There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million.
This is not meant to take the place of the fabulous range of resources that are available to answer specific questions for specific parents.
My hope is that it might in some way help you stand back from the day to day specifics and provoke thought or insight or reflection.
My hope is that it helps you in some way in your role as a parent and as a person.
As a parent, one of the most important things we can do is have an awareness of the development process that our children are going through.
Whilst generally all children go through a similar process it is not age specific. That means that you cannot say that at one they will definitely be walking or at two they will be talking! Books and experts offer us guidelines or benchmarks but what is important is to look at what stage of the process they are at.
Development in these early years is phenomenal and takes place on a physical, mental, emotional and social level.
At times, there will be lots of changes and milestones and at other times there may seem to be nothing different going on. At these times, chances are they are practicing a skill they have learned before they move to the next one!
Sometimes it is obvious to us what stage they are at. For example, before a child can walk they have to learn to roll over onto their tummy, lift their head up, get up on all fours and then crawl which will develop their co-ordination of left right/upper and lower body. After that they will have to be able to pull themselves up, wobble, toddle and then walk, run and eventually climb higher than our nerves can stand! When a child is learning to roll over we do not expect them to be able to walk into the next room to get us something. Our expectations are set because we can see the stage of the process they are at.
It is often harder to be aware of what stage they are at, for example, mentally or emotionally. This means there might be a mismatch between what they are capable of doing or understanding and what we expect (frustration for us!). Also, if we know the stage they are at we can offer toys or stimulation which is enough to bring them along (ie they have not outgrown it and so are bored) and yet not too far ahead to be beyond them (frustration for them!).
So check up the books, parenting websites and any other source of information you may have access to which can give you the information you need. If you are concerned about any aspect of the process, talk it through with your health care worker or someone whose opinion you value. Often when we do that we relax and nature takes its course.
Remember that development is not a race. Your child is not competing with the children of friends or other family members nor with older siblings. Younger children often don’t talk until later than perhaps the first child in a family did. But then, they have others to do it for them which number one did not have.
They have their own path and journey and all they need is a parent who has a sense of where they are on it.
If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he
needs the companionship of at least one adult who can
share it, rediscovering with him the mystery of the world
we live in.
( Rachel Carson)
I would love to hear from you. If you have any thoughts, stories feedback or ideas you would like to share, please forward them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org