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Countering Developmental Delays: How Busy Books Contribute to Children’s Growth

Countering Developmental Delays: How Busy Books Contribute to Children’s Growth


As parents, our number one goal is to raise happy, healthy children. So, when we notice a delay in development or they’re not quite where other children their age are, it can raise concern. It may comfort you to know that an estimated 20% of Australian children experience developmental delays and there are ways to help counter them, and support your child in ‘catching up’.

Busy Books are one way therapists and teachers often help children with developmental delay, and can also be used at home. Learn more about potential signs of developmental delays in children, as well as how Busy Books may help. 

Potential Signs of Developmental Delay By Age

Signs in Infants (0 – 12 months)

  • Not responding to loud sounds or their name by 12 months
  • Not babbling or making word-like sounds by 12 months
  • Not using gestures like waving bye-bye by 12 months
  • Not crawling or pulling themselves up to stand by 12 months

Signs in Toddlers (12 – 24 months)

  • Not saying single words by 16 months
  • Not putting two words together by 24 months
  • Showing no interest in interactive games like peekaboo
  • Inability to follow simple instructions
  • Not walking steadily by 24 months

Signs in 2-Year-Olds

  • Having less than a 20-word vocabulary
  • Not using two-word phrases
  • Lack of interest in playing with toys
  • Inability to identify body parts

Signs in 3-Year-Olds

  • Not engaging in pretend play
  • Difficulty scribbling or holding a pencil
  • Inability to follow 2-step instructions
  • Little interest in interacting with other children

Signs in 4-Year-Olds

  • Inability to retell a simple story
  • Difficulty with basic self-care like getting dressed
  • Not using sentences of more than 3-4 words
  • Lack of interest in interactive games

Ways Busy Books Can Help Support Children With Developmental Delays

Communication and social skills.

Many children are often shy or reluctant in social situations. This can be enhanced if they’re also experiencing communication delay, whether reading, writing or speaking. Busy Books can help kids strengthen their communication skills through dialogue reading, as well as develop social skills and manners.

Therapists and parents can use Busy Books in an interactive way to help kids get involved in reading. By taking turns reading, they can read along as the other person reads aloud, and also increase their own communication skills. Aside from therapists and parents, siblings and peers can get involved in reading, further increasing their social skills by taking turns and bonding through reading.

Fine motor skills.

Children start to build their fine motor skills from just two months old, slowly learning to grasp objects, use their hands and eventually, read and write. Busy Books encourage kids to not only read, but use their hands to point, draw, trace, write and place objects, helping them increase their fine motor skills in a way that’s fun and engaging.

For example, the Alphabet, Numbers And Writing Skills Printed Busy Book includes activities where children are encouraged to copy the shapes of letters and numbers in a dedicated space. As their abilities grow, you may notice their grasping of the pencil, their ease of drawing characters and their spatial awareness drawing within the boxes improve. 


One parent said they noticed their child’s grip and stability with a pen improved within just 6 weeks…

“Our Busy Books have been a huge game changer since we received them 6 weeks ago! In this short time, we’ve seen so much positive change in our 4yo, James — improvement in concentration, problem solving skills, recognition of both upper and lower case letters and their sounds, even grip strength and stability with the pen,” Natalie Johnson 

Manage emotions.

If you feel like your child is delayed in their emotional development, Busy Books can help them learn empathy and be more self-aware. They not only learn different emotions, but adults can engage in conversation to encourage them to discuss when they may have felt happy, sad or angry, or give an example of when someone else showed that emotion. As children learn and connect with different emotions, they will begin to have a better understanding of what they and others are feeling.

The My Body Mindfulness Busy Book is the perfect book to help children with an emotional delay. In the book, children learn to identify certain emotions by seeing animated characters with facial expressions. They are then encouraged to match cut outs of these faces to the words later on to use their memory of these emotions. 

Critical thinking and problem solving.

Everything about Busy Books helps children develop their critical thinking and problem solving skills. This can help children who have trouble following instructions or solving a problem on their own. You can guide your child through the different activities, encouraging them to find the solution to the different puzzles.

The My Little Farm Busy Books is great for helping develop critical thinking and problem solving skills, as kids are encouraged to match different foot prints with the animal, such as a horseshoe to a horse or a paw print to a dog. You can take this one step further by asking what noise these animals make as they match them. 


Easily accessible.

Busy Books have been specifically designed to be accessible for as many parents, teachers and occupational therapists as possible. There are templates for teachers to be able to support students, printables for parents to be able to access anywhere and bundles to group together support for common delays. 

“When we were making Busy Books, we wanted to ensure they were affordable and attainable for all parents. This is why we make both printable and digital versions so you can use them wherever you are, and both are incredibly affordable too.”

Frequently Asked Questions

What is developmental delay?

Developmental delay is a term used to describe when a child does not reach motor, cognitive, social and/or emotional skill developmental milestones at the expected time. This may include a delay in speech, fine motor skills, walking, dressing themselves and more, depending on their age.

How to overcome developmental delays?

There are many methods of helping overcome developmental delays, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, early childhood special education, behavioural therapy and more. The type of support a child needs to overcome development delay depends on their age and particular delay. Busy Books can also be used by parents at home, in classrooms and in therapy to help with many types of developmental delay. 

Can developmental delay be corrected?

While many developmental delays can be resolved over time, there are ways to help children ‘catch up’ with those of a similar age. The sooner there is support given to the child and the delay, the better the chances of progress will be. This is why it’s important to speak to your paediatricians as soon as you notice any potential delays.

Can a child outgrow developmental delay?

In many cases, children ‘outgrow’ or catch up on developmental delays as they age. However, it’s important to discuss your options and your child’s individual progress with a medical professional to help them make progress.

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