So, we all read Google and the moment you type ‘Developmental Milestones’ you will get innumerable websites talking about when your child should attain the necessary skill. And when our children fall even slightly behind, we start panicking!
So let me first clear some misconceptions about Developmental Milestones.
⁃ They are a guideline: these milestones are a general guideline and are not absolute. Some skills may be attained sooner and some later. It is not to be treated like writing in stone.
⁃ Individual differences: There are differences in the development of each domain. Babies may develop the requisite cognitive skills but may be slow on the physical or motor skills or vice versa. Gender differences also play a role.
⁃ Stimulation is important, overstimulation is detrimental: For any skill to develop, the requisite environment must be present. However, do not force your child to do things he is unable to do. Overstimulation doesn’t help rather it confuses the child.
⁃ Do not compare: Every child has his own developmental trajectory. Comparing with peers will only make you more nervous as a parent. This anxiety is sure to reflect on the child as well.
Do not panic if a child has not attained the particular month’s milestones. Each child is different and each child blooms differently.
The important thing to note is that if the child is ‘developing’ along the trajectory.
However, having said this, it is also important to have a general idea of when a child reaches which milestone. This will help in early identification of developmental delays. If you feel that there is a delay, do speak to your paediatrician. If there is a serious concern, early intervention goes a long way in rehabilitation and making the child adaptable and functional.