Just How Important Is Being “Normal” When It Comes To Milestones?

Editor’s Note: This article is being re-posted with permission from our friends at pleaseandcarrots.com!

milestoneMost new parents read every book and website to make sure their baby is meeting developmental milestones. And…admit it…you sneak looks at other babies to see how their development compares to your own bundle of love! But, how important is it for children to hit every milestone at exactly the time predicted? Monitoring milestones is an important way to ensure a child’s normal development, however the timeline for achieving each milestone is not an exact science — so let’s remove the mystery! These three tips teach you everything you need to know:

TIP #1: Respect the Range

There is always an age-range, rather than specific age, for when any milestone should be reached. The range can be as short as a few weeks (e.g. rolling over can happen anytime between four and six months), or it could be much longer (e.g. walking can happen anywhere from nine to fourteen months). Also, preemies and multiples often hit milestones later than other kids, but then catch up during the toddler years. This is why it is important not to compare your child to others. And remember, earlier is not better–it is about their individual pace.

TIP #2: You need to crawl before you walk…sometimes

Some babies skip one milestone on their way to another. For example, not all babies crawl—they may move from creeping to standing and walking, missing crawling completely. That is okay!

TIP #3: It is a straight line

The key to healthy development is that a child continues to move forward until the milestone is reached — even if slowly. If a child fails to reach a milestone within the expected range, or if the milestone is reached and then lost, it could be a sign of developmental delay. If you’re concerned, don’t panic, but don’t wait to speak to your pediatrician (who may refer you to a developmental specialist). The earlier a child receives early intervention for delays, the more likely she is to catch up and therapies can be provided beginning in early infancy.

Dr. Susan Bartell is a nationally recognized child and parenting psychologist, consultant and author in New York. She is also a renowned speaker, lecturing widely on a broad range of topics relating to child development and parenting; she is also an expert for Please & Carrots. This post was originally posted on pleaseandcarrots.com. You can learn more about Dr. Bartell at drsusanbartell.com.