Supporting Your Child’s Development
As a parent/caregiver, you know your child best and can observe and identify possible developmental concerns. The earlier concerns are identified the more you can do to help your child develop well.
If you have a child zero to six years of age, we can provide:
- Screening and monitoring for healthy child development
- Telephone support
- Referrals to appropriate services
18-Month Well Baby Visit
It is important for your child to be seen by their health care provider at 18 months of age. This comprehensive visit is an opportunity to ask questions about your child’s development. Complete a free, online 18-Month Visit Planner tool to make a personalized plan to help discuss your child’s developmental health with your health care provider.
Developmental Screening Tools
- Speech & Language, Hearing and Vision screening tools:
Free nutrition checklist for children 18 to 35 months and three to five years of age. Available in different languages.
- Looksee Checklist by ndds
Free checklists with different areas of your child’s development from one month to six years old including activities you can do with your child. Sign up for free checklists.
Support Your Child’s Development
As a parent/caregiver, there are many things that you can do to support your child’s development.
Play with Your Child
Let your child lead play time. Playtime can be fun for both you and your child and is very important for your child’s development.
You are your child’s favourite toy! Playing with your child can be simple and you don’t need expensive or fancy toys.
- Build a strong relationship with your child
- Teach your child about themselves, others and the world around them
- Improve your child’s language skills
- Develop your child’s social skills by learning to get along with others
- Improve your child’s self-esteem as they build confidence when they have fun playing with others
- Develop your child’s ability to deal with their feelings
Video: Everyday Play, Health Nexus
Read, Sing and Speak to Your Child
Reading, singing and speaking to your child supports your child’s development by:
- Hearing you use many different emotions and expressive sounds.
- Inviting your child to look, point, touch and answer questions when reading.
- Improving language skills by imitating sounds, recognizing pictures and learning words.
Video: Playing with Language – Reading Books
Encourage Your Child to Be Physically Active
As a parent/caregiver, your child relies on you to provide opportunities to be active. Physical activity will help your child:
- Have fun and feel great
- Learn and do better in school
- Build social skills and confidence
- Strengthen muscles, heart and bones
- Have a healthy body weight
- Build a lifelong enjoyment to be active
Get involved in activities that are age appropriate, fun and safe. Avoid using the television as a babysitter. For free, fun physical activities, visit Have a Ball Together (for zero to six years old) and Rainbow Fun (for zero to six years old). For bike, walk and play activities around Toronto visit ActiveTO.ca
Encourage Healthy Eating
Follow these feeding tips to help give your child the nutrition they need to grow and develop. Getting children to eat healthy foods can be challenging. Healthy eating helps your child grow and develop, learn at school and develop good eating habits.