The child’s development

How to boost your child's development

Your baby goes through a fantastic development in the first few years. From being completely dependent on you and your partner to being able – and wanting – to be more and more independent. As a father, you can support your child’s development by bonding strongly from birth.

Your child is ready to get to know you from the start

From the moment your baby is born, he/she is ready to use all his/her senses. A baby has an innate need to see, hear, feel, taste and smell everything he/she meets – especially you and your partner. That’s how the baby immediately starts bonding with you and getting to know the world.

Did you know that…

Your baby knows and recognises you as someone special during the first weeks of life. That’s why you as a father are important from the start.

Attachment to you is important for your child's development

The relationship between you and your child is the most important thread in the child’s development. This is where your child will learn to understand his/her own needs, intentions and states of mind, as well as other people’s. In other words, this is how a child develops imagination and social and emotional skills.

That first attachment will form your child’s basic feelings of trust or distrust, optimism or pessimism, and so on. That’s why what happens early on is also important for your child’s future development and learning – how your child will approach the challenges and adventures that lie ahead.

How to create a safe base for your child

You and your partner can form a warm, strong bond with your child by being a safe base.

This means that you:

  • Protect your child
  • Comfort your child when he/she is unhappy
  • Understand and empathise with your child
  • Are there when your child wants you
  • Share different situations and moods with your child
  • Help your child overcome difficult feelings and states of mind
  • Take turns at taking the initiative for contact and socialising
  • Find a balance between your needs and your child’s needs

Your child develops in stages

Child development can be described in many stages and moves in many directions. For some children, there are definite transitions to new phases and the child may react strongly. Other children move smoothly from one stage to another, so that you hardly notice.

It’s important that you as a father don’t have schematic ideas about phases and stages, but follow instead where the child is and is heading. As parents, your job is to be a safe base for your child, be engaged and show interest, and share activities and discoveries with your child – such as playing, singing, reading, talking, etc.

If you want more detailed knowledge about the different stages of development, there are plenty of books, although they vary a lot in quality, with different approaches and pet philosophies. That means you and your partner have to find your way through a jungle of advice and opinions.

Your child develops in many ways

  • Mental development: Your child is developing consciousness, emotions, language and how he/she thinks.
  • Social development: Your child becomes increasingly empathetic and understanding of other people and will increasingly want to do things without help (‘can self!’).
  • Physical development: Your child is growing and teething, and sleep patterns are changing. Your child learns to sit, crawl, grasp, walk, run, cycle and so on.