Development Baby Milestones Guide for Mindful Parents
So you come home with your new beautiful baby with no instruction manual. It seems there is a new challenge everyday, and you just don’t have any idea how well you are doing as a new parent. Doesn’t seem fair does it? Especially, because you would like to be the best parent ever, since you love your little darling so much.
But the good news is that developmental milestones are the markers we can use to see if we are parenting well! So there is a way to make sure we are giving our kids what they need. Just no one told us!
The closest thing we have to seeing how well we are fairing, from a developmental perspective, are developmental milestones. A sort of “Developmental Report Card” for the parents. The reason I say “for the parents”, is because if parents make good choices for their babies and kids, then babies and kids flourish. If they don’t make good choices for their babies, then there are “developmental gaps”, as well as a whole bunch of bad behaviors.
By checking in with developmental milestones from the beginning of your child’s life, you can see if your baby is progressing in gaining the skills they need. Milestones are not an exact science and every child is different, but you will start to see patterns in your child’s development if you pay attention. You will find ways to adjust or support you babies environment so they flourish. As they grow older you can keep an eye on their development as well.
Working in developmental for 17 years, I have seen more than my share of parents who have differing levels of concern for their child’s development, with some too busy, too inattentive, or to self absorbed to check in on their own parenting skills. But by an large, most parents do care.
The plot thickens when we realize that as parents, we can’t see our own maladaptive patterns and how they are affecting our own kids. To ward off habits like getting over busy, spending too much time on our devices, and neglecting our own emotional health and self care as parents, we can use milestones to guide us back onto a path of wellness for our whole family.
Paying Attention To Our Parenting Choices
Mindfulness is of course important because it allows parents to focus. Spending just a few minutes each week looking at a milestone guide can give you the edge in keeping your kids on track.
Non-Judgement is also important here. You look, watch, take data, and report. No judgement. No “I am so wrong”, or “I totally messed this one up”. You look, see, and take data. AND make adjustments accordingly.
Finally, by comparing your data to Developmental Milestones, you get a score. Not a grade, just a score.
Did your data match the developmental milestones? Is your baby meeting the benchmarks, to a greater or lesser degree? Or are they not even near the developmental milestone benchmarks.
Where do Developmental Milestones Come From?
Developmental milestones are taken from objective observation of literally thousands of babies. Usually, they are taken by university professors, as part of scientific studies, or by clinical therapists. They are the “average” markers for child development, guiding parents to get an idea of what average skill development looks like so their children can do good work in school, behave in the community, etc.
It is very possible that your baby or child may be ahead of average in some areas, right about average for other skills, and a bit behind in a few areas. But what if there are several areas of development that are lagging behind?
It’s time for change. Refocus. Make sure you are giving you kids the developmental experiences they need. Asking a friend, hiring a therapist, or researching online for activities and care ideas would be the recommendation.
Will Developmental Milestones Help My Kids?
Yes! I have used this approach with success. For example, I noticed that my own children were on the lower end of size developmental milestones, being little “peanuts” as I so lovingly call them. We didn’t worry because growth was consistent and within normal. But when I noticed that my 10 months old baby was not sleeping through the night when the average baby was sleeping through the night, I changed what I was doing. We set more structure, kept her up a bit more during the day, built in more social time, and got a noise machine for her to sleep with. With those changes, our little baby became a serious snoozer!
I have seen the same changes make a difference in my work as a therapist. Giving parents ideas for changes at home make a difference. The kids most often grew in skills more rapidly when the developmental milestones charts were used.
Mommi’s Developmental Milestone Guide
Without a therapist, it’s hard to know where to get a good Milestone guide. So I’m going to share with you the development guides I use in my therapy practice. These are the highest quality guides you can use. They are statistically proven to show what a child needs to know. They allow progress to also be shown statistically.
All you really need is to keep this guide somewhere close and where you will remember to refer to it. Printing our works the best. I really suggest you put it up in your home. Our devices might provide an alarm or reminder to check in with the development guide each week too.
Once you know what you need to be working on with your child, just search around for some great activity ideas. I use Pinterest, but find I often forget hours later what I found online. I really like to use books from the library and write lists of what I plan on working on each week. Usually 1 or 2 activities added in to our buys schedule keeps me moving in the right direction for helping my kids gain new skills at home. In therapy, I usually have about 5 activities per week I am working on with each child.
The areas below are the most prominent developmental areas to look at with your child. Take a look. Make a list. Have of a goal of doing activities with you kids. It will make a difference. AND you can feel like you are parenting well!
Basic Developmental Milestone Categories Include:
Fine Motor Development
Gross Motor Development
Emotion Development/ Emotional Regulation
Symbol Use for Letters And Numbers:
Reading Skills and Comprehension
note ** I should note that some children do have specific conditions that warrant therapy, and it is always good to check with a therapist if you feel as a parent your child may have a specific problem. However, this article is targeted at developing kids without congenital difficulties or a developmental diagnosis.
This list is just the beginning of getting to understand you kids development. Below are some links to more detailed developmental information from the best therapists I have found who are writing about the topic of developmental milestones.