Three Things Parents of Toddlers and Young Kids Need to Know

We’re offering a fantastic workshop this Thursday, September 14: The First Five Years: Developmental Milestones and Parenting Matters.  In anticipation of it, we spoke with Dr. Dhara Meghani from University of San Francisco’s Parentline, an incredible local resource for parents offering free, confidential counseling (!) for parents of children 0-3 years old, and the source of our expert workshop facilitation.

Our question to Dr. Meghani: What three things do you think are most important for parents and caregivers to know about their babies, toddlers, and young kids, and yet most commonly misunderstood? Here’s what she had to say.

One: it’s normal for a baby to take a while to settle into a compatible sleep pattern. This is definitely a large source of family stress and anxiety. Knowing more about what a baby is capable of can help. And setting expectations realistically may alleviate concern.

Two: cognitive development is not a linear process: backsliding is not just common, it’s necessary. Just prepare for regressions and try to enjoy the ride. Dr. Meghani’s example was  brilliant: you know when you’re cleaning out the fridge? And the first thing you have to do is empty it all out on the kitchen counter? Well, that’s what kids are doing when they’re on the verge of a major developmental leap: in order to create the capacity for that new cognitive capacity, their brains literally prune out unnecessary neuronal pathways.

Three: it is totally normal to be freaked out! Rather than beat yourself up about being stressed, just keep your pediatrician on speed dial, or contact Parentline for support. Support groups for parents and caregivers – like those offered from organizations like Our Family Coalition – can provide critical life lines as well. Knowing others are going through what you’re going through can offer perspective, companionship, and sometimes some helpful new angles on a sticky challenge.

Want more of all this? Lindsey Rogers and Alicia Ranucci, doctoral students in the Clinical Psychology PsyD Program at USF work at Parentline, and will have a whole lot more to say at our workshop The First Five Years: Developmental Milestones and Parenting Matters, held this Thursday, September 14, 6-8pm at our San Francisco office. Advance registration always helpful (we calculate dinner and childcare based on it), but drop-ins welcome.

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