< 1 min read
Most parents become fixated on all the things their baby “should be doing” especially at that baby to toddler stage. It’s another story when they encounter other kids of the same age who are seemingly way ahead.
Let’s encourage a mom or dad today.
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My second child was nearly 6 weeks premature and I initially found it quite distressing that they did not meet their developmental milestones in a textbook manner. This was until the paediatrician reminded me that my child was actually ahead of the curve for their biological age (i.e. the age they would have been if the pregnancy had gone to full term). As both my kids grew older, there were some milestones that they hit ahead of time, some where they were right on time, and some where they were a bit behind their peers and I realised that this is completely normal.
I think that sometimes, the child's temperament dictates whether or not they hit their milestones on time. A laid back easy going child might not be in a hurry to walk, while an energetic baby might roll over sooner than expected.
I would advise parents to trust their healthcare providers as they deal with many kids and have a good idea of when you need to worry. At the same time though, trust your instincts - if your baby or toddler is happy and content, but a bit behind with their milestones you probably don't need to worry. However, if your baby is not very responsive, doesn't engage with others, or seems niggly or always unsettled, then seek medical advice.
Joining parenting groups or Moms and Tots groups can help to reassure you that every child is different and that given time, most children develop with no major problems.
As a parent it can be so difficult not to compare your child's milestones to others. Most parents want to know if their child is 'on track' or if there are some interventions that could help - such as speech therapy or occupational therapy .
As an educator, i believe early intervention can do wonders for some children so it is good to identify if a child is not quite where they should be developmentally. That being said, there is a very wide range of 'normal' and some children will naturally hit milestones slower than others.
My best advice is to seek support if worried, but also accept that your child is wonderfully capable and competent regardless of where they are at developmentally. In the early years, play with your child, read to them often and engage in conversations. All these things are amazing for supporting speech and literacy development.
I agree that support is what is needed for parents along with some reassurance that they are doing a great job!
I love this. I have a friend who was really stressing over not hitting milestones. I have three kids, and I told her with my latest I wasn't even concerned (or really aware!) of what milestones she was and wasn't hitting. I know I can speak from experience and that's hard to relate to when you're dealing with your first.
I assured her that this is what pediatricians are here for and why we have to fill out all that paperwork each appointment. They are on top of the milestones and if something is off, they will let you know. But after three kids, I've learned it is completely normal for children to be hitting milestones at different times.
I remember wanting my little ones to walk ASAP...and they did. My two boys walked SO early. By #3, I was so happy that she was a delayed walker because walking babies are stressful! You have to keep an eye on them, they explore things like stairs, and it's a little bit more work.
Experience helps you keep this perspective in place and something you learn overtime. I think the encouragement helps with new parents.