Child Development – The School-Age Years

Picture1Just last month, we held the first of a series of three trainings about child development. Next week, we’ll have the second, focusing on school-aged children. There’s still plenty of time to sign up and join us, either in person in Eau Claire or Milwaukee, or via webinar from your home or office.

Understanding how children develop is critical to effective parenting, especially for those who are parenting a child who may have experienced abuse, neglect, or another form of trauma.

“Even though I learned a lot about development in my pursuit of my Social Work degree, by the time I had children in my home those classes seemed like decades ago,” Rachel, the Coalition’s Training Coordinator, shared. “Pair my aging brain with the new chaos every stage of development brings, and I should probably just print out cheat sheets to pin to my kids clothing.”

Joking aside, many parents find it helpful to know the basics of child development. That knowledge can help you observe your kids as they grow, and help you spot any potential red flags early.

“That’s the part that can be hard,” Rachel said. “It is very easy, as a parent, to compare your children to others. It can be difficult to remember that, just because other children are exhibiting a skill, your child is not necessarily behind. As children begin activities in which they socialize more, it is possible they have more adults in their lives completing formal and informal assessments. If another adult alerts me to a behavior, I try to respect their observation, put it into context, and look for it myself. If I see the behavior or lack of milestone accomplishment, I reach out.”

Sometimes being the best parent you can be means getting help.

Whether that help comes from a friend, co-parent, family member, or professional, it is important to get the support you – and your child – need. I hope you’ll join us on Thursday, October 24 for part two of our Child Development series. We’ll focus on the impact of abuse and neglect, as well as separation from primary families, on a child’s development. Our trainer, Toni Chambers, herself a parent of four children who joined her family through birth and adoption, will share parenting tips and strategies. Bring your questions! If you have something specific you would like addressed, please submit your question to Rachel (rgoeden@coalitionforcyf.org) by October 17th so we can be sure to answer it during the session.

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