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Checking in on your toddler's development

As parents, we tend to want our child to be the best, do the best and achieve the best they possibly can. This is normal and expected! But do remember your child is an individual. There is no one on this earth the same as they are and therefore everyone develop at slightly different rates.  

Checking your child’s development and progress shouldn’t be a challenging feat. Our Health Visiting Service will complete the Ages and Stages developmental reviews with you at 9-12 months and then again at 2-2.5 years of age. Our assessment tools are designed to support you to think about those important areas of development and how your child is doing. 

The reviews are a way of helping to see whether additional support will be needed or if any area of development, such as speech, can be improved by some simple home activities. 

I suppose I need to mention the Covid word here don’t I? Some reviews are not being completed in the same way at the moment due to the pandemic and the restrictions that Public Health England have put in place. But rest assured we’re working on creative ideas to continue to support parents and carers with the health and wellbeing of their children.  

How to get support 

Parenting is such a job isn’t it? It can be a minefield knowing whats normal and what might need some more support. Sometimes we just need to talk to someone else that understands child development to put our minds at ease. 

First off, contact your health visiting duty line if you have any concerns about your child’s development. Well listen to you, understand your concerns and make sure we leave you feeling reassured with some advice and information. If we feel that we need to see you and your child to understand the full nature of the issue, well arrange that appointment.  

We work really closely with other services that support child development, such as our speech and language colleagues, our occupational therapy colleagues and our child development colleagues so we will always be able to refer you to the right department to make sure you and your child get the right support at the right time. We have a simple referral process and will help you through this, if it’s needed. 

Most of the time, areas of development can be improved at home with simple activities. We would normally want to catch up with you to see whether these activities have helped at all and may arrange a follow up appointment.  

Of course, you can always get back in contact sooner than the date of your appointment or let us know how things are going at any time. We would much rather you, as your little one’s parent, get in contact with us to say “hey things are great now – little Ray is now standing up and beginning to want to walk!” than us chasing you and asking for progress when there may not have been much. 

Take a look at our support and advice pages for more information on specific areas of development.  

There are lots of other resources we can suggest too. The BBC has some helpful videos explaining what a health visitor is and how to look out for different developmental stages. And the NHS has further information on those reviews we’ll be offering for your child. 

Don’t forget your local children’s centres and family hubs, libraries and playgroups will also be able to support you in developing your child’s skills. All our local resources have social media accounts that you can access for information about groups and sessions they may be running. Again - using that Covid word normal classes and sessions may not be run in the same way but we are seeing some really creative outdoor groups being run across our county now. Have a look at your local resources: 

I suppose the most important thing to say is to continue to communicate with your health visiting service. If we don’t know a problem exists, we can’t help!   

About the author

Kirstie is the Professional Development Lead Health Visiting and Infant Feeding Lead for Berkshire Healthcare