Why Developmental Milestones Matter

As a first time mom, I was beside myself. Why wasn’t he walking yet? His best friend and playmate had been walking for weeks already, and Jonah was still on all fours crawling beside him. Was there something wrong with him? Will this hinder his success later on? What was it that I was doing or not doing that was hindering his success?

My would-be tiger parenting right after my child’s first birthday was going overboard. I needed to stop consulting Dr. Google and just let my child be – in fact, he did start walking later that week. The balance where my child should be and where he actually is, is a balance I’m still learning to walk. Here are the main points to know about milestones:

  • Children reach milestones in how they play, learn, speak, act, and move (crawling, walking, etc.), according to the CDC. Milestones are used by medical and educational professionals as well as parents alike to measure the progress of their child.
  • You are the expert on your child. If you think there may be a problem in one or more areas of development, do not wait. The chances for success are always increased when there is early intervention. Talk to your pediatrician to see whether going to a specialist for additional testing is warranted. Some other professionals that they may advise you and your child to see are: developmental pediatrician, neuropsychologist, or speech or occupational therapist.
  • Listen to others who see your child in other environments. It’s important to look at your child as a whole, and if your child is attending a preschool or other school-like environment, reach out to his/her teacher to see what their thoughts are. Many times here at school we see behaviors that mom and dad don’t see and vice versa. A classroom setting can offer another perspective on your child, so it’s important to team up with your teacher(s) to discuss your child’s development. They will be in school for God knows how long, so having a positive rapport with your child’s teacher is important.

I’ve heard some parents say that they don’t care about developmental milestones; their child can and will learn at their own pace. But it’s important to continue to be aware of whether they’re just a little behind or a lot behind. Sometimes the more time that is spent on waiting for areas of development to catch up, is time that could be otherwise spent on decreasing the gap in skills.

On the other hand, the importance of early childhood development cannot be overstated. The emotional, social, physical, language, and even spiritual development of young children has a direct effect on their overall development and on the adult they will become. If early intervention takes place, your child can get the support they need, and the better chance for success.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”- Jeremiah 29:11

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