How to encourage your child's developmental milestones

Here are some of the top activities that you can do with your child to aid in the development of his cognitive, motor, emotional and communications skills.

Now that your little one is over six months old, he is showing signs of rapid development that you might even notice changes in him day to day. In fact, his brain continues to grow rapidly– reaching about 80% of an adult’s brain size by 3 years old. This important phase also reflects your child’s 360° Development in Cognitive, Motor, Emotional and Communications skills.

This is why it is important for parents to make sure that all playtime activities are geared towards helping them achieve these developmental milestones:

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Cognitive

Milestone: Finding hidden objects

Encourage milestone development: Play games such as peek-a-boo. Hide your face from your child’s view using your hands or a blanket.

Why: Hiding games help your child understand the concept of object permanence (objects continue to exist even when they cannot be observed).

Next: Take turns hiding - cover your head with a blanket and let your child pull it off to reveal you. Next, put it loosely over their head and pull it off. They’ll catch on that the game works both ways.

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Physical

Milestone: Reaching out for and grasping objects

Encourage milestone development: Offer toys that have buttons to push, knobs to turn, and levers to pull.

Why: These gadgets allow your child to practice grasping and letting go, trying to use a pincer grasp, and handling objects.

Next: Introduce blocks. At first your child will be more interested in knocking them down, but by 9 -12 months, he may be able to stack them into a tower.

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Language

Milestone: Imitating words

Encourage milestone development: Repeat words you think your child is trying to say.

Why: Your child has sensed that things have names and begins to link the sound with a word.

Next: He’ll use a particular sound (“ba ba”) every time he sees a given object (a ball). Help reinforce his use of language by repeating the correct pronunciation: “Yes, ball. That’s a green ball!”

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Social

Milestone: Distinguishing between family and strangers

Encourage milestone development: Don’t force your child to interact with people he’s unfamiliar with.

Why: Stranger anxiety is a normal phase in emotional development. Your child is beginning to differentiate between strange and familiar faces.

Next: Have unfamiliar people, such as a new babysitter, slowly interact with your child. Suggest that they offer him a toy while he sits on your lap. He may warm up to their presence and even initiate a smile.

What role does nutrition play?

As your child learns, he is taking in information and creating pathways to storage areas. This requires energy, which can only come from the nutrition he receives. Getting the right nutrients such as DHA, ARA, Choline, Iron & Zinc are essential as it lays the groundwork for his well-rounded development.

Find out about the important nutrients found in Enfamil A+ Stage 2 on the next page.

Every time your child thinks, billions of neurons will connect rapidly for a new learning experience.

That’s why Mead Johnson designed Enfamil A+ Stage 2 with scientifically formulated levels of 17mg DHA and 34mg ARA per 100kcal. It has DHA levels that help meet recommendations* for infants aged 6-12 months. DHA & ARA are important building blocks for brain & eye development.

The new Enfamil A+ Stage 2 is also formulated with a unique blend of GOS and Polydextrose (PDX). Prebiotics (GOS) stimulates the growth of beneficial intestinal flora to maintain a healthy digestive system.

To find out more about the new Enfamil A+ Stage 2, click here.

The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life. Unnecessary introduction of bottle feeding or other food and drinks will have a negative impact on breastfeeding. After six months of age, infants should receive age-appropriate foods while breastfeeding continues for up to two years of age or beyond. Consult your doctor before deciding to use infant formula or if you have difficulty breastfeeding.

*FAO/WHO recommends daily DHA intake of 10-12mg/kg body weight for infants 6-12 months.  FAO 2010. Fats and fatty acids in human nutrition.  Report of an expert consultation.  FAO Food and Nutrition Paper no. 91.

FAO: Rome.

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