Social Skills

15 considerations for supporting the development of your child’s social skills

Let’s talk about Social Skills! As adults, we don’t often think much about social skills, as they are ingrained in our daily lives – like getting dressed in the morning or brushing our teeth. Human beings are sociable creatures, and we have developed many ways to communicate our messages, thoughts, and feelings with others. Children, however, must learn social skills from scratch, much like learning to read and write.

Social skills are the skills we use to communicate and interact with each other, both verbally and non-verbally, through gestures, body language and our personal appearance. This is an incredibly intricate set of skills which takes time and practice to acquire. The ability is built on foundational receptive communication skills (hearing and understanding language from others) and expressive communication skills (sharing thoughts and ideas with others).

Setting good examples in front of our children is the natural place to start, as they instinctively mimic and copy what we do. By demonstrating sound social skills at home, such as speaking to others in respectful tones, listening to what others have to say, and waiting to speak in turn, children subconsciously take this all in, and voila! The beginnings of developing social skills is a work in progress.

Children are like sponges, they absorb everything!

To help support the development of your child’s social skills, start by paying attention to your own behaviours as you go about engaging in the following ways. You will probably learn a bit about yourself in the process!

  1. Facial expressions
  2. Body language
  3. Gestures
  4. Interacting in group situations
  5. Collaborating with others
  6. Exercising patience and taking turns
  7. Sharing
  8. Achieving compromise
  9. Demonstrating empathy
  10. Play skills
  11. Conversation skills
  12. Emotional skills
  13. Problem solving skills
  14. Showing encouragement
  15. Maintaining eye contact

Many of the above skills will come naturally, however when we stop and think about them in isolation, we may notice that we have to work harder to demonstrate some skills than others, or some areas that we could definitely improve upon.

One of our most important jobs in life is to be good role models for our children. By examining our own behaviours from time to time, we may not only enhance our own social skills, but we also ensure we are role modelling desirable behaviours for our children! Over time, you should see your little person starting to use more and more of the skills outlined above in their interactions with others.

Fun ways at home to develop social skills

Playing board games can be a fun way to practice using social skills at home.

Firstly, board games are fun, but they also require patience, self-control, and using manners. For example, after you’ve rolled the dice and moved your character, say, “Your turn!” Then, when your child has finished moving their character, say, “My turn!” before rolling the dice. By verbalising the order of play, it introduces children to the concept of taking turns, helps to develop the elusive character trait of patience, and begin to understand game play etiquette. This prepares them for navigating group settings such as when it’s time to start kindy or school.

Playing board games also helps to introduce children to the emotionally challenging task of how to conduct themselves whether winning or losing! This is a really important skill which will set them up well once they’re taking their first steps out into ‘the real world’ at school. Let’s face it, we are not always going to be ‘the winner’, so it’s important to learn humility in defeat.

If you have any questions about the above skills or your child is having difficulties with some of them, have no fear. You can directly reach out to one of our friendly paediatricians HERE We are here to help!

Adelaide Paediatrics – Helping Children and Families Thrive

Adelaide Paediatrics’ doctors, allied health professionals and staff care about your family and what you are going through. We take the time to listen and understand so that you feel supported and empowered as we work together to care for your child. We know that sometimes medical issues in children cannot wait, so if an appointment is required urgently, we will accommodate as best we can and can usually offer an urgent appointment with a paediatrician within 7 days.

Paediatrics

5 things your baby needs for great mental health

Mental Health is such a relevant topic in 2022, and thankfully there is. more awareness and understanding around Mental Health than ever before. While it’s an important point of discussion for adults, Mental Health support and education is equally as important for our children.

You may be asking yourself:

“When should I start thinking about my child’s mental health”? Well, it would be fair to say it’s never too early and we should be mindful of all the factors that contribute to Mental Health from that special moment when we bring our new-born baby home for the very first time. The role we play as parents is pivotal as we strive to provide our children with the best life possible from the very beginning.

In those first weeks living “earthside” with their new family, your baby will look to you for love, reassurance, and safety. As helpless little humans, ensuring all their basic needs are met is the start of your baby learning that they are safe, protected, and loved. This is all they need to set them off on their journey through life with the foundation of self-worth.

To help you and your baby as you embark on this amazing, challenging, rewarding journey, we have compiled 5 simple tips for you to apply at home:

  1. Take care of yourself! It may seem obvious, but as the parent it can be easy to overlook the basic fact that you need to take care of yourself first before you can provide the love and care your little one needs. Babies look to us as their parents for guidance and reassurance, even when we may not realise it, we are setting the example. Therefore, it’s important that our children see us exercising self-care which contributes to a healthy state of wellbeing.
  2. Communication is key! We always hear about communication being one of the most important aspects in a relationship. Well, we hear this so often because it’s true! This is true for all relationships, and especially so with our children.
  3. Keep calm and carry on. Mishaps happen. Whether it’s at work, at home, or out in public, we all make mistakes. We are all so very human! The really important part however, is how we respond in these moments. If you are stressed about something, or spill red wine on the carpet, try to remain calm. The behaviour we model in front of our children will be what shapes their behaviour as they learn and grow. Let’s see every mishap as an opportunity to equip them well to navigate the challenges that life throws up at all of us from time to time!
  4. Play is the work of childhood. As adults, we work to provide our families with a roof over their heads, food in their tummies, an education, and a good quality of life. A child’s work however, is not that a desk – it’s with toys! That’s right – playing is learning about the world around them and using their imagination and helps a child’s brain develop in so many ways! Ensure your baby has plenty of playtime in their daily routine and engage with them at every opportunity. This helps them to be stimulated by all the new things in their world and teaches them that they are loved, and special, and important.
  5. A little routine goes a long way. Just like we have routine in our days (wake up, get dressed, go to work, have lunch etc.), babies like routine too! This will help them to understand there is an element of structure and predictability to each day and fall into a rhythm. This contributes to a child’s sense of security, and it will help tenfold when it comes to school time too! Trust us!

Raising a baby isn’t easy, especially if it’s your first … and sometimes your second, or even your third!

Raising a baby is also life-changing, and wonderful, and challenging, and overwhelming, and amazing, so try to be kind to yourself. Take it day-by-day and breathe every now and then. You will get there, and so will your little one. If you’re having a tough day, maybe read back over these tips, and if you would like to chat about what we’ve discussed today, please reach out to our friendly team  here (https://www.adelaidepaediatrics.com.au/appointment-booking/). We are here to help!

Adelaide Paediatrics – Helping Children and Families Thrive

Adelaide Paediatrics’ doctors, allied health professionals and staff care about your family and what you are going through. We take the time to listen and understand so that you feel supported and empowered as we work together to care for your child. We know that sometimes medical issues in children cannot wait, so if an appointment is required urgently, we will accommodate as best we can and can usually offer an urgent appointment with a paediatrician within 7 days.

How to know your child is walking correctly

How to know your child is walking correctly

For most, walking is just an everyday part of life that we don’t really think about much. We get out of bed and just start walking, whether it’s to the bathroom, the coffee machine or to the bus stop. However, for our children – like in all areas of their development – it is important that we set them on the right track from an early age in relation to walking correctly as well.

Most children start walking between the age of 8 months and 18 months old. This varies from child-to-child of course. Some children might take their first steps with someone holding their hands at the age of 9 months; others may stand alone and sidestep around a coffee table at 12 months; or they may even take uneven steps or walk by pushing carts and trolleys by 15 months of age.

By around 18 months of age, your child might be walking comfortably with their legs close together. All these stages are part of their natural progression and shouldn’t be forced.

Everyone walks differently

There are a few different ways in which your child may walk as they grow. These are:

  • Pigeon toe or in-toeing – Where one or both feet/knees turn in while your child is walking. This generally resolves somewhere around 2-3 years of age.
  • Out-toeing – Where one or both feet turn out when your child is walking. Your child should outgrow this. Out-toeing typically disappears around 5 years of age.
  • Toe-walking – Where your child starts walking on their toes as soon as soon as they start to walk. This should resolve somewhere around 2-3 years of age.

If you notice your child is still walking in one of the ways mentioned above beyond the average age, speak to one of our physiotherapists, podiatrists, paediatricians, or your local GP for advice.

Signs and symptoms to look out for

There are some other signs to look out for as your child progresses with their walking. Keep an eye out for the signs mentioned below, and speak to one of our physiotherapists, podiatrists, paediatricians, or your local GP if you notice your child:

  • hasn’t yet started walking by 18 months
  • is displaying signs of severe pigeon toe or out-toeing
  • has pigeon toe or out-toeing which is getting worse
  • has pigeon toe or out-toeing that’s more pronounced on one leg compared to the other
  • trips or falls a lot
  • has walking issues that come on suddenly or as a result of a fall
  • has toe walking that hasn’t resolved by the age of approximately three years
  • can’t bear weight on either leg
  • complains of hip or knee pain, particularly while running or playing sports.

Our friendly team of physiotherapists, podiatrists and paediatricians is here to help if you have noticed any of the above issues or have other concerns. Please call the team at any one of our 9 locations throughout Adelaide, and they will be happy to assist you.

For a little more information, you can directly reach out to us here

Adelaide Paediatrics – Helping Children and Families Thrive

Adelaide Paediatrics’ doctors, allied health professionals and staff care about your family and what you are going through. We take the time to listen and understand so that you feel supported and empowered as we work together to care for your child. We know that sometimes medical issues in children cannot wait, so if an appointment is required urgently, we will accommodate as best we can, and offer an urgent appointment with a paediatrician if possible.

Baby with bib on using a spoon to eat solids

Starting solids with Chelsea Mauch

There are so many exciting “firsts” with your new baby. The introduction of solids is one that can be a lot of fun, but also a little daunting for new parents. Like many things, practice makes perfect, and the more you know about how to approach introducing solids for the first time with your baby, the more confident you will be, and the happier and more relaxed your little one is likely to be.

There’s a sea of information on the internet about starting solids, which can be quite overwhelming! This is why we’d like to simplify the basics in relation to starting solids, with some easy-to-understand tips to get you started.

It’s important your baby can sit upright with some support, and hold their head up

Around 6 months of age, babies are usually ready to start solids. When they’re showing signs of interest in the foods you’re eating, this is an indication that they’re ready to start solid foods. It is also important that they can sit upright with some support, hold their head up steadily and that they have gained some control over their tongue. At this age, your baby’s digestive system and ability to chew and swallow is improving rapidly in readiness for the transition to solids.

Breastfeeding or bottle-feeding should continue while introducing solids

5 steps on how to easily start introducing solids

  • Introducing one new food at a time is a great way to allow your child to slowly explore new tastes for the very first time, and also identify possible allergies.
  • It’s important to remember; all they’ve ever known is breastmilk or formula, so don’t be too worried if they’re a little hesitant to start off with. In fact, it may take 10 to 15 tries of a food before they decide they like it. They’ll become more adventurous as the process starts to become familiar. That’s when the real messy fun starts!
  • The best time to offer your baby solids for the first time is after either breastmilk or formula, starting with small amounts.
  • Smooth foods can be good to start with but texture should be increased over the first few months as their skills develop. Great first foods are cooked and pureed vegetables or fruits, progressing to chunky mashed foods, followed by soft finger foods. Add plain water or their usual milk to pureed or mashed foods if you need to make it a little runnier.
  • There is no need to add salt or sugar to your baby’s food. Remember; they have only had milk so far, and have more tastebuds than an adult, so new flavours on their own are much more exciting to them than they might be to you!

If your baby is approximately 4-6 months old and you’d like to know a little more about how to introduce solid foods, book into one of our “Starting Solids and Nutrition in the First-Year” group education sessions.

Each two-hour group education session includes:

  • Starting solids (what, when, how) from the very first purees, through to lumps and finger foods
  • Nutrition for babies and how to encourage healthy eating
  • Developing your baby’s palate
  • Preparing food for babies
  • Extensive written resources including recipes and food preparation methods

This group session is currently held monthly online and booked through our Mile End – SuperGym.

For more information or to book into a group session:

P: 08 7123 6147
E: reception@adelaidepaediatrics.com.au

Adelaide Paediatrics – Helping Children and Families Thrive

Adelaide Paediatrics’ doctors, allied health professionals and staff care about your family and what you are going through. We take the time to listen and understand so that you feel supported and empowered as we work together to care for your child. We know that sometimes medical issues in children cannot wait, so if an appointment is required urgently, we will accommodate as best we can and can usually offer an urgent appointment with a paediatrician within 7 days.

Baby in pink suit playing with colourful wooden xylophone

The importance of sensory stimulation for babies

baby playing with colourful wooden xylophone

As we know, all babies develop and grow at their own pace, however it’s important that along the way for our new little humans, we assist them to explore their curiosity to nurture their development from an early age.

Through play, your baby’s brain develops in response to new forms of stimuli at an extremely rapid pace. Your baby is learning and connecting to the world around them through so many different forms of sensory engagement. For babies, simple sensory play such as touching a variety of objects and surfaces along with hearing how various materials create different sounds, all assists with their sensory stimulation.

Each new sensory experience your baby has helps to build their nerve connections assisting to grow the most important element of all, the brain.

Babies and their senses

Vision: When babies are born, they can only focus on items roughly 8-10 inches away. When your baby first opens their eyes, they see only in black and white, and gradually begin to see colours. This is why you will often see black and white cards being used in learning materials for young babies. As babies grow their visual stimulus increases, with objects becoming clearer and the distance that they can see improving.

Hearing: Your newborn’s hearing is normally fully developed at birth, however they’re quite sensitive to sounds even before they are born, in particular the voice of their mother.

Babies explore through their senses

Touch: You baby’s skin is sensitive to touch and is therefore a powerful learning tool to enhance their emotional learning. This is where those little smiles start to appear and where the earliest responses to touch are reflexive. For example, if you stroke your newborn’s foot, both their toes will flex. Babies under one year commonly respond to touch with an “all or nothing” response.

Taste/Smell/Texture: Babies have several hundred more sweet taste buds in their mouths than adults. This is why they may make upset faces when tasting bitter or sour foods for the very first time.

11 Simple sensory learning experiences for your baby

We understand that as new parents, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the things needed to assist your baby’s growth and development, but you are not alone!

We’ve put together a simple list below of things you can do with your baby in the comfort of your home to engage their senses and beyond.

  1. Playing music and saying nursery rhymes
  2. Sucking on teething toys
  3. Introducing a variety of textured objects
  4. Using black and white learning shape cards
  5. Playing in water (at appropriate temperature)
  6. Spending time outside in nature, listening to different noises like birds
  7. Watching moving objects such as leaves and branches
  8. Rolling or bouncing balls where your baby can watch them moving across the floor
  9. Using rattles
  10. Playing with colourful toys that move
  11. Smelling new foods and flowers

For a little more information or help with your baby’s sensory learning and development, we’d love you to reach out to us here at Adelaide Paediatrics.

We’re based across 9 locations throughout South Australia:

  • Mile End: 08 7123 6147
  • Kensington Park: 08 7123 6176
  • Wayville: 08 7123 6177
  • Mount Barker: 08 7123 6175
  • Ashford: 08 7123 6171
  • North Adelaide: 08 7123 6173
  • Bedford Park: 08 7123 6149
  • Elizabeth Vale: 08 7123 6148
  • Morphett Vale: 08 7123 6163

Adelaide Paediatrics – Helping Children and Families Thrive

Adelaide Paediatrics’ doctors, allied health professionals and staff care about your family and what you are going through. We take the time to listen and understand so that you feel supported and empowered as we work together to care for your child. We know that sometimes medical issues in children cannot wait, so if an appointment is required urgently, we will accommodate as best we can and can usually offer an urgent appointment with a paediatrician within 7 days.

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