As a parent, one of your topmost concerns is that your child’s physical as well as mental health is in the right direction. Your child’s health and development needs to be monitored and reassessed regularly. Development is a continuous process, but changes from time to time depending on new demands.
Learning skills in a child need to be evaluated periodically especially because they are seen only when the child is asked to perform a certain function. Generally, health clinics and schools keep a check on children’s growth, but it is crucial that you too monitor your child’s health regularly.
1. Physical health
- Height and weight – Measure your child’s height and weight at home each month and note it in a logbook. Take this logbook along with you during your child’s health visit at the doctor’s office. Each child is different in a way that while some kids grow fast, others do not grow tall or gain weight as they should. If your child is not growing as fast as his/her peers, do not panic. Some children have a late growth spurt, but make sure that your paediatrician is aware of it during the health visits. If it’s a drastically off the normal limits, early interventions could be put in place.
- Skin changes – Look for any changes in your child’s skin from time to time including changes in the thickness, acne or rashes, pigmentation. Medical conditions are often presented as changes in the skin to begin with.
Sleep cycle – Children generally need approximately 10 to 11 hours of sleep per night. Any changes in sleep patterns, such as too much or too little sleep, should be noted and reported to the paediatrician. In addition, a lack of sleep will make it difficult for your child to function well throughout the day, especially in school. Try to set a bedtime for your child to ensure adequate amount of sleep.
2. Mental health
Parents are recommended to get their child evaluated at 9 months, 18 months and then every 24 months thereafter. Evaluate for any learning or memory disabilities. Paediatricians may also examine them at health visits by asking them a series of questions and seeing how they respond to them.
Fresh fruit and vegetables contain essential vitamins and nutrients for growth that our body cannot produce. Although, many kids are picky eaters, keep a track of any major changes in their eating pattern. Too much or too less food, both, can be unsafe and must be corrected. Importantly, iron, calcium and vitamins A, B, C, D and E are essential for your child’s optimal growth. Offer your child at least three cups of milk and four to five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. On precautionary side, limit food that is high in added sugar.
Physical activity is extremely important for your child’s growth. Usually, a child requires at least an hour of exercise or any physical activity daily. However, keep your child away from too much sun. Furthermore, limit television, video games, smartphones, tablets or computers to no more than 2 hours a day. Make a note, if your child wants to be sedentary all day, this could be a sign of a problem or lead to obesity in the long run.
In conclusion, your participation in your child’s development and growth plays a crucial role and sends a strong message that you will stand next to them for support. Taking your child to a pediatrician for routine health check-ups, getting them immunized and looking out for any changes in habits, such as delayed speech, throwing tantrums at bedtime, crippling shyness with friends and family, difficulty in toilet training and finicky eating habits, will help you recognize and seek early inventions to keep their development in check.