Dr. Anne Zachry

occupational therapist & child development specialist

Category: Parenting (page 2 of 3)

Transform your parenting skills!

Do you ever feel that your approach to parenting is average? Are you constantly searching for parenting resources or looking to improve your parenting skills? What if you could transform your parenting skills from ordinary to extraordinary in just 21 days? I have written a simple to follow program for DailyOM.com called Transform Your Parenting Skills in 21 Days, that teaches exceptional research-based strategies for addressing common child-rearing challenges and problems. Just work through the program and you’ll see a transformation in how you approach parenting, and you will see a drastic change in how your children respond to you.

Not only does the course include 21 incredibly effective lessons to improve parenting skills, I provide daily exercises and activities to ensure that you and your family get the maximum benefits from the course. You will develop a deeper understanding of yourself and your children, and you will acquire the skills needed to be an extraordinary parent. Click here to check it out!

These are just some of the topics that are covered:

  • Discipline Musts that Every Parent Should Know
  • The Value of Teaching Responsibility to Children
  • Why Parents Should Require Respect
  • The Importance of Emphasizing Empathy
  • The Secret of Tapping into Your Child’s Creativity
  • Effectively Communicating with Your Child
  • The Art of Apology




How to Get Ready for Kindergarten

Parents frequently ask me what their child needs to do to get ready for kindergarten. I like to share this list of 25 “readiness” skills that kindergarten teachers have told me are important for a child to be successful in the kindergarten classroom.

Kindergarten Readiness Checklist

1)    Speaks in complete sentences

2)    Listens without interrupting

3)    Follows two-step directions

4)    Begins to share with others

5)    Is able to recognize authority

6)    Understands concepts such as “top,” “bottom,” “big,” “little,” “more,” “less”

7)    Able to follow basic rules

8)    Recognizes rhyming words

9)    Identifies some alphabet letters

10) Bathrooms independently

11) Button shirts, pants, coats, and zips up zippers

12) Can sort objects that are the same shape, color, or size

13) Recognizes and names at least 5 colors

14) Recognizes own first name in print

15) Recognizes letters in own first and last name

16) Begins to write some of the letters in own first name

17) Cuts with scissors

18) Trace basic shapes

19) Draws a line, circle, X and +

20) Works simple puzzles

21) Counts from 1 to 10 in correct order

22) Identifies the beginning sound of some words (C is for cat)

23) Runs, jumps, hops, throws, catches, and bounces a ball

24) Knows first and last name of parents

25) Adjust to new situations without parents being there

So get ready for kindergarten by practicing these skills with your preschooler and your little one will have a much smoother transition into school!

Normal Developmental Milestones for Infants

I’m a child development specialist and one of the most common questions parents ask me is about developmental milestones. Here is a brief overview of the normal developmental milestones for infants during the first year.


At birth, your infant has limited control over her body. This is because most movement is dominated by reflexes, which are involuntary muscle reactions to certain types of input.  At rest, a full-term newborn stays in a flexed position for much of the time, which means the arms and shoulders are held tight against the body, with elbows bent, hands fisted, knees and hips flexed, and the spine slightly curved inward. If you think about it, this is the position that your baby typically maintained in the womb. You may also notice that when awake and positioned on the back, your baby sometimes moves her arms and legs randomly and vigorously, and that the arms and legs always return back to the flexed position. This is quite normal. At this point in your infant’s development there is little to no trunk or head control, and when you hold your baby in a sitting position or over your shoulder, she may try to lift her head, but she will not be able to maintain this effort for long.

One to Three Months

Over the first three months, your infant will begin to stretch out his arms and legs, and demonstrate slightly improved neck, head and trunk control. This is because the spine is becoming more flexible, and the trunk, shoulder and hip muscles are all beginning to get stronger. As this occurs, baby can move his arms and legs with more control, and towards the end of the third month he will begin to bring his hands together, swipe at toys, and touch different parts of his own body. He will also be able to prop up on his forearms with supervision and sit upright with assistance. He will need much support for this activity, because although trunk control has increased, it is nowhere near fully developed.

Four to Six Months

From four to six months of age, you will observe dramatic changes in your infant’s motor skill abilities. Head, neck and trunk control will continue to improve, and by the end of the sixth month, it is likely that your baby will be able to sit without support, although she will probably be somewhat unstable in this position. Movements that began as random and undirected will become more controlled and refined. Baby will begin to reach for and grasp toys and other objects using a very basic grasp. Around four to six months, your infant will begin to roll independently from the stomach to the back, and by six months, she will likely be rolling from the back to the stomach.

Seven to Twelve Months

By the time your baby reaches seven months of age, you will be so proud of his accomplishments. At this point in his development, his is on the threshold of gaining independence in exploring the world. Around seven months, your baby will begin to sit up independently. If you place him on his back, he won’t stay in that position for long, as he will likely flip over onto his stomach so that he has more control and can better visually and physically explore the surroundings. Once your baby is able to sit without support, it won’t be long before he starts crawling on his hands and knees. If baby uses another method of locomotion, such as scooting around on his bottom, rolling, or pulling himself with his stomach dragging the floor, you’ll want to encourage him to get on all fours in a crawling position as much as possible. With your guidance, he can learn how to rock back and forth in this position and push off to get moving. This is the beginning of the important stage of crawling!

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