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Developmental Milestones - By MaryRose Harrison - Former Franchisee

From the day our children are conceived we read and are told about developmental milestones.

How big our child should be; how much they should weigh; when they should be crawling, rolling, walking, jumping; how many words they should be saying by the time they are 12 months, 18 months, 24 months; how many shapes and colours they should be recognising by 3, 4 and 5 years of age.

“Development” is the term used to describe the physical changes in your baby, as well as his or her amazing ability to learn the skills he or she needs for life. As your baby grows, these skills and abilities become more and more complex.

“Milestones” are the developmental achievements a child reaches at certain points in time.

Developmental milestones are grouped under headings according to the parts of the body they refer to:

• Large body movements involve the coordination and control of large muscles and skills like walking, sitting and running.

• Small body movements (or manipulation) involve the coordination and control of small muscles, and skills like holding a rattle, picking up crumbs and scribbling with a pencil.

• Vision is the ability to see near and far, and to interpret what’s seen.

• Hearing is the ability to hear, listen to and interpret sounds.

• Speech is the ability to produce sounds that form words.

• Social behaviour and understanding is your child’s ability to learn and interact with others, including skills for play and connecting and communicating.

(above information taken from Raising Children website)

At Mini Maestros we offer developmentally appropriate activities for each age group – this is why our classes are age-specific. We offer activities to help promote physical, emotional, social and intellectual development, as well as fostering creativity, self-confidence and a sense of community.

We all know that the first five years of a child’s life is critical for development, but developmental milestones are just a useful guide, they are not something we should worry or stress over. Most healthy babies who have plenty of love and attention develop new skills in a completely natural and continually surprising way.

Babies grow and develop at tremendously different rates – and often with blissful disregard for what parenting textbooks say they’ll be doing! Your instincts tell you far more than a text book or developmental milestone can. More than anything else, your relationship with your child shapes the way your child learns and grows.

We must remember is that every child is unique. They have a unique personality. They have a unique set of parents. They have a unique environment in which they grow. Therefore, their journey through childhood is unique and their milestones should be unique to them also.

Whatever their journey looks like, whether it is the fast and rapid road or the slow and winding path, it should not be one dotted with boxes that need to be ticked every step of the way. Most children will get to where they need to be by the time they need to.

I used to be a bit of a helicopter mum, spread sheeting everything that my children did, taking note of every when, what, how many and how much. It took me having 2 children, 2 crazy boys for that matter, and becoming a Mini Maestros teacher to loosen up my ideals of perfection – a bit. But it was not until I watched an amazing documentary called “Babies” that I realised that all the milestones in the world did not matter. Children from all walks of life, cultures and environments eventually reach the same place - just in a different ways and at different speeds.

It is not a race. It’s life. And it’s just the beginning.

Take a look at the BABIES documentary – an eye opening and worthwhile watch.

Take a look at the RAISING CHILDREN website for more information on child development.

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