What Should I Do if I Have Concerns About My Child’s Development?

What Should I Do if I Have Concerns About My Child’s Development?

Being a parent is a constant juggling act of emotions, from joy when your child has their firsts to guilt when you leave them for the first time. That whirlwind of emotions continues throughout our children’s lives, even after they have long flown the nest.

Every parent wants their child to thrive and to reach their full potential. But as parents, we are often our own most prominent critic because we want the best for our children, after all. However, you will know your child better than anyone, and often your gut instinct about things relating to them is right.

If you feel worried about your child’s development, having the confidence to raise this with someone is often a barrier that many parents face. But it’s so important to seek the support that you and your child may need.

With that in mind, you may find some of the answers you need if you aren’t sure what to do if you are concerned about your child’s development.

The Red Book

When your baby is born, you’ll receive a Red Book. The Red Book is your child’s health record that you will need throughout your child’s life.

Most parents will know that this is used to record information about your child’s vaccinations, weight and height. What you may not realise, though, is that there is also a considerable amount of information in this book that relates to children’s developmental milestones and maybe your first point of reference if you are concerned.

The 9-12 Month Developmental Review

Following the initial visits that take place in the early stages of your child’s life, the 9-12 month developmental check is usually the next opportunity to review your child’s progress. The 9-12 month review focuses on areas including:

  • Language and Learning
  • Safety
  • Diet
  • Behaviour
  • Mobility: Sitting, standing, and for some children, walking.

This review is usually conducted by a member of your Health Visiting team and allows you to discuss any concerns you have.

An assessment is usually sent to you ahead of the review that you should complete to support the Health Visitor’s understanding of your child’s development.

It is always best to be honest during your child’s assessment. You may discover that even if your child may not be meeting a particular developmental milestone, it doesn’t necessarily mean that there are concerns regarding their overall development.

The 2-Year-Check

When your child reaches two years of age, you will be invited to another developmental review. If your child is attending a nursery, the nursery will also complete an assessment that can be used to support the two-year-check.

The review is usually completed by your Health Visitor or someone from your local children’s centre. The review provides an opportunity to receive advice, support and agree to any further actions (if required) to support your child’s development.

Before the review, you will be asked to complete an assessment questionnaire about your child’s progress. The questionnaire will then be taken to your appointment and discussed as part of the overall review.

Common topics of discussion at this review include:

  • Overall development: Physical skills, speech and language, social skills, behaviour, hearing and vision
  • Their growth: Any dietary issues that you may have found, your child’s current weight and how much exercise and active time they are having
  • Any current behavioural problems that they may have, and oral hygiene
  • How to keep your child safe, especially as they will no doubt be mobile
  • Vaccinations.

The Role of Your Health Visitor

Health Visitors are qualified and registered nurses or midwives. They are responsible for working with families and the broader community in the first five years of children’s lives.

The types of support offered and available to you through your local Health Visiting team are:

  • Antenatal and post-natal support
  • Support for parents who have young children
  • Feeding support: Breastfeeding, formula feeding, weaning, dietary needs
  • Assessing children’s growth and developmental needs
  • Support where children have been identified as having Special Educational Needs (SEN)
  • Support and advice on behavioural strategies and techniques.

Many parents only access their Health Visitor in the initial weeks following their baby’s birth, but they can offer support until your child reaches school age. Health Visitors can also provide you with advice or solutions to resolve any issues that you are experiencing.

The Role of Your Nursery

If your child attends a nursery or pre-school, then your Key Worker or other practitioners in the setting are well placed to offer you advice and support.

For example, our practitioners at Tommies Childcare have a wealth of knowledge and experience regarding children’s growth and development. They can be a vital first point of contact if you are ever concerned about your child’s development.

Your child’s Key Person, in particular, may broach a conversation with you if they have noticed anything that may require further insight or offer you advice and support about areas of focus. These may include:

  • Weaning
  • Potty training
  • Sleep schedules/routines
  • Speech and Language concerns
  • Fussy eaters
  • Activities that may support the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum
  • Behavioural concerns.

Each nursery also has a nominated Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) responsible for supporting children who require additional support during their time at nursery. Alongside your Nursery Manager, your child’s Key Worker, and the SENCO, a personalised plan can be agreed upon and implemented to support your child.

As parents, we understand that it is not always easy to raise a concern about your child. However, it is vital that you feel comfortable in raising concerns or asking questions to your child’s Health Visitor, nursery, or even their GP so that they can put the proper support or strategies in place.

If you found this blog useful, you might also be interested in Understanding Children’s Developmental Milestones.

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