Milestones - How important are they to you?

Ez - posted on 09/23/2010 ( 50 moms have responded )

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My daughter just finished her first term of Essential Moves Play Gym (like Gymbaroo, Kindagym etc) and we got a handout as we left yesterday. It lists mainly developmental and some physical milestones expected of a 2yo. I have copied the main ones below :

* Use more than one toy at a time
* Imitate people around them
* Follow two-step commands
* Form two or three word sentences
* Use words to express their feelings
* Tell stories, real and pretend
* Put things back where they go
* Identify pictures in books
* Use a spoon
* Engage in simple pretend play
* Use at least 50 recognisable words
* Understand over 300 words
* Refer to themselves by name
* Pick up objects as small as a crumb
* Climb stairs holding onto the railing
* Throw a small ball
* Jump with two feet
* Able to ride a 4-wheeled bike

My question is, how much emphasis do you put on your child meeting all of these milestones at the specified time. My daughter is not quite 20 months, but has been early to do everything and can well and truly do all of these things on the list (her vocab is so extreme by friend calls her the freaky baby lol). But my nephews and friend's son (all within a month in age of Milla) are nowhere near many of these tasks. To an untrained observer (ie, me) they seem to be perfectly normal kids, but going by this list (and many others like it) they are falling behind.

Just curious as to what everyone thinks of guidelines for milestones. Obviously there are cases where there is clearly an issue, either physically or developmentally, so I'm interested to know which milestones you think are most important in this regard.

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Lindsay - posted on 09/27/2010

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I think that the set milestones are very important. They give you a real and reasonable range to when the children should be doing certain things and if nothing else, can make you more aware if your child is not hitting them on time. Yes, some kids may hit them earlier or later but it's a good chance to see exactly what your child should be doing. It can make you evaluate the situation and think about why your child hasn't done something yet. Is it because they haven't been encouraged or given the opportunity to try it? Or is there something else going on that may need outside assistance to achieve?

I know that personally, I have found the milestones as a helpful guide for both of my children. When my daughter hit her first birthday and wasn't yet walking, I wondered if there was a problem. But in finding out that kids should be walking between 9-18 months, it gave me some peace of mind that she wasn't behind and sure enough right before she was 13 months old, she took her first steps. Now with my son, he was consistantly hitting his physical milestones on the early side of the spectrum but not his verbal skills. The milestone charts gave me an idea of how many words he should have and it verified my worries with his speech. He had fluid on his ear drums that was there for who knows how long and everything he heard was muffles and sounded similar to hearing under water. He had no ear infections so that was not an indictator that something was wrong there. He responded to noises so again, it lead us away from thinking he was having difficulty hearing. But luckily with the milestone standards there, it was able to raise that red flag. And it made it easier to reach out and get the help he needed.

I guess with my rambling I'm just trying to get out that the set milestones are there for a reason and shouldn't be ignored. They can offer relief in this day where people are pushing for genius babies. It can also give you flags to look further into something that you may or may not be concerned about. If nothing else, if your child is not meeting something it should be brought to the doctor's attention. Being proactive is a good thing.

Krista - posted on 09/23/2010

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I think that with milestones, you have to keep looking at the big picture. One month, they might be focusing more on physical development, so their verbal development might lag a bit. A few months later, their verbal development is accelerating, but they've hit pause on their fine motor skills. I think that as long as overall, they're hitting that checklist within a reasonable timeframe, then it's all good.

And yes, it is awful when mothers start playing the "Oh, your baby is 12 months and isn't walking yet? MY little girl was walking at 9 months" game. I hate that stuff.

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I'm gonna say one more thing.



When it comes to a child talking early, I think it's assumed that they're above average intelligence or "advanced" but I don't necessarily think that's the case. I think because they're talking it's easier to communicate sometimes and people may assume they're smarter. Just because a kid isn't talking doesn't mean they're less intelligent or "behind". Roxanne has been stringing together sentences and talking clearly since about 18 months but it drives me nuts when everyone tells her how smart she is or implies that she's advanced. She's not....at least not in my opinion and I think it sets her up for failure and disappointment to focus on that stuff too early.

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I think they're guidelines. I don't think they should be ignored but I also don't believe there needs to be SO much emphasis put on them. I've seen too many moms, especially on here, that compare notes and it can get ugly. I think we need to refer to them as a checklist for ourselves as a reference. I don't know about everyone else but at all Roxanne's doctors visits her doc would go through a checklist. THAT is the time and place to deal with them.

P.S. Just for the record, not that it matters much but since you brought it up...lmao....Roxanne JUST turned 2 and can do all of them as well. GO MILLA!

Amie - posted on 09/23/2010

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I take the milestones seriously. It's helped to detect issues with my children. Our oldest two both have hearing issues. Our oldest has ADHD. Our 3rd has been on target or ahead her entire life. Our youngest is ahead in all things (she is already doing a few of the things mentioned in the list) but her vocabulary, I've already filled out the paperwork to have her assessed. She may not need it but better safe than sorry, especially when it comes to my children.



One of my best friends fought for 3 years to get her son diagnosed. Because she fought so hard though he's finally catching up to other children his age. He may never be fully on par with them but he's where he should be. He has Apraxia. Maybe if his doctors didn't brush off her concerns he would have had help sooner.



I have another online friend, who I met through a support group for kids with ADHD. She did not know what was wrong with her son but suspected ADHD. It wasn't. She waited so long to get him help though, he's ended up in a boarding school for children like him. He has Asperbergers. Maybe if he had intervention sooner he would still be at home with his family.



Within my own family people have ignored warning signs. It's failed their children. Those family members are now and probably always will, struggle with the issues they have.



I take milestones seriously because they are there for a reason. Yes they are guidelines but if their are warning signs, get them checked! I don't understand why parents don't do this or poo poo it away. I would rather be an over cautious parent, than a sorry parent.

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LaCi - posted on 10/05/2010

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He's 2. 27 months. He's finally progressing in the speech department so it doesn't bother me much anymore. I was completely freaking out for a while lol. I do think other kids would help the process, so I'm thinking of sticking him in play pits just for the hell of it.

Charlie - posted on 09/30/2010

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I think with talking its important not to focus on the one milestone , many children were not talking at our sister daycare by two years but it was never a worry unless it was coupled with other delays , some kids take longer .

Stifler's - posted on 09/30/2010

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How old is your kid Laci? My brother was 3 before he talked because he had us to talk for him and would just point and we'd know what he wanted. mum was frustrated about it but as soon as he got going to school he took off and had to talk to the other kids and he's one of the smartest kids in the class. I know A LOT of people who's kids refuse to talk yet.

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Erin thats exactly why think my friend is worried about. More of how she will be seen but not enough about the child ( don't get me wrong she adores and loves her children more than anything else)
Thanks for the link Loureen i'm going to go have a read now :)

LaCi - posted on 09/30/2010

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Form two or three word sentences
* Use words to express their feelings
* Use at least 50 recognisable words
Refer to themselves by name

These are my issues. My son is NOT a talker. Bugs the shit out of me sometimes. Mostly because he can but he wont usually. He has said "No, (daddy, mommy), " "I love you, " "good boy" and "go bye bye" pretty frequently lately, so I guess those are sentences. He's still only using about 20 words that I can recognize though.

The rest of that he's done for a long while now. I do pay attention to milestones, only because of his hatred for talking. I feel the need to make sure he's on track with everything else, and he's usually ahead of the game with all the other stuff. If I could just get the punk to talk! He's been doing better lately though. Still not as well as I'd like, but not much I can do about that. Anyway, doc said he's doing so well otherwise it's not cause for concern.

Ez - posted on 09/30/2010

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Geez Shannon I don't blame you for being concerned!! That is the sort of example that is CLEARLY an indication of some sort of problem (even if that problem is easily fixed).

I saw a friend today who's little boy was 2 in August. He says 3 words - mum, dad and bye. That's it. Her sister (also my friend) and her mother have both expressed their concern and urged her to get him checked, but she won't listen. It's like she thinks admitting there may be a problem is in some way a reflection of both his intelligence and her parenting - neither of which are true!!

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Loureen, I know what you mean. I have said to her that it worries me but she just dismisses it and then suprisingly a day later he has 15 new words but then when we go to see her ( usually stay for a few nights) he still doesn't talk or walk or anything new. This little boy also flaps hands and avoids eye contact and doesn't engage with the other kids when they are playing he also turns cars over and just spins there wheels. But she just wont listen not even to her family who have all told her they are worried as well! :(

Charlie - posted on 09/30/2010

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Shannon THAT is a worry !



Alarm bells should be sounding but some parents can find it hard to see these things , i had a friend whos child wasnt talking at all by 3 and doing other worrysome things flapping hands , avoiding eye contact it , finally she was confronted about it and she took him to the doctors he is now in OT , sometimes they just need a little nudge for the good of the child even if it means losing the friendship for a little while .

Stifler's - posted on 09/30/2010

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I was a bit worried about the crawling thing. My 5 month old rolled until 7.5 months and then finally started to sit up on his own and started crawling and 2 weeks after he started crawling he was pulling himself up. Some of the guidelines really scare people if their kid is like 2 weeks behind or something that's why there's such negativity but I agree there are a fair few kids out there that are way behind and it is cause for concern.

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"I guess the point of this thread was to try and get an idea of when we should start to worry."

I have a friend thats son turns 2 in november. He doesn't walk doesn't talk and doesn't feed himself at all let alone with a spoon. He didn't crawl untill well after 1 and only just started in the last month to cruise the furniture. I am worried for her. She has taken her son to the Dr and they have all said he is fine even though he does NOTHING on that checklist. Because thats the answer she wants to hear she hasn't ever gone back and asked again.
I think these 'guidelines' are important. Both of my children met all of the guidelines well before they are 'ment' to. They are in no way little genius'. My daughter at nearly 4 has only just really figured out how to ride her trike so she has evened out. My son on the other hand is still leaps and bounds ahead of other children his age but it's not becasue they are smart its because they have me spend time with them. 90% of people i know with kids the same age as mine spend a LOT of time on their computer and plonking there kids in front of the telly.
These Guidelines are great but thats all they are.

Petra - posted on 09/28/2010

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As a general guideline, they fully serve their purpose. There are some pretty generous allowances in there for the "norm" so if your little one is late on the "normal" time-frame for a milestone, like pretty much everyone is saying, have it checked out, but don't freak out or assume the worst.

I've seen the competitive nature of first-time and young moms a lot, and about a really, really silly issue. I know quite a few moms with their first child and our little ones are pretty close in age. Most of the babies I'm referring to started teething around 6 months. My son didn't until just after 8 months. He would smile and laugh, showcasing those lovely gums, and I would get jaw-dropping stares and incredulous "he's not teething yet!?! Mine had two teeth by the time they were his age" comments. Dude, its teething - not something he or I have any say in, lol. There is this weird insecurity inherent in a lot of first time moms where, if their baby is ahead of another baby in a completely arbitrary milestone, their baby is better somehow.

Stifler's - posted on 09/27/2010

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I agree they are there for a reason. I think people who are older and have kids don't remember the real age their kids did things and try to scare us too. My grandma told me my mum was sitting up at 3 months, pffft.

Nikki - posted on 09/27/2010

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Being an early childhood educator milestones are pretty drummed into my brain, while I am aware of them, I try not to focus on them too much, I don't want to push my daughter. I am all for encouraging and facilitating her development but I don't want to get obsessive if she is slightly behind with something. Most children get there in the end. I will keep an eye on it enough to make sure there are no developmental delays, but other than that it's not something I focus on.

Stifler's - posted on 09/27/2010

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Who cares. My kid doesn't clap his hands but he is pulling himself up on things.

Erin - posted on 09/24/2010

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I pay attention to when my son hits a milestone, but only because i am excited that he is learning something new and I want to be able to capture it on camera, video, or make sure I write it his baby book. He hits some early and some late (according to the average) but I haven't found a reason for concern yet. If I think there is something he should be doing by a certain age and he isn't yet, I will ask his doctor. But for me I love watching him hit each milestone, usually looking up with a big grin, and seeing him grow.

Jenni - posted on 09/24/2010

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I cared more about them with my first. Mostly out of curiousity. For his physical milestones he was always an early achiever. With cognitive he was right on time or early. My daughter is pretty early for both physical and cognitive. So I'm never really concerned about them being "behind". I'll look them up to see what they'll be doing next :)

I think the charts can be sometimes difficult to read. A lot will tell you that 12 months is the average age to walk but will leave out that it is completely normal for your child to walk anywhere from 9-18 months. That's quite a long average so many parents may become unnecessarily concerned if their child is not walking by 12 months. I have seen many posts: "11 month old not walking yet?!" Well, yeah that's still earlier than the average. I find the lists to be a bit misleading in this way causing parents to become worried that there is something 'wrong' with their child when the child is perfectly normal. I mean we're parents we worry if our newborn doesn't have a poo in 24 hours of course we're going to worry if the chart says they will sit by 6 months and they still aren't sitting by 8 months.

Tara - posted on 09/24/2010

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First off milestones are an average. They are designed so that parents can recognize a potential problem and seek their doctor's advice.
Second, I think some parents take them too seriously. All my kids hit all the milestones early except my 2nd and 3rd who were both late talkers (by milestone standards). All that meant to me was that they fell out of the "average" slightly. Okay by me, :)
I do think sometimes they initiate a competitive attitude among mothers (mostly new ones with only 1 child and usually young moms, just my average observation though, lol).
All babies will develop differently. It's our job to watch and trust our gut instincts about our babies development. All my babies walked by 10 months way before the milestone, by brothers kids didn't walk until 18 months. I encouraged walking, his ex put her kids in swings, jumpers, play rings, play pens etc. ALL the time. So the milestone doesn't even come into play there!
Tara

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First child the were important i knew no better, second time around i allowed her to grow and develop in her time and most importantly her way.Its amazing to watch and see how much the can do when left to explore on there blanket on the floor.I dont put a lot into what shes doing and what shes not but my children were seen to others as quick advanced or early developers.They do get there and the do hit there milestones if allowed to do so in there way unless there is a reason why there not hitting them.Then i would be concerned.With the usual talking and walking and strength by a certain age or a mth or two after the guideline to make sure its not just a late developer issue.

I find many parents sense when something is wrong or not right with there baby,child..many times if we see something is off there parent is aware and either senses its okay and turns out perfectly fine or the have already said it to there doctor and not told others.There is also parents who wont say it to the doctor but it will be picked up by teachers, playschools &doctor.That's why bringing your child to all there check ups is vital.You should never miss them.Many parents can delay there concern or put it off to late developer and cause problems for there child.

Sarah - posted on 09/24/2010

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I think milestones are important, but I also think that some people worry about them too much. They're not something that's set in stone, they're subjective.

I think if I looked at a set of milestones for a certain age, and my child wasn't meeting any of them (or very few) then I would get it looked into. If they were meeting most or all them, then it wouldn't cause me concern about the ones they couldn't do.

My two girls both hit there milestones within the usual timeline, but at different times, for example, Cadence walked at about 10months, whereas Shia didn't walk until she'd turned one. Shia talked first though.

I think it's important to take notice of milestones, but as I said before, I don't think that most of the time it's anything to get too worked up over. :)

Amie - posted on 09/23/2010

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Joy,
With the hearing issues it was very apparent. They were behind in their speech. We watched them and it steadily got worse. We knew the issue was with their ears, so eventually they both ended up with tubes. Nicole when she was 3 and Jonathan when he was 2. Jonathan got his sooner because his speech was a lot farther behind then hers was.

With the ADHD, it is NOT something that can (or should) be diagnosed before they are at least 6 or 7 with one solid year of school behind them. I see this mistake maken a lot, especially on here. =S By the time they are this age, any toddler tendencies that seem like ADHD are behind them. They have a year of another adult observing them and giving an unbiased view. With Nicole, we suspected in kindergarten, she was slightly off from the rest of the children. So we talked to her doctor, who referred her to a specialist who only deals with children with ADD/ADHD. That appointment led me to the above statement, he would not diagnose her until she had a year of school, had her teachers observations and was the appropriate age. As a toddler we never even really thought about it. She was a kid and was active, most kids are.

Becky,

Yes I'm in Canada. I don't mind the public health nurses but it depends on who's working that day. Some of them are real bears. =S My son used to stutter too, though perhaps for a different reason. He has a tendency to get too worked up, his brain moves faster than his mouth does is how the lady who tested him explained it. So he'd get stuck on a word, letter or part of a sentence.. he'd repeat it at least half a dozen times before he got it all out. He's fine, we just had to work with him to calm down, think it through before he starts and then talk slowly.

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As someone who has their Early Childhood Education diploma (2 year college course) milestones are important and not important all at the same time. Mainly because they are more fluid then most people are led to believe, meaning that some children will hit the milestones sooner, right on target or later then others. It depends on their interests, their learning style and environment.
They are helpful because there are some definitive lines about certain milestones that they should have achieved by a certain age and if they haven't it does not hurt to look into why the child hasn't reached them.
There is nothing wrong with how you parent if a child is not meeting milestones due to some sort of mental/physical issue that was not readily prevalent. The sooner they get the support and help needed to achieve or work toward the missing milestones, the better.

They are a guideline and it's not the end of the world or a reflection of you or an implication that your child is less if they aren't meeting the man dated milestones all at once.

My son is behind in speech, but his fine motor and gross motor skills are that of a 3 year old. His comprehension is good, his hearing is fine and what words he does use or understandable. So I am not worried. I know the words will come when he is ready.

Becky - posted on 09/23/2010

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Really, Joy? My son, who is 2 1/2, repeats things until I acknowledge what he's said too, and I'm 99.9 % certain he is not autistic! Although he will repeat the whole sentence, not just a word. I have noticed just lately that he has started stuttering a bit and also repeating end sounds of words sometimes - mostly the "t" sound, like "not t t t t" It worries me a bit, but I think things like that are normal at this age. He just gets so excited sometimes!
Amie, you're in Canada, right? I personally like going to the health nurses better than to my doctor. I generally find them much more helpful and informative.

Becky - posted on 09/23/2010

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I pretty much agree with everyone else. It's important to take milestones seriously, but not to freak out over them. It's also important to remember that children are going to excel in different areas. They may meet physical milestones more quickly than they meet verbal ones, or vice versa. My nephew didn't crawl until he was 13 months old and didn't walk until he was 19 months old. I think we were all worried, and to be honest, he still (at 3 1/2) lags a bit in gross motor skills, although it's not a major concern now. But the kid can do puzzles like nobody's business - seriously, he can do a puzzle that's intended for a 6-7 year old child by himself, and has been able to draw recognizable shapes since before he was 3. He'll probably never be a star athlete, but clearly, his fine motor skills are above average.
You also have to take into account that kids do develop at their own pace. I was worried about Cole because he was only saying a handful of words at 18 months, and my niece had been speaking in full sentences by then! I did talk to the health nurse about it and did some research and discovered that he was actually normal. And now, at 31 months, nevermind 3-4 word sentences, the kid speaks in freaking paragraphs, and very clearly too. Incidentally, when we took his pacifier away, his vocabulary seriously doubled within about a week!
You need to take the context into account too - there may be some milestones that children have not met, simply because they haven't had the opportunity to meet them. The only thing on that list Cole can't do is ride a 4 wheel bike, and that is because, 1. he doesn't have one, and 2, he's only ever ridden his trike on the grass, and it's harder to push the pedals on the grass!
But of course, if you're noticing that there are a lot of milestones your child isn't meeting, or that they're meeting them much, much later than "average," it's important to talk to your doctor about it.

Charlie - posted on 09/23/2010

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Sorry if i misspelled and misplaced words in my last post i would edit it but i cant be arsed ....

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I'm sleepy and haven't read all of the other posts but I wanted to say that I have always been aware of the milestones but have never used them like a calendar or anything. I mean, two of those things on that list Jacob can't do and he's almost 3! He can't tell a story and he can't ride a 4 wheeled bike yet. Personally, I think he IS telling stories because he babbles constantly but he's just now starting to really talk clearly where other people can understand more than a word here and there. And with the bike thing? He's got a tricycle and he just has always refused to put his feet on the pedals no matter how much we work with him. He's happier just scooting along, pushing the bike along with his feet on the ground. Honestly, I've never been given any paper by any doctor saying anything like what's on that list. I'm very detailed at his doctor visits and always bring anything to their attention that I think is an issue and even some things I know probably arent but I've always been told that he's fine, no worries about anything and honestly, I'm not worried either. I think, for him at least, it also is because he doesn't get a lot of exposure to other kids. I think kids who go to daycare or have siblings will definitely be able to do things at a faster pace than an only child who stays home. And I think that's ok. He's around just me so much that I can understand him, even when no one else can. I mean, it's to the point that sometimes even Steve will call for me to come translate. I'm not saying that he is completely babble talking all the time. In the last few months in fact, he's totally started speaking in full sentences for the most part unless he's excited about something lol I'm not saying I completely ignore the milestones but I look at them more like "suggestions" I guess. Every kid is different and not one set of milestones is going to apply to every child.

Edited to add: Another part of me thinks that I am so in tune with him that I would just "know" if there was something wrong. I know that I can't always trust that instinct though, which is why I ask so many questions at his doctor appointments. What I hate is when I'm asking what, to me, is a legitimate question, and the doctor or nurse looks at me like I have two heads. For those of you who have kids with issues, what kinds of signs did you notice or did you just "know" something was wrong or different about your child? Like Amie, with your oldest having ADHD, was it obvious from an early age? I ask because a friend of mine has two Autistic kids (both boys) and she keeps telling me to have Jacob's speech tested because he (in her opinion) over-repeats certain words sometimes. For example, he'll see a truck drive by outside and say "Oooh, wook, a truck!" And if no one immediately says "Yep, that was a truck" he will say "Truck! Truck! Truck!" long after the truck is gone, until someone acknowledges him. To me, this is just him wanting SOMEone to recognize that he had something to say. To my friend, she thinks it's a warning sign for Autism.

Ez - posted on 09/23/2010

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Even in Australia, this systems differs depending on which health catchment area. I'm under Hunter New England Health and the only home visits offered are in the immediate post-natal period. But there are plenty of other options to seek out advice for free... Community Childhood Clinics and most large pharmacies have a Baby and Child Health Nurse that runs free clinics once a week.

Amie - posted on 09/23/2010

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We have public health offices in every town, city, etc. They're the ones you go to if you don't want to book a doctor's visit.

I think it depends on where you live too but I had a public health nurse come in and check on us for the first month of my children's lives. Then they started doing the checks when they went in for their immunizations.

Charlie - posted on 09/23/2010

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I dont know about other countries but i here we have midwife visits ( optional) for free fortnightly where she can check development and answer any questions , i was worried when everyone else's kids walked early and Cooper took forever she just said there is no need to worry until around about 18 months by then he should be walking , i think its great to have this resource to not only set parents minds at ease but also to pick up on things parents may be "blind" to .

Amie - posted on 09/23/2010

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Sara that is exactly the kind of thing I mean. (from my OP here) You talked to her ped, you got your reassurances. Were probably told when to come back if it's still an issue. (I know I am whenever I ask about certain things.)



I know a lot of parents who do not even do that or just gloss over the issue with their child's doctor. I find it aggravating. Then again, I also hold no sympathy for them when they finally do figure it out.

Ez - posted on 09/23/2010

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Sara, you make an excellent point. 15 months is average for walking, but I doubt there is a single mother who hasn't been asked if their child is walking when they hit 1. Milla walked at 10 months, but both nephews and my friend's little boy walked at 15 months.

The other thing tricky milestone is crawling. Crawling is SUPER important (as I know you Early Childhood ladies know) but everyone seems to want to rush their kids to walk. I have actually noticed weaknesses in Milla because she didn't crawl for very long (barely 2 months). At this class we go to, they do a 'wheelbarrow' (child walking with their arms while Mum holds their legs). It took Milla weeks and weeks to be able to do this. The first question the teacher asked is 'how long did she crawl for?'.

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Maybe I should have mentioned that I did discuss the walking with Eliza's pediatrician. She looked her legs and joints over real well, watched her crawl and cruise, asked questions, and assured me that Eliza just wasn't interested yet. So the walking "delay" (it wasn't really a delay, just later that most kids walk) wasn't ignored on my part, but after an in-depth discussion with my pediatrician I chose not to worry. =)

Charlie - posted on 09/23/2010

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They are a good guide but i dont hold them as the holy grail that each child MUST be on the same target , each child's target milestone is as individual as the child themselves and mothers shouldn't beat themselves up about being slower or embarrass others by being faster .

I know when and where too be worried about a child's development due to my previous career .

So im gonna say YAY Coop passes the milestones you put up he turns two in NOv :D

Ez - posted on 09/23/2010

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I guess the point of this thread was to try and get an idea of when we should start to worry. I know of several examples where I personally would have been concerned, but it turns out the child is absolutely fine. I know of a child that didn't roll over or sit up properly until 10 months (but was already crawling). If that had been my kid, I would have had that checked. I know of another one who didn't sit up until 10 months, didn't crawl until 13 months and didn't walk until close to 20 months. That would have sent up huge red flags to me, but this child is now nearly 2 and perfectly average. But in another child, those same 'stats' could very possible point to a problem. Which is why I agree with Amie, in that milestones are there for a reason, and it is better to be vigilant than dismissive of something that may point to something needing intervention.



Edited to add: I also agree that milestones should not be used as a way to compete with others. That's just pointless and dumb.

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Ahhhh...I love intelligent women! I agree with what everyone has said. Yes, pay attention to the milestones. But use them as guidelines. And especially discuss them all with your pediatrician, not the mom next door.

Eliza is 2 years and 4 months. She can do all things on the list, except she's never even been on a four wheeled bike.

A little over year ago people were bugging me about her not walking. BUT she had been using real utensils without making a mess and holding a pencil correctly for months. She was focused on fine motor skills. She walked at 15 months (which is actually the average) and she's JUST now starting to focus on gross motor skills and talking withing the last few months. And apparently, according to this checklist, she's right on track!

Katherine - posted on 09/23/2010

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It's not WHAT you know it's WHO you know.

Just kidding.

With milestones people tend to think that *poof* at 2 my kid should be sitting on the toilet. Or right at one they should be sayiny "momma."
Instead of using milestones as a guideline it's more like a competition. My kid did this before 3 and they aren't supposed to do THAT until 4. I definitely think their should be GUIDELINES, but to me that's different than milestones. Each child should learn at their own pace, I firmly believe that. Otherwise you are going to have a wreck of an over achiever.

Caitlin - posted on 09/23/2010

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I think it's a good baseline, a guideline, but not 100% necessary. My daughter just turned 22 months, and she's not doing everything on that list yet. She's hopeless with a spoon, but i'm not sure it's because she can't, I think she just loves making a mess. She has nowhere near 50 words yet, though it seems like she's getting more and more every day, so in 2 months she may be there, who knows. She strings together 2 words a lot, and used a 4 word sentence once, but that's pretty much it, she talks constantly. Obviously she can't refer to herself by name, she doesn't talk much yet, but if we ask her "who's kayla?" she poitns to herself. She knows a lot, ther verbal things, well, they'll come when she has more words, I can pretty much comfortably say that she does all those things, but in her own language (oh the stories she can tell with only babbles).

I'm glad she's not the brightest, and put ahead, my mom pushed me hard and it seriously affected me, so I'm going to let her do things in her own pace.

JuLeah - posted on 09/23/2010

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All the milestones at a specified time .... not so much. Milestones, yes. I love them, when she sat up, crawled, walked .... first words, learned to read ..... first time on a elephant, in a plane, learned to swim, ride a bike ..... :)

I tell her the stories again and again, in part because she says, "Mama tell me about the time that I ..."
As for the list you posted:
Use more than one toy at a time
* Imitate people around them
* Follow two-step commands
* Form two or three word sentences
* Use words to express their feelings
* Tell stories, real and pretend
* Put things back where they go
* Identify pictures in books
* Use a spoon
* Engage in simple pretend play
* Use at least 50 recognizable words
* Understand over 300 words
* Refer to themselves by name
* Pick up objects as small as a crumb
* Climb stairs holding onto the railing
* Throw a small ball
* Jump with two feet
* Able to ride a 4-wheeled bike

All of these things are important. Kid will do them at different ages. We can get so caught up in checking skills off a list, we lose the joy felt when they actually do the thing. As with all issues, I think it is about balance.

Ez - posted on 09/23/2010

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I think it's absolutely important to praise and encourage kids!! But yeah, there's a fine line and lots of people cross it.

Joanna - posted on 09/23/2010

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Paige was always way ahead of herself with the physical milestones, but not the verbal ones. Kids develop at their own pace, so I just look at the milestone guidelines and use it as a reference, but it's never a cause for major concern as long as she's doing good in most of it, and we're working on the other stuff.

Amie - posted on 09/23/2010

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I think it's more in the way it's said. My children have thrived off positive reinforcement of their achievements. We've been careful not to add pressure to it though. As Erin pointed out, it most likely will be detrimental.

It can be done though, that you focus on their achievements and where they excel at without making them feel like failures if they don't excel at everything consistently.

Ez - posted on 09/23/2010

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Ahhh the curse of the 'smart' baby. I agree with you Dana and I fight the same battle regarding Milla constantly. I don't want her growing up thinking she's different or feeling added pressure based on being labelled as a baby! I have distinct memories of this being an issue for me as a child (early talker, reading before kindergarten etc). My earliest memory of my grandfather was him telling me I had to be a doctor and drive a BMW because that's what smart kids did. I don't want that to be part of Milla's consciousness. I was indeed a 'gifted and talented' student, and went to an academically selective highschool, but the pressure and expectation that accompanied this was not fun.

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I think milestones are good to use as a guideline. There will always be kids 'ahead' and kids 'behind' w/out necessarily any problems, but if they are 'behind' it's good to get it checked out just in case there is a problem they can start receiving services earlier to help correct the problem.

I don't know which milestones I would be most concerned w/... my kids have pretty much always been a bit 'ahead of the game'. Though my son is 2.5 and can't pronounce about half his letters. He talks a LOT, but is not understandable most of the time to anyone other than me and his sisters... and even we have to play the guessing game a lot. I 'think' he's well w/in the 'normal' range, but I am working w/ him on a daily basis and am planning on checking w/ the ped if things don't improve w/in a couple of months.

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