A long time ago the term “Milestone” was used to describe a stone that was placed every mile along the road to tell travellers how far they had come. This would provide assurance, direction and encouragement to those on the journey.
Today the word “Milestone” is also used to describe a marker along the road of human development. Milestones collectively provide an outline of the normal course of a child’s development and indicate the time periods taken to develop certain skills. A sequence can be seen in milestones which makes it possible to predict a general order.
However, a word of caution for worried parents who may be facing a case of information overload, milestones are meant as a general guide only.
Don't panic if at first your child does not seem on track. As all children will develop at their own individual rate, Milestones are best interpreted loosely. Your child may develop earlier for some milestones and later for others. Skill variations can differ significantly. For example, which would you think was within the normal range , an infant that starts walking at 9 months or one which starts walking at *19 months? The answer is they both are!
The environment is one reason why there can be such a large variation between children. The amount of space available to a young infant will have some effect on how quickly and enthusiastically they take up crawling and walking. Many young Tokyo parents raising children may find themselves living in small apartments and this will likely have some effect on progress. (Please see my next post for what to do about this) Hereditary traits from you or your partner will also play a part. If either of you were “late” to start walking this may have some influence on your child.
Milstones are useful in that they can prompt you to provide the right experiences foryour child at the right time. Keep in mind however that regression is also possible. Life changing circumstances, such as a new baby in the family may pull your toddlers focus in that direction. Where as before he was positively toilet training, now he may be back to soiling his pants.
* (If your child is not walking within 23 months a check up is recommended)