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If your child isn’t hitting his developmental milestones at times most parenting books or websites say he should, don’t worry too much. They are just guidelines for the average development of children. Every child is unique and is going to develop at his or her own speed. Some develop early, and some are late bloomers. If your child is a little late, it doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with him.
How to Tell If Your Child is a Late Bloomer
Watch out for the following to know if your child is going through late bloomer child development:
- Has not rolled over on his own by the age of five months
- Can’t sit up with support by the age of eight months
- Is not interested in experimenting with crayons and does not even try to feed himself by the age of one year
- Has not yet attempted to walk by the age of eighteen months
- Has not spoken a single comprehensive word by the age of two
What Factors Influence a Child’s Development
Some factors that may influence a child’s development include:
The nature of your child will directly affect the way your child develops. For example, children with a more persistent nature may refuse to relent until they have mastered a certain skill, say rolling over. This means that they will reach their milestones faster. However, some children may not have such persistent natures and are more likely to give up faster, slowing down the speed at which they master a certain skill and reach a certain milestone.
Babies who are pampered by adoring family members may not reach their milestones as fast because they are being coddled and not given the opportunity. They are rarely given a chance to reach for their ball as someone will always reach out to give it to them or they rarely learn how to communicate properly as someone is always there to ensure they have everything they need, leaving them with no need to try and call out for his or her mother. Children need to get the opportunity to try things for themselves as it will help them to reach their milestones faster.
3. Muscle Tone
If your child has low muscle tone, it will make it much harder to initiate or even maintain movement. Children with weaker muscle tone may be floppier than others, and when you try to move their limbs when he is relaxed, there is no tension, and it is very easy to do so. Consult with your doctor for the best kind of physical exercises you can do for your child to help strengthen their muscles. If done so regularly, you will see a change quite fast.
4. Personal Interests
Children all have different personal interests, just as adults do. For children who love to stay close to their mommies, learning how to walk may make them soon realise that it is taking them further away from her and separation anxiety may begin to show. Some children may become so fascinated by drawing with pencils or crayons that they may not really take an interest in learning how to walk as they are more content with their art. Those who are more apt to enjoy their mobility may focus on that and not be very interested in verbal exercises.
5. Parental Interactions
It stands to reason that a lot of your child’s development will also depend on the time they spend with you. Children who are not given enough time by their parents will have to learn on their own, which will slow down their development. Those whose parents opt to spend more time with them, playing and encouraging them to speak, will reach their milestones at a greater speed.
6. Nutrition And Health
A child’s nutrition and health will directly impact their minds and bodies. A healthy child is much more likely to reach the developmental milestones than a child who is sickly or undernourished. A child’s eating and health in early childhood may have long-lasting effects.
Parenting Lessons for a Late Bloomer Child
Here are some lessons a parent should keep in mind while dealing with a late bloomer:
1. Everyone is Different
You may have more than one child, and if your second is not reaching milestones at the same time the first one did, you may panic, but no two children are alike, and each will get to the same stage by the age of three, even if he or she did it slowly differently.
2. Don’t Be Pushy
There is a difference between encouragement and being pushy. While it will benefit your child greatly to be encouraged, do not try to push your child to do things faster. Children must go at their own speed so that they can truly grasp what it is they are learning.
3. Do Not Label
Children should never be labelled and called unintelligent as each person and child has their own strengths and weaknesses. Studies show that negative labelling has a negative impact on children and their sense of self-worth. This, in turn, will impact their development.
When to Worry
Despite children developing at their own pace, there is a certain age bracket by when most children should reach certain milestones. A very young child may take some time to respond to something, but as time passes, the response is meant to get faster. Children should be making eye contact and smiling at their caregivers and parents, they should be trying to interact or move about in some way, and so if your child is not showing any of these signs, and is not even making an attempt, you should consult your doctor.
Late bloomer baby and the early bird will become indistinguishable by the age of five. Until then, if your child seems to be taking his own sweet time with something, don’t fret. As long as you see your child developing, even if it is slow, you can be sure he will be just fine.