Having a child and the process of childbirth itself are considered a blessing and a gift for many. However, at some point, child-rearing can be frustrating, tiring, and jarring – especially for first-time parents. There are hundreds of questions new moms and dads have in mind. In this article, we will tackle some of the most common questions and try to answer them one-by-one.
The common parenting queries and answers in this are divided into five parts:
- Part 1: Newborn to infancy
- Part 2: Toddler stage
- Part 3: Preschool
- Part 4: Grade school
- Part 5: Teenage
The queries and tips are organized based on the stages of child development by age.
The first part will discuss the usual questions about taking care of newborn babies or infants. These questions touch on topics about how to understand a baby’s first actions. It will also give tips on how to establish strong bonds with babies at a very early age.
The next part is about questions when the child reaches the toddler stage. The answers to these questions are focused on the child’s development and how to support or deal with those.
After that, the article will proceed to the parts of the child’s preschool and grade school age. This part is important since education plays a vital role in the child’s growth and development. Included in these two portions are queries about guiding your child with his/her early education.
Finally, the last part will include a couple of questions asked when the child reaches adolescence. In this phase, you can get advice and information about dealing with the drastic changes in your teen child’s behaviors.
Part 1: Newborn to infancy – 0 to 12 months old
Why is my baby crying?
Crying is a normal response and the way babies express their emotions. Most of the time, there is nothing wrong when they are crying. Still, crying can indicate that the baby is either hungry, in need of a diaper change, seeking touch or affection, feeling cold or hot, or not feeling well. Other possible reasons why they cry might be because of the noisy environment. Usually, babies also cry when a baby does not feel comfortable.
Luckily, there are ways to soothe your baby – especially when they cry at night. Listed are simple, fail-safe methods that even first-time parents can do.
- Swaddle your baby with a soft receiving blanket to make him or her feel warm and comforted.
- Play calming music throughout the night.
- Do not overfeed your baby at night time.
- Encourage thumb sucking to calm his nerves.
- Soothe with a rhythmic sound like “Shhhh..shhhh..shhh.”
- Sing a soft lullaby to make the baby hear your voice.
- Request your partner to take part or take turns in soothing your baby.
- Control your temper while dealing with a baby.
Steps on how to swaddle a baby. Source: https://www.pampers.com/en-us/newborn-baby/sleep/article/how-to-swaddle-a-baby
What kind of development should I prepare for during this age?
According to Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget, the baby’s cognitive development for his or her first two years is known as the sensorimotor stage of development. It is the first of four stages of cognitive development. It is divided into six sub-stages. Each sub-stage that specializes in a special aspect of the sensorimotor stage.
Of the six sub-stages, four occur during the first 12 months of the baby. These are:
First Sub-stage: Reflexes
This occurs in the first month of the baby when he or she starts to connect with the environment through inborn reflexes. The baby’s first movements are looking and sucking.
Second Substage: Primary Circular Reactions
In months 1 to 4, children start to make coordinating sensations and new schema. Actions like thumbsucking, a wiggling of fingers, and kicking of legs are done not for reflex but because it gives pleasure.
Third Substage: Secondary Circular Reactions
Children are more focused on their surroundings when they are 4 to 8 months old. They would start to do actions to have a response. The most common action in this stage is grasping objects.
Fourth Substage: Coordination of Secondary Circular Reactions
When the child is 8-12 months old, he or she is in the Coordination of Secondary Circular Reactions. In this phase, children have a desire to explore their environment and imitate the behavior of other people. Hand-eye coordination is improving at this stage. Piaget called this substage the ‘first proper intelligence’ stage.
Also read: Baby Development by Month
How can I interact with my newborn/infant?
Around this age, the infant’s vision, movement, and communication skills are still limited. Yet, there are many ways to connect and establish a strong mother and child connection. Among these things are:
- Maintaining close distance with your baby. This will help them see, hear, feel, and touch you.
- Bond with your child through tummy time.
- Smile and laugh with the baby.
- Talk with them with a gentle and calm voice. Copy their gestures.
- Play games with your baby.
- Sing or listen to music together
How can I encourage healthy child development?
One way to ensure healthy development in children is by knowing the changes in the cognitive, socio-emotional, speech and language, fine motor, and gross motor areas of development. This way, you can easily plan how you can enhance your child’s development.
Part of identifying these changes is acknowledging factors which can improve or hinder your child’s development. Such factors include:
- Children’s health and nutrition affect every developmental milestone.
- Family and community can influence a child’s cognitive, emotional, and social skills.
- The family’s financial situation can also enhance or negatively affect their development.
Some suggestions for promoting healthy development are:
- Having prenatal care
- Playing with them
- Building a strong parent and child relationship
- Providing a positive and healthy neighborhood and environment
- Introducing a healthy lifestyle
How can I help my baby talk?
During infancy or when the baby starts to reach 12 months old, they will start babbling. They may also begin saying their first words around this age. However, it can still be hard for them to smoothly communicate.
Still, you can start encouraging your baby to talk by following these nine easy tricks:
- Playing Peek-a-boo.
- Listen, Wait, and Respond.
- Sing a song!
- Pointing at objects and pictures.
- Read books and encourage them to read along.
Part 2: Toddler stage – 1 to 3 years old
How can I teach my child to walk?
Your baby’s first few steps are one of the biggest milestones in their life. This does not only signify your child’s growth, it also gives them a sense of independence. It allows them to make bigger movements and explore their environment better.
As a parent, you might feel the urge to teach your baby to walk. Encouraging and motivating a growing child to walk can be challenging and requires patience.
Keep in mind these following tips as you guide your child to courageously take their first independent steps.
- Grab the child’s attention by using toys.
- Rearrange your furniture and baby-proof sharp corners.
- Hold their hands so they can maintain balance in each step.
- Cheer and praise your child.
- Use music.
- Do light/baby exercises every day to strengthen the child’s muscles.
How can I improve my child’s conversational skills?
Children start to become more talkative when they reach ages 1 to 3 years old. Still, some toddlers may still find it hard to talk coherently. Remember, not all children have the same pace of development. But, all children should receive support and encouragement to improve their speaking skills.
The most important thing to consider when teaching a child to speak better is to encourage them. Be patient and let them say each word as much as they can. If you feel like they might need some help, try to fill in gaps in their sentences. This way, they can get and understand new words and widen their verbal knowledge. Also, be sure to praise their efforts.
Be mindful of their attention span at this age. To be able to practice your child’s speaking skills, make sure that they are having fun. Use some play ideas such as reading out loud, reciting nursery rhymes, and naming animals, objects, or body parts with them. Make use of things which will excite your child to learn.
How to stop my child from crying too much?
First off, try to understand or find out the reasons why your child is crying. Some of the common reasons why toddlers cry are because of:
- Their inability to communicate with words: Even children can feel frustrated when they can’t use words to communicate their thoughts properly.
- Emotions: At this age, children can tend to be more emotional. This can be due to their personality or just the fact that some complex emotions can be difficult to process – especially for a child.
- Physical pain: This is the most obvious reason why a child is crying.
- Sometimes, children use crying as a way to get what they want.
The best way to properly control your child’s crying is by comforting them. Physical affection (such as hugs) and kind words can calm your child. You may also take them out for a walk to relax and have a change of scenery. Even though they struggle with words, try and talk to them. Encourage them to express their emotions through words by helping them.
Also read: About why babies cry at night
Is it important to encourage playtime for toddlers?
Play increases a child’s capability to learn more about his or her environment. It helps sharpen their cognitive ability. It also improves their social and emotional skills. Playing with other children teaches them valuable lessons like camaraderie, sportsmanship, and motivation to do tasks.
To learn more about the importance of play in a child’s development, read: https://edugage.com/why-is-play-important-in-child-development/
How to deal with a hyperactive child?
It is natural for children to be full of energy and playful. When they are active, it doesn’t automatically mean that they are hyperactive. Moreover, it is important to remember that this is a behavior which the child has little control over, and requires help to be managed.
What’s important is that you have patience, unwavering support, and understanding for your child. It also helps to be well-informed as to why hyperactivity happens.
Here are some ways to deal with a hyperactive child:
- Give them a routine to follow.
- Allow them to be active and help them calm down afterward.
- Give positive reinforcements.
To know more about this, you may read our story on how to effectively deal with your hyperactive child: https://edugage.com/how-to-effectively-deal-with-your-hyperactive-child/
Part 3: Preschool – 3 to 5 years old
How can I prepare my child before entering preschool?
Preschool can be one of the most exciting and nerve-wracking milestones for you and your child. Parents normally prepare their child’s school supplies and other necessary materials. Yet it is equally important that they help your child prepare as he/she starts to discover more things and people in the school.
Some children can get overwhelmed when they start school. To prevent this, here are some things you should teach your child before he or she enters preschool.
Ignite their curiosity
Curiosity will help your child crave more knowledge. This will increase their willingness to learn new things. It will also inspire creativity, which can be a helpful skill.
Teach them to be comfortable in being independent
As your child starts school, he or she should be used to being independent. This is because you can’t be with them at all times. Independence is also a very important thing to learn since they can carry this throughout their life.
Encourage your child’s social skills
Your child will meet more people once they enter preschool. That’s why it is crucial to jumpstart their social skills. You can help them how they can interact with other children their age by going on playdates.
Instill emotional readiness
Emotional readiness is vital especially in preschool when they are around other people. Help them how they can process their emotions in a healthy and good manner.
Teach them important, basic information
Educate them about basic information like their full name and their parents’ names. Teach them too about contact information, and your address. Make it interesting by using toys like a toy phone.
What benefits can early education give to my child?
Studies found brain development among children begins to be very active at ages 0 to 5 years old. This makes early education (including preschool) a good experience to aid cognitive development. It will also inspire them as they step up to a higher level of education. The experience will teach them to be very curious and interested in studying.
Aside from benefits on the child’s cognitive development, early education can also influence holistic growth – which includes the emotional, social, mental, and physical aspects of personality.
How can I encourage my child to study?
A lot of patience and trust is needed to encourage a child to study. As a parent or guardian, proper and strong communication with the child is also very important.
Here are some tips that can help both you and your kid to enjoy learning:
- Choose an organized study area
- Create a study plan with your kid
- Discover your kid’s learning style
- Use their strengths and interests
- Motivate the child to be transparent about their opinions and feelings
- Have study breaks
- Set small goals
- Teach them to learn from mistakes
- Celebrate achievements
- Share your eagerness to learn
- Make reading a habit
- Exercise or do physical activities
Read this article that goes into more details: How to encourage my kid to study?
How can I answer my child’s curious questions?
Children around this age start to become curious and ask many questions. According to an article published by Independent UK in 2017, children ask about 73 questions per day. This can be challenging – especially for first-time parents.
Listed below are useful tips when trying to answer a child’s curious questions.
- Sit and spend time to answer the question
- Avoid saying “no” or “because I said so”
- Ask the child to answer the question/s
- Admit it when you don’t know the answer
- Find answers together
- Talk about related topics or subjects
- Manage your emotions
- Do your research
Part 4: Grade school – 5 to 12 years old
How can I help my child deal with stress?
As your child steps up to a higher grade level, he or she will also enter a new environment and meet new people. There will also be an increase in the academic workload. These factors, including a competitive environment, will stress out and overwhelm your child. Aside from that, children this age are still prone to separation anxiety from parents.
To ease stress healthily, there are a few simple things parents can do. First, and most important, is to acknowledge the child’s troubles. Don’t ignore obvious or subtle hints of emotional, mental, and physical stress. Instead, show them that you care and understand their situation. Talk with them and impart some personal experiences and learnings.
Ensure that your child eats well and gets the nutrition their body needs. Also, make sure that they are getting enough rest, especially if they have a busy school schedule. Eight to 10 hours of sleep can prevent the child from feeling cranky and will increase their energy.
See them off every day or as much as you can. Hug, kiss, or say endearing and encouraging words before they leave home. Always ask them how they are doing in school. Encourage them to open up and share both victories and problems they are facing.
What are healthy habits and how can I teach my child to have them?
Children carry habits they learn at home as they explore new places and mingle with new people. Although healthy habits are taught in schools, it always starts at home. Children imitate what they see from parents and older family members. This is why it is a parent’s responsibility to ensure that the child absorbs good habits.
Some healthy and good habits you should implore to a child are:
- Maintaining a healthy lifestyle that is free from vices.
- Being polite to everyone, especially to the elderly.
- Working hard and smart.
- Spending quality time with family and friends.
- To save and be smart with money.
- Having patience and persistence.
- Making reading a habit.
- Being grateful.
Read: Good Habits for Kids
How can I help my child choose a sport?
Your child’s physical growth and development are progressing at this age. Thus, it is best to encourage your child to pick a sport he or she might like.
The most important thing to consider when guiding your child on finding a sport is to consult them. A sport will only fit your child if they are interested or if they like it.
For the most part, you and your child can find a sport together. But, you can also ask a pediatrician to make sure the child is healthy for a sport. You may also try reaching out to sports associations and organizations. Asking other children and parents can also give you options on which sport your child can try.
For more tips on this, you can read: https://edugage.com/how-to-choose-a-sport-for-your-child-steps-principles/
Part 5: Teenage years – 12 to 18 years old
Why is my child suddenly getting “rebellious” and stubborn?
Do you find yourself arguing more with your teen son or daughter? Has he or she been slamming doors, yelling, and disobedient lately? Turns out, these are a normal part of adolescence.
Hormones during ages 12 to 18 years old play a role in shifting the emotions, mood, physical appearance, and even desires of teens. Factors including stress from the academic workload, being a victim of bullying or unhealthy peer pressure, and low self-esteem can also contribute to your teen’s “rebellious” phase.
Some reasons why this happen are:
- Your teen might be struggling with his or her own identity. Parents need to help their child discover their identity. How do they identify themselves in the world? What is their lives’ purpose?
- They are looking for acceptance and attention. It might be from family members or the teen’s peers at school or community.
- They want to be in control. Teens are starting to realize their urge to be in control of their lives. From what they want to eat to harder life decisions, teens might want to feel independent and do it themselves. That’s why sometimes arguments start whenever parents dictate and insist on what they want for their adolescent son or daughter.
How can I help my teenage child to communicate and open up?
There are ways to urge teens to be more open about their thoughts and feelings. This can help them to manage their emotions properly.
- Find the right timing and don’t rush it. Pushing your adolescent child to talk with you and open up can just put more stress on them. Instead, ask them when is the most convenient time to have a serious, honest, and intimate talk.
- Make sure to be calm and open-minded while listening to what they have to say. Avoid being defensive when called out and own up to your mistakes and apologize. This will make them feel respected and heard.
- Emphasize to them that they are seen and their emotions are valid. Show them that you really care about them. Impart some empowering and assuring words like “we are here for you” or “we support you” which can ease their worries about opening up.
There are a hundred more questions asked and are about to be asked by first-time parents on child-rearing. The ones mentioned above are the most common questions which we tried to answer. From taking care of a newborn child to guiding them until their teenage years, there are lots of inquiries on how to do things right as a parent.
One thing is for sure, it is alright to be clueless at times and to ask questions. If you look for the right things at the right places, you might be able to find answers to your parenting queries. More importantly, it takes a lot of time, experience, and effort to be an expert when it comes to parenting. While it can be jarring at times, don’t forget to enjoy the moment you have with your child as he or she grows up.
Who or where else can I consult if I have other questions about parenting? There are many websites, such as Edugage, which can give you information and suggestions about child development and parenting. Online forums are also common among mothers or parents. If you prefer to read books, check our recommendations for the best child development books.
Another helpful method is by talking with a pediatrician or fellow parents. A pediatrician can give you expert medical advice when it comes to your child’s health and growth. You can also pick up insightful pointers and opinions from other parents.