Nothing is more frustrating than watching your child learn and grow without hitting those major milestones other parents discuss with glee. It can be difficult to hear your fellow moms and dads discuss their kids’ advanced capabilities when your child is moving forward a bit slowly. But don’t lay awake at night wondering when your child’s first steps will be. There is plenty of reason to relax when it comes to the exact timing of your child’s milestones.
Gross Motor Development
Every parent gets hit with the same question over and over again when their children are small: “Is he crawling? Is he walking?” For parents of kids who are slow to get down on all fours and even more reticent to stand up and walk on two feet, this question is cringe-worthy. Parents shouldn’t despair if their child isn’t crawling at the “typical” 7 to 8 months or walking by her first birthday. The University of Missouri-Columbia released research showing that 90% of babies crawl between 5 and 11 months, and walk between 9 and 17 months. “Typical” turns out to have a much wider range than we tend to believe.
Fine Motor Skills
Again, the range for what is typical is quite broad when it comes to fine motor skills. According to the previously mentioned study, babies may stack two blocks as early as 10 months or as late as 19 months, and may not scribble with a crayon until 21 months. Many children simply don’t develop fine motor skills rapidly, because they are focused on other things, like gross motor activities for instance. Ask your daycare provider what kinds of activities your child gravitates toward throughout the day. Other kids may have perfectly treatable issues such as low muscle tone. If your child is a little late to the crayons and markers game, fear not. If she doesn’t seem to have mastered the pincer grasp by her first birthday, run it by her pediatrician, but she may just need a bit more time.
Parents are always eager to hear their children’s first words, and when a child begins to speak in phrases and sentences, it can quickly topple communications barriers that affect their relationships with others, mood, and coping mechanisms. Most children say their first words by the time they turn one year of age, and will have at least ten words by 18 months. They start stringing words together into phrases by age 2. If your child isn’t hitting these milestones, he may just need a bit more time, or there may be a variety of complex factors at play. Speech therapists can work wonders at getting kids to speed up the mental, emotional, and physical processes that work together to create speech in children this young.
Don’t spend time worrying that your child isn’t keeping up with other kids his age. Enjoy the moments you have with your young child, as you’ll never get this age back again. If you can’t dismiss your worries, speak with your child’s pediatrician, and she may be able to alleviate your fears or refer you to a specialist who can get your child up to speed.