Parents: Children learn through playing!!!!
Know your child's developmental milestones. There are 5 areas to focus on Social-Emotional, Language/Communication (receptive and expressive), Cognitive (learning, thinking, & problem solving), Physical development (fine and gross motor skills), and Adaptive. And I am going to include 2 more areas Vision and Hearing.
So let's discuss briefly each area:
Social-Emotional- A child's ability to interact with caregivers, parents, and other peers, as well as being able to express themselves and regulate their emotions. Some good examples is by the age of 6 months old responds to other people's emotions and often seems happy, or by a 1 year old is shy or nervous with strangers, repeats sounds and actions to get attention, or by 18 months old shows affection to familiar people and may have temper tantrums.
Language/Communication (receptive and expressive) - Receptive Language is a child's ability to understand what is asked or told to them. Expressive Language is a child's ability to put thoughts into words or putting 2-4 words together to make sentences. To name objects or pictures. Some examples is by 9 months old should understand "no" and able to make a lot of different sounds. By 18 months old a child should be able to say several single words or point to show someone what he/she wants. By 2 years old, should be able to follow simple instructions, or repeat words overheard, and begin saying sentences with 2 to 4 words.
Cognitive (learning, thinking, & problem solving)- A child's ability to remember, problem solve, make decisions in trial and error activities, matching, recognizes familiar people, plays simple make-believe games, and knows what ordinary things are for; for example, hairbrush, fork and spoon, or telephone.
Physical development (fine and gross motor skills)- Fine motor skills-A child's ability to coordinate small muscles such as finger, thumb, hand, and wrist movements to pick up, grasp, reach, transfer an object from one hand to the other. Gross motor skills- A child's ability to move large muscles such as in the arms and legs; to be able to move from place to place, such as crawling, walking, running, and swimming.
Adaptive/Self-help Skills- A child's ability to feed self, be able to dress and undress, or go to the toilet. For babies being able to indicate hungry, dirty diaper, or discomfort by different cries.
Vision- As a baby grows, they should be increasing eye contact with parents and others, smiling when smiled at, following objects from side to side, and to recognize a familiar people from a distance.
Hearing- Before your baby is released from the hospital to go home, a hearing screening is assessed. By 2 months old, turns head toward sounds, by 6 month responds to sounds by making sounds, by 1 year old tries to say words you say, and by 2 years old able to follow simple instructions.
CDC has a wonderful website to print off and track your
child's developmental milestones.