How parents can support healthy development
What can you do?
- Respond to your baby. This is especially important when your baby is sick, hungry, upset, or just needs some comfort. But babies also reach out for you in countless positive ways—by babbling, making sounds, or smiling. When you respond in a loving and consistent way, you help your baby’s brain develop.
- Provide a safe and loving home for your baby. Develop daily routines that your baby can count on. Keep your home calm.
- Help your baby explore his surroundings, both inside and out. Play helps babies learn, and you are your child’s first playmate. Playing simple games will help him learn about the people and the world around him. And remember to talk to your baby as you go through your daily routines. Tell your baby what is going on, point out interesting things that you see together, and help him develop his other senses—hearing, touch, taste, and smell.
- Get regular health care for your baby. Your baby should be seen by a healthcare provider on a regular basis. Keep vaccines up-to-date and talk to your provider about development and what to expect next.
- Develop community connections. Get to know the services and programs available in your neighborhood. Many communities have agencies or centres that serve young families. Playgroups and drop-ins are great places to meet other parents, and many have visiting professionals who can answer questions. If you’re not sure where to go, try contacting your local community centre, public library, public health unit, or family resource program.
- Choose quality child care. When you need to be away from you baby, make sure you leave your baby with a caregiver who will care for your baby like you do. Choose someone you trust, who will respond to your baby’s emotional needs, and provide a safe and healthy environment with opportunities to learn and grow.
- Reach out if you need help. If you feel stressed, overwhelmed, depressed or need some support caring for your baby, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Talk to your health care provider, your family or contact a local community agency.