If you’re like most parents, you are probably tracking your child’s every move with a close eye. You probably also have an app or other tools to help navigate through these milestones. Again, if you’re like most parents you also begin obsessing, worrying and panicking when your child doesn’t hit these developmental milestones on time. “He is 1 and a half years old and still hasn’t begun walking, should I be worried?” is often a phrase uttered by most parents. However, we are here to tell you that obsessing over when one hits these milestones is often unnecessary.
1. Every kid moves at a different pace
Most moms tend to obsess and worry over these milestones because of this unhealthy concept we still succumb to - comparison. Anxiety over milestones builds when you hear a neighbour or a friend talk about how her child has started walking at 12 months while your child is 14 months old and still hasn’t begun walking. Your concern is completely understandable and valid even. However, one key thing parents tend to forget is that children develop at different paces. Every child is different and hence their pace in development is also different. Fun fact: Twins too attain milestones at different times. So stop comparing your child to another and allow him to develop at his own pace.
2. No child is superior or inferior based on how early they attain their milestones
As mentioned earlier, children do move at different paces. This, however, does not mean that child who has begun walking or talking earlier than another child will grow up to be the better or smarter child. This is a common misconception a parent tends to have. Apart from extremely rare cases like autism, more often than not, the age a child attains his milestone in no way predicts the child’s social or mental abilities.
3. Stop relying on unqualified strangers for perspective
If you are still extremely worried about the delay in milestones, seek an expert’s advice. Don’t rely on unqualified strangers even if they have experience in motherhood to tell you that if your child has a slow development, he will also be a slow learner. Gain perspective by talking to your paediatrician, who has studied this field in and out, to give you advice or suggestions regarding your child’s growth. Doctors meet hundreds of children who are about the age of your child, by speaking to him you will realise that there are a lot of children of about the same age as you child whose developmental pace is similar and that is definitely not a cause for worry.
4. Focus on building other skills
As parents instead of focussing on the mainstream milestones like walking and talking, try to engage your child in activities that could build other skills. Engaging in play or taking him to a daycare centre where he could learn to interact with other children helps expose the child to different environments. By talking to your paediatrician, you should be able to learn of ways to expose and teach your child other things which would contribute to his holistic development rather than just milestone development.