It can get very consuming when you are a new mother to look at milestones and become anxious about those milestones. However current research suggests that rather than critical timeframes for milestones there are optimal times. We know that the plasticity of the brain is at its highest until age 12 which means that there is time to catch up. It might be harder on the child to catch up but ultimately they can. Each child is unique and how they learn, experience and develop is unique to them so their developmental progress may not happen at the same time. Therefore, it is important not to rush or force a child’s learning however, to be aware of their strengths and possible weaknesses so you can work around those and support development.
It is important to understand during these years and stages of intense learning and development it is also a time of vulnerability for the child so positive reinforcement and support is the best way to encourage their progress so that they enjoy learning new things.
Ages 2-3 ♥ Walks up and down stairs unassisted, using alternating feet; may jump from bottom step, landing on both feet ♥ Can momentarily balance on one foot ♥ Can kick big ball-shaped objects ♥ Needs minimal assistance eating ♥ Jumps on the spot ♥ Pedals a small tricycle ♥ Throws a ball overhand; aim and distance are limited ♥ Catches a large ball with both arms extended ♥ Shows improved control of crayons or markers; uses vertical, horizontal and circular strokes ♥ Holds crayon or marker between first two fingers and thumb (tripod grasp), not in a fist as earlier ♥ Can turn the pages of a book one at a time ♥ Enjoys building with blocks ♥ Builds a tower of eight or more blocks ♥ Enjoys playing with playdough; pounds, rolls, and squeezes it ♥ May begin to show hand dominance ♥ Manipulates large buttons and zippers on clothing ♥ Washes and dries hands; brushes own teeth, but not thoroughly
Ages 4-6 ♥ Gains greater control over large and fine motor skills; movements are more precise and deliberate, though some clumsiness still evident ♥ Enjoys vigorous running, jumping, climbing, and throwing etc. ♥ Span of attention increases; works at tasks for longer periods of time ♥ Can concentrate effort but not always consistently ♥ Has fun with problem-solving and sorting activities like stacking, puzzles, and mazes ♥ Enjoys the challenge of puzzles, counting, and sorting activities, paper-and-pencil mazes, and games that involve matching letters and words with pictures ♥ Recognizes some words by sight; attempts to sound out words ♥ Increased functioning which facilitates learning to ride a bicycle, swim, swing a bat, or kick a ball ♥ Able to trace objects ♥ Folds and cuts paper into simple shapes ♥ Can tie laces
Again the main take away should be that milestone timelines should be considered optimal not critical and you should be directed by your GP not your mothers group, friends and family. This should be a beautiful time of growth and development not a stressful one for both child and parents.