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Growth and Development

As your baby grows, they will reach certain developmental milestones. You can monitor and promote your child's growth and development through healthy feeding, regular medical visits and active play.

Physical activity is important for young children. Along with a number of health benefits, such as reducing anxiety levels, physical activity helps improve:

  • Fine and gross motor skills
  • Self confidence
  • Sleep

Introducing physical activity early in your child's development is an important step in promoting an active lifestyle for years to come. Check out the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for the Early Years to learn more about the benefits of physical activity on child development.

Tummy time helps your baby gain strength and can prevent the development of flattened head syndrome. Some additional benefits of tummy time include:

  • Helping your baby develop head control
  • Strengthening the upper body (back, neck, shoulders, arms and hands)
  • Developing gross motor skills like crawling, sitting and rolling
  • Developing fine motor skills and play skills
  • Promoting sensory development by the changing the environment

Check out AboutKidsHealth for more information about the benefits of tummy time.
Check out AboutKidsHealth for more information about flattened head syndrome.

Children often find it hard to express their feelings. To help them, you can:

  • Let your child describe their feelings in their own words
  • Listen to their words and do not judge
  • Provide children with helpful words their feelings
  • Talk to your children about the different feelings they have
  • Use favourite characters in storybooks to discuss feelings.
  • Relate the character's feelings to your child's feelings
  • Speak aloud about your own feelings
  • Create a safe space for your child to express both negative and positive feelings
  • Be patient

Sleep is very important to your child's health and well-being. Learn more about how much sleep your child needs at Caring for Kids: Healthy sleep for your baby and child.

Healthcare providers are in a unique position to support parents in the optimal growth and development of their children through early assessment and interventions.

The parent/caregiver and child relationship, in the first three years, plays a crucial role in the child’s development which can influence the rest of their life. Early intervention in response to developmental concerns has a positive effect on children’s development and behavioural outcomes.

The following tools can be used by healthcare providers at any point of the child's development to track and support the developmental progress of children:

  • ASQ-3 is a fee-based developmental screening tool designed for use by health care professionals and is designed to catch delays and celebrate milestones.
  • Early Years Check-In is a free, simple tool that can be used concurrently with parents to assess the developmental progress of children 18 months to 6 years.
  • Looksee Checklist is developmental checklist that can help assess a child's progress. It is available for a fee and takes into account the key skills most children should master at a specific age.
  • smallTALK is the Preschool Speech Language Program serving families in Huron and Perth counties that specializes in early intervention and speech developmental milestones.

Huron Perth Public Health (HPPH) encourages healthcare providers to use the World Health Organization (WHO) growth charts for Canada to monitor growth patterns of infants, children, and adolescents. WHO charts support consistent practices in growth monitoring and assess patterns of linear growth and weight gain to support healthy child growth and development.

Changes in growth patterns warrant further assessment to determine if support or intervention would be beneficial.

Also, parents need support to understand normal growth and development. Over emphasis on weight and weight changes can result in harmful force feeding and weight-control practices.

Please contact Huron Perth Public Health if you would like more information or training in this area.

Contact Us

Huron Perth Public Health

Huron Office
77722B London Road, RR #5, Clinton, ON
N0M 1L0

Perth Office
653 West Gore St., Stratford ON N5A 1L4
Toll-free 1-888-221-2133

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