students, with these groupings as a guideline.
Read on to learn the best tips and tricks for engaging with your child at each stage in their early development.
1. Newborn Stage (0-3 Months)
Ah, the newborn stage. Those sweet snuggles are super special, and often the only thing keeping you going while in the thick of sleepless nights and endless diaper changes. Love it or hate it, it’s the first step in childhood development.
During the first two months of life, newborns react automatically to external stimuli. Newborns can move their heads from side to side, see close-up objects, turn towards sounds and cry to indicate a need. By the third month of life, newborns start to smile at people. (Source: MedicineNet).
How to Nurture Your Newborn
Check out the links below for tips thriving in the newborn stage:
- Baby Gooroo – 10 Tips for Surviving the Newborn Stage
- Parents – What New Parents Need to Know About Taking Care of a Newborn
- KidsHealth – Learning, Play, and Your Newborn
- Raising Children – Reading With Babies From Birth
At Kiddi Kollege, your precious bundle of joy can enroll in infant classes at just six weeks of age! They’ll receive personal, loving attention and care in an enriching environment each and every day.
Our class groupings are based on age as well as growth and development. We keep our newborns and younger infants separated from the more mobile toddling tots to keep everyone safe and living their best life!
2. Infant Stage (3-12 Months)
Once your baby hits the three-month marker, they officially transition from the newborn stage into the infant stage.
A lot happens in the first year! Between the seemingly endless growth spurts and sleep regressions, your child learns how to master head control, laugh, sit up on their own, babble, crawl, cruise, and eventually walk!
It’s hard not to compare milestones with friends and family, but keep in mind that babies develop on their own schedule. Try not to fret if you feel your little tyke is behind in some way – most likely they’re not.
For example, a study by the Swiss National Science Foundation in 2013 suggested that kiddos who started walking early (under 12 months) were neither more intelligent nor more coordinated by their late teen years than children who walked later (latest was 20 months).
Be sure to check with your doctor about any concerns you may have, and get as informed as you can without overwhelming yourself!
How to Nurture Your Infant
Here are some great resources to enhance your infant’s growth and development:
- What to Expect – Baby’s First Year
- CDC – Positive Parenting Tips for Healthy Child Development for Infants 0-1
- Healthline – Month-by-Month Milestones in the First Year
- Start Early – 12 Tips to Boost Early Literacy
Ready to amp up your baby’s social life? Check out our infant care programs!
3. Toddler Stage (1-3 Years)
Toddler: an adorable little tyrant who will steal your heart and try your patience, often at the same time. (Click here for more funny alternate definitions of our favorite tiny humans).
At the stroke of midnight on your infant’s first birthday, your child becomes a toddler. Whether they’ve been toddling on two feet for a few months, or have some crawling and cruising yet to do, rest assured, other toddler-esque personality traits are bound to surface sooner than later!
How to Nurture Your Toddler
Here at Kiddi Kollege, our early childhood education centers have two main classroom distinctions for toddlers: Toddler Classrooms and Two’s Classrooms. Students are placed in classes based on age, ability, and availability. We have many locations throughout Johnson County; schedule a tour today!
Learn more about your toddler’s growth and development via the resources below:
- CDC – Milestones for Toddlers 1-2 Years & Toddlers 2-3 Years
- Reading Rockets – Reading Tips for Parents of Toddlers
- Kiddi Kollege – Healthy Foods for Growing Children
- KidsHealth – Why Do Kids Have Tantrums?
- HappiestBaby – When to Worry About Your Toddler’s Tantrums
- Kiddi Kollege – 3 Steps to Teach Your Child to Share
4. Preschool-Age (3-4 Years)
Preschoolers love to ask questions – and we’re here for it!
In a 2017 study led by child psychologist Dr. Sam Wass, it was discovered that kids ask approximately 73 questions each day!
While these unending questions may tire and even frustrate you at times, it’s important to keep in mind that your child’s questions come from deep-rooted curiosity about the world around them. This inquisitiveness should be nurtured and celebrated!
How to Nurture Your Preschooler
Here at Kiddi Kollege, our preschool classes are designed for children ages three to four years old. Per Kansas guidelines, a child must be three years old by August 31st of the year they enroll.
We know children learn best through hands-on experiences and exploring, which is why a typical day in our classrooms includes rich opportunities for pretend play, music, art, science, reading, and math activities!
Learn more about how to support your preschooler’s growth and development via the resources below:
- HealthyChildren – Developmental Milestones: 3 to 4-Year-Olds
- Kiddi Kollege – 8 Things to Look for in a Preschool in Kansas City
- Child Mind Institute – Preschoolers: Tips for Supporting Learning at Home
- Kiddi Kollege – How to Enroll My Child in Preschool
- Daily Mom – 5 Effective Reading Strategies for Preschoolers
Preschool is the perfect opportunity for children to interact with their peers. While enriching their skills physically, emotionally, academically, and socially, they gain independence while transitioning from a little kid to a big kid!
How do you know you’re choosing the right preschool for your family? Download our free checklist to help guide your search! (Scroll down on our home page to find it).
5. School-Age (4-5 Years)
By age four, your child might be getting excited – or nervous – about kindergarten. While formal schooling isn’t mandatory before kindergarten, it’s certainly a helpful building block in your child’s educational career.
By the time your kiddo is eligible for kindergarten, 90% of their brain has already developed. Ninety percent!
Studies show that when kids take part in early childhood education programs, they are:
- Less likely to repeat a grade level
- More likely to graduate high school
- Higher earners in the workforce
Many parents wonder about the difference between preschool and pre-Kindergarten classes. While they are both considered “schooling before kindergarten”, their curriculum is vastly different. Learn more on our blog: Preschool vs. Pre-Kindergarten.
How to Nurture Your School-Age Kiddo
Here at Kiddi Kollege, our Pre-K graduation ceremony is the keystone to our educational program and is a heartwarming way to showcase our children’s abilities! For over 65 years, we’ve partnered with families to create a truly one-of-a-kind early childhood education experience. Our Kindergarten Readiness results can attest to this, and our parental testimonials do, too.
Check out these growth and development resources to help your school-age child:
- Kiddi Kollege – How to Prep Your Child for Kindergarten
- HealthyChildren – Developmental Milestones: 4 to 5-Year-Olds
- Brightly – At-Home Reading Activities for 5-Year-Olds
- Kiddi Kollege – What to Expect on Your First Day
- Scholastic – Is Your Child Ready for Kindergarten? Prepare Them With These 20 Skills
Schedule a Tour at Kiddi Kollege!
Above all, don’t forget that learning should be FUN! Educational opportunities and teachable moments are abundant, you just have to look for them! Check out our blog for ideas: Family Guide to Activities Around Kansas City All Year.
We’d be thrilled to have your family join us at Kiddi Kollege; schedule a tour today!