While Kate Middleton and Prince William have been meeting hundreds of new people on their eight-day tour of Canada covering a wide range of visits from cultural events in Whitehorse to a flight centre in Vancouver, children Prince George and Princess Charlotte have been having a quieter time.
First-born George, three, and 16-month-old Charlotte are both at critical ages where their brains are developing by the day. It is not surprising that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge want to keep their little ones away from the media frenzy for the majority of their stay. But today (29 September), auspicious Canadians will be treated to a glimpse of the royal tots as they will make an appearance at the Childrens Military Party with local families at Government House.
Here, it is rumoured that Princess Charlotte will demonstrate her walking skills for the very first time. Hopefully the little one wont be put off by the number of eyes cast upon her – but childcare expert and best-selling author Shane Dunphy has his doubts.
He told IBTimes UK: Charlotte, who is starting to toddle, will need a familiar environment to manoeuvre, for instance, and George will probably have favourite toys and comfort objects he will want to help him sleep in a strange place.
But what is exactly going on in the brain of a 16-month-old when they first begin to walk?
Dunphy explained: Learning to walk happens around the same time as developing language and potty training, all of which help a child to feel more in control and more autonomous.
Think about it: up to this point in a childs life, they are totally dependent on a parent or older sibling to interpret what their needs are from cries, facial expressions and body language. Now, for the first time, the child can express specific wants for themselves, and actually implement the actions required to get the toy, item of food (or get to the potty if that is the issue) they wish.
This means that William and Kate may be fast adapting to little Charlottes growing abilities. Dunphy added: This can often bring with it an increased frustration if parents or carers do not act as quickly as the child might wish – now that they can act for themselves, their patience can be limited.
A milestone in every childs life, first steps are not to be underestimated. He continued: All childcare gurus agree that this is one of the most fundamentally important stages in any childs life.
Negotiating it successfully will have huge benefits on the individual as an adult – this is the stage that can help instill a sense of personal confidence, pride in a job well done, self-belief and esteem. Not giving enough positivity can leave a child feeling unworthy and lacking.
Dunphy also believes that the old saying of nothing good comes from spoiling a child may be a myth after all.
He said: Lots of praise and plenty of rewards should be lavished on a child as they negotiate the difficult landscape of this period of development. Plenty of attention should be lavished on the child. Ideas about spoiling are now known to be outmoded and obsolete – a parent cannot give their child too much attention as they take those first delicate steps.
Hopefully, despite the challenges such a delicate diplomatic mission will involve, Will and Kate will find the time to give their little girl all the reinforcement she needs, he added.
The royals will return to their home base of Victoria as they near the end of their week-long visit and will no doubt enjoy a relaxing day meeting families at a childrens party – where Prince George and Princess Charlotte will steal the attention away from Kate Middletons sartorial choice.
The affair, hosted by Government House, will feature young members of the local 4-H club and their animals. Several local military families are on the guest list – who have loved ones deployed on land, air and sea missions. After the event, the royal family will spend the rest of the day in private.
Shane Dunphys latest book, The Boy They Tried to Hide, is available to buy on Amazon.