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Watch Me Grow Up! Visual Guides on Normal Child Development

Sharing information visually creates opportunities to learn about child development, what to expect as a child grows and how to enhance healthy development while keeping children safe from harm.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
18 10

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                      Visual Information For Communities
                Normal Child Development  -  What to Expect

An idea to development visuals illustrating the normal developmental stages of infancy and early childhood which can be posted in daycare centers, and other community locations where young children and their caretakers congregate.  As parents come to drop off or pick up their children workers can point out what to expect during the next stages of development so parents can be aware of what is normal and how to adjust their expectations and the physical environment to keep young children safe.  They can learn what they can do to enhance their child's development as they become knowledgable and learn visually, as well as with guidance during discussions that this visual information can spark, foster and support.

There is much great information on child development that is shared by health providers for example in the USA.  Anticipatory guidance at health visits consists of discussing with parents what to expect during the next few months and how to prepare for it.  There are written guides and resources shared at visits.  These are usually not helpful for parents with low literacy.  

What information can be shared visually?  
A child who can sit but not crawl exists in a whole different world than one who can crawl.  What to expect, how to prepare, how to be safe, and how to encourage safe play.  How to enhance learning.  ex)  Visuals of parents talking to babies, singing to them.  What objects are appropriate as toys.  What objects are dangerous? What are the dangers in the environment?  ex) paint chips, and dust which contains lead.  What can one do to keep the child safe?  

Great visuals that reveal the "story of growing up" can enhance the learning, health and safety of small children.  They can also enhance the parenting experience for parents and communities.

Let's take what information exists and create amazing visuals that can be displayed at specific contact points.  Let's build programming around them.  For parents who leave young infants in daycare post these on the walls and in the evenings have parenting sessions on specific topics in the same space.  Invite parents in for learning sessions and conversations using the visuals as guides.

Who will benefit from this idea and where are they located?

Parents, extended family and caretakers of young children anywhere can benefit from this type of information. It will be particularly useful for families with low literacy. Visual information can transcend written language. Keeping context culturally specific is important in order to engage parents, keeping information relatable and relevant. This is meant to be a project that can easily scale up and be used in many locations.

How could you test this idea in a quick and low-cost way right now?

1) Research 3 specific stages of development such as 4 months of age, 9 months of age and 15 months of age. 2) Create simple images that express what the infant will be doing and what to expect. 3) Share with parents and get feedback.

What kind of help would you need to make your idea real?

Partners in organizations that can use this product. // Advice on culturally relevant images, context, visuals that might be attractive to certain regions - colors, patterns etc. // Design support needed! // Suggestions from the community for content particularly on specific issues around safety would be great. What is the environment like in these particular locales? What does the floor of the home consist of? What is the cooking set up? What objects are commonly found in the home? Knowledge of these things is important as one represents visually how a one year old for example might encounter danger the first time she/he gets up from crawling, stands up and pulls something down which can injure themself.

Is this an idea that you or your organization would like to take forward?

  • This idea is meant to inspire. I hope someone else takes it on!


Join the conversation:

Photo of Theodora Papatheodorou

I like your idea to use visuals to illustrate children's typical development. Your idea of child care workers to talk to parents about children's development as they drop off their children to daycare is equally important. Parents always appreciate to having these kind of informal discussion rather than formal meetings.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel

Hi Theodora. Thank you for your comment! I agree. I think it is a good space and moment in time to educate and reinforce information on what to expect as their child develops. There are many changes during the first few years - the first year things change in months - and this can help parents learn and actively prepare. I also like the idea of emphasizing how to keep the child safe as they develop, preparing parents for changes in a child's abilities and how this will change how they interact with their environment. Hopefully with well decisioned visuals and child workers who can assist with further on the spot information and clarification this can be valuable for parents as well.

Would love to hear any further thoughts or ideas that you may have on the topic! Thanks again for commenting here!

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