I’ve always being interested in a career with children, I have a degree in child development, and 5 years’ experience in Early Years. So you could say I knew milestones and what children should be achieving at what age like the back of my hand. But the truth is, until you have your own children it really is difficult to understand the complexity of milestones, when your child should have reached particular milestones and when to worry that a child isn’t achieving them, and my son has been the perfect case of this.
From my personal experience of working in childcare the majority of children begin walking between 9-14 months. Before babies walk most learn to crawl first, this is something Finn didn’t start doing until he was 11 months. He was a very chunky baby, so I put it down to the extra weight! So when 14 months hit, I wasn’t overly worried he wasn’t walking, he was a late crawler after all. But then 15 months hit and your baby isn’t showing interest in cruising never mind walking. Then 16 months hit, you attend playgroups and see all the other children running after one another, and your little baby can’t join in. It’s emotionally upsetting for yourself, as you feel like you are doing something wrong, what haven’t you shown them? You are also upset for them because you feel like they are missing out.
I did A LOT of researching, A LOT of googling, which of course sent me in more of a frantic panic. I spoke to my doctor and they didn’t seem concerned- however that did not stop me being concerned as Finns mummy. Finn began walking at the grand age of 19 months. His little friends had been running rings round him for a while, but he never showed that it bothered him. He could achieve everything he wanted to by crawling, so I think hisattitude was ‘Why do I need to figure out this thing called walking?’
Being a mummy is a never ending worry isn’t it? I have so much confidence in my son, he will reach the stars and move mountains one day. But that doesn’t stop me worrying all the time about him, he achieved walking at 19 months, finally I could relax, but then I began receiving questions about his speech. Not one comment was to put me down, to put Finn down, or judging my parenting in anyway, but it gets you wondering, and it got me wondering. I had focused on his walking for so long, that I hadn’t really realised that by 19 months he wasn’t a little chatter or even a` babble box. He didn’t go to nursery until two, so he wasn’t really attending an environment that speech delay might flag up. We went to play groups and as with walking, other children were chattering away, but Finn was my little Finn, and I put it down to one of his little quirks, preferring not to talk. After all he didn’t let it affect him; he would use gestures to show us what he wanted. Just before he was two, I took him to the doctors for his speech, a second opinion. Trusty google had my mind doing spins, could he be tongue tied? What age do children become selective mutes? I look back and think wow Emily, but at the time, everything really does cross your mind. If you have experienced milestone worries like this, then I am sure you will understand my irrational thoughts.
Again the doctors didn’t have much to say on the matter, I spent endless hours on the phone to different people trying to do all I could to get Finn some help with his speech. However, until your child turns 3, there isn’t much the NHS will help you with. Of course there is the option to pay and go privately which is something we didn’t completely rule out’
At two Finn began attending the most wonderful nursery, I voiced my worries about his speech, I was told they would give him a couple of months to settle before assessing the matter. A couple of months passed, and his lack of speech at nursery couldn’t be put down to being in an environment he didn’t know, and being with people he wasn’t confident with. The nursery agreed there was most likely some sort of speech delay, and said though it was a long shot, would I like them to try get some funding for Finn to able him to have a one to one, and hour a day at nursery. I could honestly feel myself welling up, I wasn’t this irrational mother, my voice was being heard, and people were agreeing withmy concerns.
I didn’t want Finn to speak for my own selfish reasons, hearing him say ‘mummy’ (which he began saying at 3) and ‘Love you’ (which he has just started saying now at 3 ½). Though these are all lovely things I eagerly awaited to here, I was more worried about him falling behind, in the sense that when it eventually came time to attend school, I hadn’t done everything in my power previous to this to prepare him.
Finn was accepted for funding by the nursery and he has absolutely come on leaps and bounds, he has an EHC plan in place, and is often visited by the Speech and Language therapist and SENCO for the area and reviewed.
It would seem though at the beginning Autism was a thought floating around, Finn is just a child who like to do things in his own time, and not anyone else’s. He’s not 3 and a half, and if I was to compare him to a typical child of his age, he isn’t where he ‘should be’. He has come on leaps and bounds, though that I am not worried about his speech now, and he will absolutely get there.
At just 3 and a half he still has many milestones to achieve, and though always cautious will let him get to them at his own pace. Talking for me is most definitely my favourite milestone, his personality shines, I am continuously laughing at what he has to say, and we can have the sweetest conversations.
I don’t like to think I was rushing Finn to achieve these milestones, he certainly wasn’t in a rush, and it’s true what they say, ‘they really are not babies for long.’ As a first time mummy though, you are unknowingly conscious of what they are achieving and at what age they should be achieving it.
Clicking the link above you will be taken to an article about your child’s milestones on Emma’s Diary. What babies may or may not achieve before Z milestone, I much prefer this article to other articles and documents I have read. The EYFS for example, I feel like the EYFS doesn’t offer enough time for you baby to achieve these milestones at their own pace, and is quick to label your child as ‘behind’. However this below article by Emma’s diary takes into consideration that all children learn at different paces.
Have you also heard of Emma’s diary App? This has been super helpful for me in my second pregnancy. There are week by week steps of your pregnancy, with explanations of what your body is doing and how your baby is growing. Along with an option to create a journal to remind yourself of all the magical moment, the first kicks, the point you decided on a name. It’s also full of offers and coupons to redeem that are all relevant to pregnancy and birth!
Click the above to sign up and create an account now if you haven’t done so yet!
Here is a super helpful video to guide you on your child’s milestones
All babies grow at different rates but as a rough guidehere are the development milestones to look out for when your baby is 1 week old. Don’t worry if your little one doesn’t match this pattern exactly – they might be a few weeks ahead on some things and slightly behind on others and it usually evens out over time. However if you’re concerned that your child has missed out one or more important milestones altogether speak to your health visitor or GP.
Love Emily x