Updated by Hope Starts Here
Child Development

What can I do daily to support my child’s development?

Lasted Updated August 1, 2022
There are 6 habits we can practice every day to help promote positive mental and physical development for children. On a daily basis parents can 1) encourage 2) hug 3) talk 4) sing 5) read and 6) play


  • Sing and dance to favorite songs
  • Do Karaoke on Youtube
  • Makeup songs about shapes around the house
  • Sing a song to learn to spell the child’s name or address
  • Create singing videos and Record on your phone as your sing
  • Find songs to sing
  • Makeup songs to sing about any and everything
  • Sing about your feelings

Why does singing matter?


  • Make up stories (let your child make stories and draw stories)
  • Read historical or cultural books
  • Tell stories without words, moving only our bodies
  • Make up new story endings to our favorite stories
  • Read aloud the labels of cans
  • Read aloud a newspaper or everything in the house that has words on it
  • Read aloud the street signs and discuss what they mean
  • Look up words that you don’t know the meaning of together and use the words throughout the week
  • Read a book, yes for the 156th time. 

Why does reading matter?


  • Give little kisses
  • Hug in the morning and night before bed
  • Hug to celebrate successes or small achievements
  • Give hugs randomly throughout the day like when your child is watching TV or reading or looking out the window
  • Wake your child up with a hug in the morning
  • Share hugs with “I love you and the way you (smile, talk, walk, sing, eat, sit, stand, run, etc) makes me happy.”

Why does hugging matter?


  • Encourage students to do work
  • Say positive words (you can, try again)
  • Say thank you for being a good helper or other acts they do well
  • Ask children to tell us what activities they want to do and how to plan for it
  • Show the child how to do an activity or action correctly rather than saying “NO, NO, NO”
  • Ask them, “what do we do next”
  • Invite the children to choose a movie and watch it as a family
  • When your child is an infant, and rolls over smile and be excited, give them a hug and tell them in a smiling voice, “good job”
  • Ask your child to help you cook. Give them a task to do: wash the potatoes, stir the batter, get the water, count the eggs, etc.
  • Tell them specifically what you like about the tasks they complete
  • When your child draws something praise the (coloring, effort, time it took), discuss what they were feeling when they drew it. Place the art on the wall, refrigerator. Ask for another
  • If they fall smile, give them a hug and help them up
  • If they do something they shouldn’t, don’t yell, explain why what they did was not good and what they could have done instead.

Why does encouragement matter?


  • Play with dinosaurs while making dinosaur sounds and acting like a dinosaur
  • Helping kids cook and measure together while explaining the cooking tools, then eat together
  • Draw and paint together
  • Play games on zoom with family members like Pictionary or family feud
  • Make up games (let the child think of the game)
  • Look up games on the internet
  • Play hide and go seek 
  • Play video games together and talk about  

Why does play matter?


  • Say the alphabet backward
  • Eat together and talk during the mealtime
  • Zoom play dates with friends
  • Talk during every activity, explain colors, feelings
  • Talk about feelings (are you happy or sad or angry tell the child (even infants) and listen to their explanation.
  • Talk Calmly (do not yell)
  • Smile when you speak
  • Congratulate the child when they do something well
  • Explain everything you do or step by step instructions. Ask the child to tell you what they did
  • Look in their eyes while they talk.
  • Repeat the sounds infants make and talk to infants with real words

Why does speaking matter?


  1. Brain Development by the First Five Years Video
  2. How a child’s brain develops through early experiences
  3. Build My Brain Free Parent Activity
  4. A 360-degree view of a baby’s first 1,000 days
  5. Brain Development
What is Detroit Champions for Home?
Explore the pamphlet that explains what Detroit Champions for Hope is doing for families.
What does 6 a day look like?
See parents and kids talk through how the 6 a day habit helps their family
6-a-day Examples from Detroiters
Examples of easy at home activities

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