“Johnny just rolled over. Has Suzie rolled over yet?” If you have ever been with a group of new moms, you have probably heard a similar conversation. What are they discussing? They’re discussing developmental milestones. Nothing can send a new mom into a fit of worry over her baby’s development faster than a missed milestone. Before you start panicking about your baby’s development, learn a little more about milestones and what they mean for you.
“Johnny just rolled over. Has Suzie rolled over yet?” If you have ever been with a group of moms of young babies, you have probably heard a conversation similar to this one. What are they discussing? They are discussing developmental milestones. Nothing can send a new mom into a fit of worry over her baby’s development faster than a missed milestone. Before you start panicking about your baby’s development, learn a little more about milestones and what they mean for you.
Just What Are Developmental Milestones?
Developmental milestones are skills that babies and children learn. Research has shown that most babies will pick up certain skills around a certain age. These milestones are used by doctors to help identify how well a child is developing. This is why your child’s pediatrician will ask if your baby is smiling, laughing, rolling over, among other things. Your baby’s developmental skills fall into the following categories: Social – Cognitive – Gross Motor – Fine Motor – Language
There is typically an age range, not a specific age, in which a child should pick up a certain skill. For instance, most babies can sit up unassisted for a few moments between four and seven months of age.
What if My Baby Is Late?
Developmental milestones provide you with a guide to your child’s development. As a parent, you must realize that all babies and children are different. Though some children may both walk and talk early, others may master their gross motor skills early and begin talking much later than other children. If your child is a bit late reaching a milestone, do not panic. Do what you can to encourage her to learn that skill, but let her develop at her own pace.
With that being said, if your child is consistently delayed to reach her milestones, you should talk to her doctor. Often, it is not a cause for concern however, if your child does need help, most states provide access to early learning programs to help your baby catch up to the milestones. Early intervention is the key to helping a child with a true developmental delay.
My Baby Is Ahead – Is He a Genius?
Some babies develop certain skills early. They may be walking earlier than all other children or even talking in proper-sounding sentences before their first birthday. This can indicate that they are advanced, but this is not always the case. Many times all it means is that they reached a milestone ahead of their peers. As a proud parent, keep nurturing your child’s strengths yet be careful to not push her too hard to continue an accelerated pace – let her enjoy childhood. If he is a genius, there will be plenty of time to tap into that knowledge later.
Avoid the Comparing Game
As a parent it is easy to compare your baby to other babies around you. Just because your best friend’s baby was walking by age one does not mean your baby needs to be. Remember, your baby is an individual, with individual tastes, strengths, and weaknesses. Let her develop at her own pace, intervening only when your doctor feels it will help. She will soon blossom into the delightful child you are imagining!