Many new parents are bombarded with information about what their child “should” be doing by a certain age. There are apps that parents are told to download, recommended books, websites, and more. Most parents, at one point or another, encounter a developmental checklist of sorts.
Our infant development coordinator helps families complete checklists, and goes over baby milestones with families.
This is what she had to say:
“It’s important to realize that a checklist is just a small section of questions that gives a bit of insight into what your child is doing. Yes, if it is a ‘good’ checklist it will have been researched and be considered reliable and valid. Still, no list can adequately capture who your child is!
YOU know your child best and you need to listen to your instincts as well. Sometimes a question will come up and ,as a parent, you might be certain that your child has the ability to do the task, but perhaps not the motivation. Maybe your child can do many other activities similar to the one asked about but hasn’t had exposure yet to that one specific activity the question focuses on. These are all important elements to take into account when reading checklists.
If you have concerns or want to know if your child is ‘on track’ developmentally, I really suggest going over the list with a professional who also knows your child, and knows typical development. This could be a child care worker, an Early On staff member, myself, or a number of other people. It is important that you feel comfortable and that nobody makes you feel badly or feel like a failure if your child isn’t meeting certain milestones. A checklist is just ONE tool that helps us assess how your child is doing. It should be seen as a tool to help know your child’s strengths and the areas you can work on with them. It should not be a stressor, but rather a way to prioritize what kind of learning activities you might want to include in playtime.
Remember, every child is different.
As hard as it is not to compare our babies, it is really important to keep in mind that we all learn in different ways and have different interests; even from birth! Some babies might focus on communication, and others on moving their bodies! We need different types of people in the world to fill all the diverse jobs out there. There is also a range of typical development, so if your child isn’t doing something immediately when they “should”, maybe wait a couple weeks and see what happens. Remember, we can’t expect our babies to be perfect. If we were given an adult-ing checklist, many of us would have areas for growth too!
Please always reach out if you have concerns, but look at a checklist as a tool that is there to guide you in your focus with baby, and follow up with a professional if the results are troubling you.
Most of all, love your baby exactly as they are and try to have fun in each stage they’re at”
- Jenny Raspberry CLKD’s Infant & Child Development Coordinator