The smarT Head Start
Give your child a smarT head start with these professional insights on healthy child development and practical advice to keep them active, engaged, and happy.
Child development3 Psychosocial Stages of Kids Aged 0-5 Years & How to Support EachPsychosocial development is the process of a child acquiring a sense of self and developing relationships, motor and verbal skills, and independence. Erik Erikson's popular theory of psychosocial stages of development consists of three stages: Trust vs Mistrust (0-1.5 yrs), Autonomy vs Shame & Doubt (1.5-3 yrs), and Initiative vs Guilt (3-5 yrs). Each stage is critical in a child's development, and as a parent or caregiver, it's important to know how to support them. Here is a closer look at each of these stages for children between the ages of 0 and 5. Stage 1: Trust vs. MistrustStage 2: Autonomy vs. Shame and DoubtStage 3: Initiative vs. Guilt Stage 1: Trust vs. Mistrust (Birth - 18 months) Psychosocial development in infancy is key, as this is when infants develop a sense of trust or mistrust of the world around them. This is achieved by building a secure attachment to their primary caregiver. To help your child develop trust, it's important to be consistent and responsive to their needs. This means responding to their cries, providing physical affection and attention, and creating a safe environment. Encourage your child's communication and exploration of their environment, providing them with a variety of experiences, love, and attention. This helps them learn that their efforts are valued and that the world is a safe place to explore. Mistrust is healthy in moderation and prepares us as adults to be cautious. However, not mastering this stage can result in long-term consequences, such as being socially disengaged, depressed, suspicious of others, lonely, and/or anxious. Thus, it's crucial to support, guide, and love your child during this stage of development. As your baby approaches 6-9 months, they become more interested in their surroundings and begin to explore their environment with curiosity. To encourage this development, you can have your baby face forward in a stroller. The SmarTrike x Kelly Anna STR7 Stroller Trike is an excellent option for this. Designed for babies from 6 months old, it provides visual stimulation to boost their learning and focus. The unique design allows the baby to move the handlebar without steering, giving the parents full control. This is great for gradually introducing them to the concept of steering and controlling the trike. How You Can Help During the first year of your baby's life, building trust is crucial for their psychosocial development. You can help by paying close attention to their needs, establishing routines, and offering reassurance when they are scared. By doing so, you help your baby feel secure and create a strong foundation of trust. Stage 2: Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt (18 Months - 3 Years) Children aged 18 months to 3 years express a greater need for independence and control over themselves and the world around them. This is the second stage of psychosocial development, called Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt. During this stage, children learn to manage their body systems and care for their own needs, progressing toward becoming independent thinkers. When mastering this stage, children develop autonomy, which is an important part of their development. It allows children to: Exercise their critical thinking skillsMake decisions independentlyGain a greater sense of their identityProcess their emotionsLearn from their mistakes Not mastering this stage can lead to long-term consequences such as low self-esteem, greater nervousness regarding performance, and defensive behavior. The STR3 Folding Pushchair Trike is an ideal option for supporting babies from 10 months old to early toddlerhood in developing their autonomy. It is safe and promotes the baby’s motor, physical, and cognitive development. The pushchair trike allows children to keep their feet on the pedals and move the handlebar without actually steering or controlling the wheels, which encourages them to be more confident. It is also ideal for when your child knows how to pedal, as it can be put in child steering mode to encourage independence. How You Can Help Helping a child develop autonomy bolsters their self-confidence and decision-making skills. Offering choices, such as selecting their own clothing and snacks, allows children to express their opinions and preferences. This helps to foster independence and instills the ability to make better decisions in the future. Stage 3: Initiative vs. Guilt (3-5 Years) Giving children the opportunity to make choices while setting safe boundaries can empower them to develop self-confidence and independence. During the Initiative vs. Guilt stage (3-5 years), children experience the desire to attempt new tasks, join activities with friends, or use new skills in play. However, guilt may arise when they fail to complete a task, use skills incorrectly, or do not meet expectations. It is crucial to strike a balance between initiative and guilt to help children take responsibility for their actions and learn from their mistakes. When parents encourage and guide their children, they can develop ambition and direction, distinguish between what they can and cannot control, and avoid becoming fearful of trying new things. How You Can Help It is essential that parents provide their children with the necessary guidance and support to learn self-control and recognize safe boundaries. They should also encourage their children to take initiative and responsibility for their own actions and mistakes. With a healthy balance of initiative and guilt, children can develop the self-confidence and ambition to take risks and pursue their dreams. Be Your Child's Champion As a parent, you hold the key to your child's development. By understanding their psychosocial stages and providing the right guidance and support, you can give them the tools they need to succeed. Remember that you are their champion, and with love and positive reinforcement, you can help shape their future in a positive way. Embrace the journey of parenting and enjoy watching your child grow and develop into the best version of themselves.
Stroller trikesGet Your Toddler Pedalling: 3 Tips and Techniques for New ParentsDo you want your toddler to join in on the fun of cycling with family and friends? Teaching your little one to pedal can be a challenging yet rewarding experience. Still, your kid might be new at it and still unsure of themselves. It's important to remember that each child develops at their own pace, and some may be ready to learn earlier, while others may need more time. Regardless of their individual pace, there are several techniques and tools that you can use to help your child learn to pedal. One such tool is a stroller trike, which can be a fun way for your toddler to develop balance and motor skills and get comfortable with a vehicle that prepares them for riding a bike in the future. In this guide, we show new parents how to teach a child to pedal using three tips and techniques so that their children can enjoy the fun of cycling. 1. Teach Your Toddler to Balance Starting out with biking can be an exciting time for both parents and children. However, before jumping into pedalling, it's important to focus on balancing first. Stroller trikes can be a great tool to support your child in learning balance while giving you the ability to push them along. Balancing while moving along is an essential skill your child needs to learn before mastering pedalling. To keep your child safe and learning properly, ensure they're is sitting in the correct position, with hands on the handlebars and feet on the pedals. 2. Introduce the Action of Pedaling Before letting your child try pedalling independently, it's helpful to demonstrate how it works. You can do this by putting your hands or feet on the pedals and rotating them, showing your child how the wheels move. Then, let the wheels move freely while your child sits on the bike seat to get a feel for the movement. Once your child seems comfortable with the motion, encourage them to put their hands on the pedals and try it out for themselves. You can also practice pedaling with your child by following these steps: Sit across from your child and ask them to place each foot in your palms.Gently imitate the pedaling movement with your hands.Once your child has observed the movement, encourage them to try and 'pedal' alone while keeping their hands on their feet for support and balance. Once your child has mastered the pedalling motion, it's time to have them try it out on a stroller trike. To help them get started, you can assist by placing gentle pressure on one knee or foot into one pedal or by slowly nudging the stroller trike forward. This helps your child understand how pedalling moves the trike forward and builds their confidence as they begin to pedal on their own. 3. Practice on a Smooth Surface Contrary to popular belief, starting with the bike on grass or a soft surface is not ideal for preventing injury. These surfaces create resistance and make the riding experience difficult for the child. In fact, it's much better to choose a smooth, flat, and safe surface for your child to ride on, such as a local park or play area. If your toddler is not yet ready to pedal on their own, try pushing the stroller trike, which can help improve their balance and confidence. As your child gains more confidence, stand in front of them and encourage them to look at you instead of the ground. This will not only help them pedal in a straight line but also improve their overall pedalling technique. Explore SmarTrike Products to Support Your Toddler's Learning and Development When it comes to supporting your toddler's learning, development, and activity, few things are as helpful as a good stroller trike. SmarTrike offers a range of high-quality stroller trikes that are safe and support an active lifestyle from an early age. One of their most popular products is the SmarTrike x Kelly Anna Stroller Trike, designed to provide physical engagement and visual stimulus for children between six months and three years old. In addition to these features, the trike includes a multi-position reclining seat, a parent-facing seat option, and an adjustable canopy. Another popular product from SmarTrike is the STR5 Folding Pushchair Trike, suitable for babies from nine months old. This trike is designed to support your baby's development and movement, with features like a 5-point harness, a padded seat, and adjustable footrests. With the STR5 Folding Pushchair Trike, your baby will be able to safely explore the world around them while developing essential skills and abilities.
Child developmentInfant Developmental Stages (Years 0–3) & How to Support ThemThe first few years of your child's life are the essential period when they reach many developmental milestones. During this time, children experience rapid physical and cognitive growth as well as language development. As a parent, you play an important role in helping your child through the developmental stages by actively participating in them. It's essential that you talk to your baby, praise them when they learn a new skill, sing songs, and show your affection through hugs or cuddles. To help you better understand your baby's development, we'll break down their progress by age and how you should support them during this formative period in their lives. Infants (0–1 Year) It's important to understand the different stages of development your child will go through in their first year. During this time, they'll reach the following milestones: The first three months of life: Infants at this stage are able to push themselves up on their arms and lift and hold their heads up.From 4 to 6 months: During this period, infants are usually able to sit with support from furniture or an adult’s hand.From 7 to 9 months: This is the time when babies start crawling around independently.From 10 to 12 months: At this stage, babies start standing by holding onto furniture or taking steps with assistance from an adult. How Parents Can Support This Stage You can help your infant develop their motor skills, by providing a safe and stimulating environment for them to explore. By the age of one, children should have developed some social skills such as waving ‘bye bye,' understanding ‘no,’ as well as clapping their hands when prompted by adults. To avoid what's known as container baby syndrome, you can spark your baby's interest in exploration and movement by spending time on the floor with them instead of confining them to a swing or a bouncer seat. This should encourage their curiosity and independence while also providing an opportunity for you to bond with your baby. » Is your infant pulling to stand yet? Here's when this will happen Toddlers (1–2 Years) The period between the ages of one and two is quite an active one because toddlers at this stage learn a variety of new skills, including: Walking independentlySquatting to pick up a toy and stacking objectsUnderstanding more words and combining sounds with gesturesResponding correctly to yes/no questions with head shakes or nods How Parents Can Support This Stage As a parent, you can support your toddler's development during this formative stage by stimulating their language and comprehension. Reading books together and asking them what different objects or body parts are called can be a great way to achieve this. To encourage your toddler's independence, you may consider letting them feed and dress with supervision. Additionally, taking them to parks or on trips (even just taking the bus) can foster their enthusiasm for exploring new places and provide opportunities for them to practice their new skills in a safe and exciting environment. » Wondering when your child will begin walking? Here's the expected age Toddlers (2–3 Years) There are many things your child will be learning during the ages of two and three, including the following: Understanding shapes and sizesShowing a range of emotionsUsing two or three-word sentences and asking questionsDancing to music and walking up and down stairsLearning to ride a tricycle How Parents Can Support This Stage At this stage of your child's development, toddlers are curious and eager to explore the world around them. Encouraging free play can help keep them active while developing their motor skills. Praising positive behavior and teaching your child ways to express their feelings when upset can also be beneficial during this stage. By providing opportunities for exploration and play, you can help your child reach important milestones while also fostering their natural curiosity and love for learning. When it comes to their growing physical abilities, you can nurture them by encouraging them to explore their surroundings and try new things, while also providing a safe and stimulating environment for them to do so. You can also help your child learn important skills like telling you their name and age, as well as teaching them simple songs and cultural childhood rhymes to stimulate their language development. Additionally, riding a trike, such as smarTrike's 5-in-1 STR3 Folding Pushchair Trike, can aid your child's physical development while providing a fun and engaging experience for both of you. Support Your Baby at Each Developmental Stage As a parent, you want to provide your child with the best possible experiences to help them get the most out of their formative stages. Engaging with your child verbally, emotionally, and physically is crucial to their development, as is providing a safe and stimulating environment for them to explore. As your child grows and develops, you can also consider incorporating age-appropriate toys and activities into their playtime to encourage their natural curiosity and love for learning. For instance, the 5-in-1 STR3 Folding Pushchair Trike is a great choice, and it can support your child's motor skills, confidence, and balance. With its innovative design that converts from a stroller to a tricycle and follows developmental stages, it is perfect for children aged 10 months or older. Another great option is the SmarTrike x Kelly Anna Stroller Trike that's suitable for children between 6 and 36 months old, so you can start using it with your babies as soon as they can sit upright. This will provide them with a more interactive, developmental, and stimulating stroller experience from a very young age. Remember to praise positive behavior and teach your child ways to express their feelings when upset. By providing opportunities for exploration and play, you can help your child build important skills and lay the foundation for a lifetime of learning and growth.
Stroller trikesContainer Baby Syndrome: How to Recognize the Signs as a New MomThe term "container baby syndrome" (CBS) encompasses a range of conditions resulting from newborns spending too much time in "containers" such as bouncers, swings, car seats, strollers, rockers, and other positioners that limit their movement. These issues can include gross motor delays, cognitive delays, social interaction difficulties, behavioural problems, and even bone deformities. While containers can offer safety and convenience for parents and babies, overusing them may harm newborns by restricting their movement and limiting their space. As a new parent, it's essential to recognize the signs of container baby syndrome early on and learn how to manage it. Signs of Container Baby Syndrome Here are some crucial signs to look out t identify container baby syndrome Flat Head- A flattened head on the back or side is a typical sign of container baby syndrome. Instead of a natural circular curve, the head may appear compressed. Understanding the causes of plagiocephaly, or flat head syndrome, is vital. Excessive time spent in a container with the baby's head pressed against a surface can lead to this condition. However, plagiocephaly can also result from preterm birth, birth abnormalities, or consistently sleeping with the head turned to one side. Early intervention is crucial, often involving limiting the time a child spends in a container.Increased Weight - Babies need to be active, even in their early days. Containers with safety straps can inhibit their movement. While these straps prevent babies from rolling out, they also hinder their ability to explore and expend energy, potentially leading to weight gain. Instead of relying on containers, parents should encourage tummy time and ample opportunity for their newborns to move freely outside of containers.Delayed Physical milestones - Babies who lack sufficient opportunities to practice tummy time or other movements may experience delays in acquiring essential motor skills, such as sitting up, crawling, or walking. When outside of containers, babies can develop the muscles and movements necessary for future mobility. Each child's development will differ, but if a child is notably delayed and spends extensive time in a container, confinement may be the issue. Prioritizing time outside of containers when babies are awake can promote essential developmental movements.Crying - Babies left in containers for extended periods may cry for comfort and closeness to their parents. Physical proximity is crucial for newborns, and research shows that picking up a distressed baby and carrying them can result in a calmer child. Avoid keeping your baby confined for long durations; if they cry, hold them and aim to minimize container usage. How to Prevent Container Baby Syndrome While occasional short periods in a container won't cause long-term problems, frequent and prolonged use of multiple devices can significantly increase the risk of developing CBS symptoms. Here are some ways to prevent container baby syndrome: Limiting your baby’s time in containers - Reduce the frequency and duration your baby spends in containers. Use them only for their intended purpose, such as using a car seat exclusively for transportation, not for sleeping.Increasing your baby’s tummy time - Supervised tummy time promotes proper growth by strengthening neck, back, and trunk muscles essential for rolling over, crawling, reaching, and playing. Engage with your baby during this time to ensure their safety and to make the experience more enjoyable.Floor Time - Allow your child ample time on the floor to sit or lie on their side or back under adult supervision. This provides a safe space for them to move, explore, and play.Holding your baby - Carrying your baby in your arms or a sling throughout the day promotes natural acclimatization and bonding, as babies require physical touch.Replace your stroller with a stroller trike - Instead of using a traditional stroller, stroller trikes offer more opportunities for movement while maintaining safety and balance. » Want to find out which stroller trike to pick? Here are some options Encouraging an Active Lifestyle To foster an active lifestyle from an early age and prevent container baby syndrome, stroller trikes offer a secure and engaging alternative to traditional strollers. These innovative products aid children transitioning out of strollers while promoting healthy development. The SmarTrike x Kelly Anna Stroller Trike, designed for children aged six months to three years, combines physical engagement and visual stimulation. With its vibrant colours, interactive toys, handlebars, and pedals, this stroller trike encourages motor, cognitive, and physical development. Additional benefits include parent-controlled steering and an adjustable seat that accommodates your child's growth. For those aged nine months and older, the STR5 Folding Pushchair Trike provides a comfortable ride with its shock absorbers and a five-point harness. This stroller trike supports physical, mental, and motor development by allowing your child to interact with the handlebars and pedals without steering or controlling the wheels. It also features adjustable handles, a cosy seat, and a compact folding design for convenient storage and transportation. These stroller trikes are an ideal blend of safety, engagement, and developmental support. By opting for these alternatives, you can help your child embrace an active lifestyle while minimizing the risks associated with container baby syndrome.