Expert Articles

Baby Information Sharing

Author:  Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui St Thomas’ Child Care Centre

0-12 Months

As the baby grows older, their fine- and gross-motor skills gradually improve. Parents can engage in different training and games based on their child’s age to promote coordination and the development of both small and large muscles.

From birth to 3 months, babies can begin to turn their heads and grasp objects. Parents can hold up colourful toys above their children to attract their attention. Slowly move the toy in different directions, left and right, up and down, and let the baby grasp the toy to train their visual tracking and gripping abilities.

From 3 to 6 months, babies gradually develop stronger neck muscles that can support their heads. They can also support their upper body with their hands, relax their fists, and reach out to grab objects. Parents can place their child in a prone position on a mat with a pillow under their tummy. Then, place a sound-emitting toy above the child and encourage them to lift their head and reach out to grab the toy.

From 6 to 9 months, babies can sit without support and begin to grasp objects. They may also start standing with adult assistance and exploring toys in various ways. Parents can engage in parent-child games and sensory-motor activities to help the baby gradually gain control of their upper limbs. For example, they can practice grasping toys and exploring them by putting them in their mouth. Parents can also allow their child to stand while holding onto sturdy furniture to strengthen their leg muscles and promote gross motor development.

From 9 months to 1 year, babies can walk with adult support and use their thumb and index finger to pick up small objects. Once the baby can sit steadily on their own, parents can use interesting toys to enhance their hand-eye coordination, bilateral coordination, and finger dexterity skills. Additionally, parents can encourage the baby to hold onto sturdy furniture, use a push walker, or learn to walk with adult support, entering a new stage and preparing for future challenges!

13-18 Months

From 13 to 18 months, toddlers enter the stage of babbling and language development, which progresses rapidly. The development of oral muscles is closely related to language development and should not be overlooked, especially between the ages of one and two. Parents can strengthen oral muscle development through simple oral motor games and expanding the child’s feeding experiences.

Parents can train the toddler’s jaw and lip muscles through activities like blowing bubbles, blowing toy cars, and blowing paper boats that float on water. These activities are not only fun but also serve as games that foster parent-child interaction. Additionally, parents can provide straws of different lengths, thicknesses, and curvatures for the child to suck on their favourite beverages. This sucking practice helps improve control of the lower jaw and lip strength.

In terms of diet, it is recommended that parents offer toddlers foods with different textures that require more chewing, such as cucumber slices, leafy vegetable stems, and broccoli. This helps develop their chewing abilities and is beneficial for strengthening cheek muscle strength and control of the lower jaw.

19-24 Months

At around one and a half years old, toddlers will embark on a new endeavor—learning to be toilet trained. According to Freud’s theory of Personality Structure, infants and toddlers go through the oral stage, followed by the anal stage. During this period, children can learn to use the toilet through training, but it is important not to impose strict control, as it can lead to frustration. It is recommended for parents to align toilet time with their child’s daily routine, such as after meals or before bedtime. By closely observing the child’s elimination habits, parents can schedule toilet breaks accordingly. If the child can use the toilet for both urination and bowel movements, they should be praised and encouraged immediately. If the child is not successful after a few minutes, they should be patiently guided. Toilet training is a necessary stage for children, and each child’s physical and psychological development is unique. It requires the presence and encouragement of adults. By providing appropriate support and opportunities for practice, it is believed that children can quickly succeed in transitioning away from diapers.

24-36 Months

As the saying goes, “Reading is beneficial.” Besides acquiring knowledge, reading is an inspiring activity for children aged two to three. Interesting books can help children develop concentration and listening skills.

Let’s talk about the benefits of reading first. Reading promotes language development. Children can learn pronunciation and gain a preliminary understanding of the story while listening to stories. As children’s abilities grow, they begin to master speaking skills and can retell the stories they have heard. This greatly benefits their future reading and writing abilities.

How can we make children enjoy the pleasure of reading and cultivate a reading habit? Firstly, parents must understand that reading is about nurturing children’s interest and allowing them to enjoy reading rather than forcing them to recognize words. Parent-child reading is an essential part of this. Parents are the best reading partners for children. Parents should patiently guide children to observe book covers, speculate about the content together, and express their feelings after reading. For example, parents can ask questions like, “Do you like this book?” or “Which character do you like?” Parents should not only “read” the story but also show that they enjoy and engage in reading. Additionally, it is important to create a calm and relaxed reading environment during the process to help children develop a love for reading.

So, how do we choose suitable books for toddlers in preschool (nursery class)? Picture books with vibrant colours are most likely to capture children’s interest. Therefore, when selecting books, it is recommended to choose ones with rich compositions. Secondly, choose books that are relevant to children’s daily lives, such as transportation, their bodies, animals, etc. This will help them resonate with the content while reading. 

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Baby Information Sharing