Tips for Families

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As kids get older, they are constantly achieving new skills. Some of which are obvious, some of which are not. Luckily, we have some free tools for you to track your child’s developmental milestones.

Amazing Me-It’s Busy Being 3! – This children’s book for children ages 2-4 teaches caregivers or parents about developmental milestones and provides a fun interactive experience for both children and adults! See if your child is able to do what Joey, the three year old kangaroo, can do. Plus it’s free! Download or get it shipped to you for free by clicking here.

Under the free materials section, you will find many tools that you can use to learn about, track and celebrate developmental milestones! Check out the CDC’s milestone checklist to help you track your child’s progress. Click here. However, keep in mind that while we hope these tools are helpful, they are not a substitute for standardized and validated developmental screening tools.

As a parent or primary caregiver of your child, you know your child the best! If you have concerns about the way your child is developing, learning, speaking, playing, etc., make sure to contact your pediatrician immediately, don’t wait! You can also contact MN Help Me Grow which provides free assessments and developmental screenings.  Don’t wait!

 

Other Tips

  • Make sure to ask your doctor about developmental screenings. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children be screened for general development using standardized, validated tools at 9, 18, and 24 or 30 months, and for autism at 18 and 24 months or whenever a parent or provider has a concern.
  • Not quite sure how to talk to your doctor? Check out this fact sheet
    • Write your observations along with your questions and concerns down to bring them to appointments.
    • Bring your filled out milestones checklist to your appointment.
    • Bring up your concerns at the beginning of the appointment.
    • Write down what the doctor says, possible next steps, or ask them to write it down. Ask questions
    • Make sure to get referrals to other specialists the doctor may recommend such as child psychologists, developmental pediatricians, or child neurologists.
    • After the appointment review your notes, call if you have additional questions, and follow up with your doctor on how their recommendations went.
    • Remember you do not need a doctor’s referral to get your child evaluated for services. Contact Help Me Grow MN.

 

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Unfortunately, sometimes parents or caregivers have to wait before seeing a specialist which can be frustrating. While you wait, make the most out of playtime and continue to promote positive development. Tips include:

    • Making the most of playtime. This may include reading to your child, playing with toys, repeating activities as they learn skills, talking to your child, etc. Whether it may seem like it or not, playtime with your child is teaching valuable. Your child could be hearing or comprehending more than you think!
    • Find support. You are not alone. Minnesota has some great support organizations and contacts which can be found on this site in their resources section and here.

 

Content adapted from “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov/ActEarly)