Boston Children’s Museum’s centennial theme in June is “Stories.” In this month’s Tasty Tuesday program, we will talk about child development milestones over some healthy snacks and a story for children. Child development milestones are just like stories about a child. Everyone hits the milestones differently; some might even skip a certain milestone (yes, I know someone who went from crawling to running!). Instead of worrying about developmental delays or what other children of the same age can do, you can look at it as your child’s story of development. Does the story make you smile?
- Developmental milestones are guides, not a set-in-stone path.
During the first few years of children’s lives, they have so many skills to acquire. Skills such as talking, sitting up, and walking are developmental milestones. Developmental milestones can be used as a guideline to know when your child should be performing certain skills. However, these milestones often happen at a wide range of times and are not set in stone. Children are trying to learn so many new skills at the same time. So, if another child is walking and your child isn’t, it does not always mean that your child is experiencing developmental delays. If you are concerned, you can certainly talk to your child’s pediatrician, teachers, or local early intervention centers.
- Achieving milestones is not always smooth sailing.
Your child mastered a skill and seemed to have lost it for a little while. There was a period of time when your child was so cranky that she drove you crazy. These are common scenarios for a lot of families. Why do these things happen? When children are mastering new skills, their brains are telling them to keep pushing. With their brains so alert and focused on achieving a new milestone, children sometimes experience difficulties staying asleep and might even regress for a short period of time. These are all normal behaviors, and your child should go back to family routines soon after she masters the skill that she has been working on.
- Your child’s milestones are your child’s stories.
Milestones can be stressful because it is easy to compare your child to another child. But child development is not a race. Within an appropriate range, it’s normal that your child might be faster or slower to learn certain skills. You’ll often see a big difference even among siblings. So instead of comparing your child’s development to others, let’s think about it as his first life story. What were the signs of your child’s getting ready to walk before he took the first step? Maybe there was a lot of falling and a period of standing on his knees. Maybe a big “step” in his development was when he figured out how to hold on to tables, chairs or even you in order to test out those legs. Each milestone is a story that you get to tell about your child as they develop and mature. Write these stories down, because they’re tales that you will want to tell for years to come.