This is a basic developmental chart that outlines broad guidelines as to what the average child is achieving at that particular age and stage. These are not supposed to be prescriptive and children may develop faster or slower in all or some of the areas. This is perfectly normal but if you are particularly worried then contact your doctor or paediatrician and share your concerns. I have simply included this in order to give you some guidelines.
I remember attending a conference last year, when another psychologist said, “We are meant to love our children unconditionally, but this is hard to do when you have to battle through homework with them!” As much as this is amusing, unfortunately there is an element of truth to this; it is amazing how many parents I speak to who ask for help to get their kids through their homework in the afternoons with as little hassle and fighting as possible. So, I’ve decided to share with you some pearls of wisdom gathered over the years from various sources, in order to help the homework process become as painless as possible for you and your children.
Children’s needs are relatively simple; they need to be given food, warmth, shelter, stimulation and unconditional love. The word “stimulation” seems to be a catch phrase recently and many magazines and books put forth the benefits of stimulating your child and then rapidly backtracked when experts pointed out that it is possible to over-stimulate your child. They were right. You can over-stimulate your children but don’t let this be something that puts you off doing things with them. Children need you to play an active role in their lives. That’s one of the key words of this book – play. The idea behind this book is to give you ideas of what you can do with your children in order to ensure that you enhance your children’s developmental progress, stimulate your children appropriately and, above all, enjoy and have fun with your children.
Unfortunately we are living in a time where many people are leaving their countries to settle in other parts of the world. The thing is, certain events in a person’s life are considered to be stressful and, the more stressed a person is, the more susceptible they are to illnesses, amongst other things. Events that are likely to cause difficulties for people have been ranked and given a stress number according to how much of an impact they will have on your life, with 100 (death of a spouse) being the most stressful. Consider the following, which almost always feature when emigrating:
Remember, your worst day as a teacher or parent with a child with learning disabilities is still better than the average day a child with learning disabilities will have in school.
Any assistance you give to your child at home needs to be done in a creative and fun way. This means you need to mix work with play and keep your sense of humour about you. Use games, puzzles, songs, rhymes or even physical activity in order to help your child develop certain concepts. For example, maths does not have to be taught sitting at a table with paper and pencil, it can be done in the kitchen using scales or measuring spoons, etc.
I have always been interested in trying to find as many ways as possible to keep children amused when out and about with them. This started when, as a family with small children, we used to drive from South Africa to Zambia, which takes two full days. However, I quickly realised that these games came in useful when on an aeroplane, in the shopping centre, waiting in a queue, sitting in a doctor’s waiting room, watching another child’s extramural activity or even at those family gatherings when it is mostly the older generation there. I am not, and never have been, a big fan of occupying my children with technology (see the chapter on technology and television) and therefore it was necessary to be creative and resourceful to keep the children amused.