In the previous episode of AskMeDoctor!, Dr. Foo Chee Hoe already shared the general knowledge about children's milestones and the factors contributing to their development. For the second part of the same episode, Dr. Foo will focus more on the parents' role and responsibilities in a child's development. Photo credit: xFrame Q5: Are effective parenting practices playing an important role in a child\u2019s development as well? Dr. Foo: Environmental factors are very important for a child\u2019s development and this is very much in our hands. So, effective parenting style, parenting practices are important to provide their physical needs and psychological needs. Parents must have a good practice that will ensure the child gets adequate healthy nutrition, good medical care, provide a safe secure place for them, a good school for them to grow and develop and also psychologically. Ensure that the child has a sense of security, do let them know that they are loved for, they are cared for, give them affection as well as teaching them how to nurture and grow, develop emotionally, and psychologically. All these are very important to help them to grow to their utmost potential. Q6: Is developmental monitoring or screening important and how to conduct that? Dr. Foo: Yes, developmental screening is very important because we want to detect any possible abnormality as soon as possible so that we can take action to reverse the decline and to determine the cause for such delay. How do we conduct that? Actually, we have always been doing that opportunistically by chance. Whenever they come to the clinic for their routine visit, whether you go to government clinics or private clinics for your vaccination, this is the time \u2013 besides measuring your height, weight and head circumference, we will also be assessing your child\u2019s development milestones. Usually, for children who have achieved all the milestones, the assessment can actually be very fast. Sometimes the parents may not be aware of it, but, actually, the paediatrician is observing all the milestones just by observing the child; seeing how they walk and how they sit up can already give a lot of information. If we detect any red flags as in there are some developmental milestones that are not yet achieved by a certain age, then we will advise for further tests and assessment. We would like to refer the child to a developmental paediatrician. Sometimes we need to do a blood test, we need to do hearing test, so that we can confirm the diagnosis and then we move on to plan a syllabus and training therapy schedule for the child so that they can maximize their growth and developmental potential. Q7: Should I worry if my child is passive and not as active as his peers? Dr. Foo: Generally, I think children \u2014 they are very active people, they are active seekers of play opportunities, they love to play, they are actively seeking knowledge, they are curious about a lot of things. Of course, there are certain moments, especially when they start to develop stranger anxiety, in their social-emotional behavioural skills development, sometimes they can feel shy in certain situations. So, it really depends on the parents\u2019 observations. If the child is significantly very inactive at all times and socially withdrawn at all times, we observe how they are in school, in kindergarten, then it should be a cause of concern if they are really very withdrawn, very passive, no moments of being active at all. Please discuss with your doctor if you encounter or if you have any concerns about these. Q8: What if my child does not meet a developmental milestone? Dr. Foo: Usually parents should have a checklist for them to match the age of their child with what their child can do. But, if you detect or you are concerned about \u2014 there are some possible delays, please do not jump to conclusions first. Oh my child is delayed compared to my neighbour\u2019s child, compared to my sister\u2019s child, my son is so slow etc. But, please discuss your concern with your family doctor, with your paediatrician and then we will assess together, we will ask more questions, we will do physical examination, we will assess developmentally and then if we really detect there is an abnormality like I have said earlier, you would then move on to refer to a developmental paediatric team\u2014for them to be assessed, to do a hearing test, maybe a blood test\u2014and then very importantly, if they really need more therapy sessions like: \tSpeech therapy \tOccupational therapy \tPhysical therapy The sooner we start such intervention, there would be more potential they would achieve. https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?vYATtIe3LueQ So, parents, we hope this sharing by Dr Foo gives you more information and knowledge about children's developmental milestones. Please take note that every child is different. Thus, DO NOT compare your child with other children because every individual's developmental milestone is different. For more videos about children's health, stay tuned on AskMeDoctor! If you have any other questions or a specific topic that you want our doctors to answer, visit our Facebook page today.