Stop Worrying About Children Meeting Milestones
By Randi Morse
The internet is full of opinions about children. You can find articles about what you should name your child, how you should discipline them, and what you should feed them. One hot topic is childhood milestones. Milestones are considered to be the "benchmarks of normalcy." For a very long time, benchmarks have been a way to tell if your child is growing up "normal" or not. But are benchmarks a good thing to pay attention to, or are they something you shouldn't worry about?
Milestones Are Averages
When we see information from studies we tend to believe that they are the best source of information. After all, scientific studies have to be accurate, right? Well, sort of. Scientific studies are averages. For deciding what age a child should be walking, scientists could have gathered information from a hundred parents about when their children learned to walk and took the average. Some may have learned to walk earlier, others a little later, but when you read that your child should be walking at a year old, and your child hasn't walked yet, it's understandable that you'd panic, not realizing that some of the children in the study didn't walk until 14 months or even older.
Babies Learn Naturally
Almost everything a baby does helps them learn. Moving around and playing with toys helps them learn how their bodies work. Give a toddler a fork and they'll learn how to put the food in their mouth with the fork. What they do might be messy, and it might seem like they're learning slowly, but they are definitely learning, so don't worry if your baby or toddler takes some time to get things done perfectly.
Trust Your Instincts
Most parents have natural instincts when it comes to their children. You know if your child is sick with a little cold or if they have something that requires medical intervention. When it comes to benchmarks, trust your instincts. If you're concerned about your child not meeting benchmarks, have a conversation with their pediatrician. If your instincts are telling you that they're fine, however, maybe hold off on that visit for a little while. Experts also recommend that you avoid helicopter parenting. Allow your child to get a few bumps and bruises and to make a mess, it's how they learn and grow.
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