Every parent knows that their children develop at different rates, so why do we worry if our baby doesn't reach a milestone at the same time as others do? First-time parents are probably more likely to worry about what their child is doing and when, but it’s natural for us all to question whether our baby is on the right track and when there is more cause for concern.
All children are different – that’s what makes them so unique – so it’s understandable that they develop at different rates. However, knowing when to be a little more concerned is crucial because picking up on issues in the early stages can help them to be rectified sooner. Make sure that, in every aspect of their development, you are there encouraging them to improve on their skills - from introducing them to toys that are suitable for their age group, including stacking toys and shape sorters such as the Laugh & Learn Cookie Shape Surprise, to encouraging them to support themselves once they are showing signs of wanting to walk.
Here are a few of the milestones that you should be looking forward to and a rough guide as to when many children will reach them.
A baby’s first smiles are some of the most memorable moments that you will have, and usually happens before they’re a couple of months old. Smile as much as you can and have fun with your baby to encourage them.
It’s estimated that about half of babies will be able to sit unaided (albeit a bit wobbly) by the time they’re six months. Give baby plenty of time to learn the skill; surround them with cushions so that they won’t hurt themselves and give them plenty of praise when they do it.
Not all babies crawl. Some shuffle, some combat crawl but, eventually, they will show signs of walking by cruising around furniture and trying to stand on their own two feet unsupported. They usually learn to pull themselves up using furniture between 9 and 12 months and can be taking those magical first steps shortly after that.
Sleeping through the night
Every sleep-deprived parent asks this question and, in most cases, if a good routine is in place, a baby can usually sleep at least six to eight hours during the night without requiring a feed by the time they are four months. They should be able to sleep for 8 to 10 hours by 6 months but, as many parents will say, this doesn’t always happen. Encourage this by allowing baby to sleep and not rushing in every time their make a murmur – the sooner they can settle themselves, the sooner it’ll be that they will be able to sleep through.
It’s important that a parent doesn’t worry themselves sick if their kids don’t reach milestones when the “majority” do. Focus on the whole developmental package rather than focussing on one milestone, so that you can get a more rounded picture. Remember that every child is different and enjoy the magical journey that is your child’s early years!