Milestones...what should our children be achieving and when, at an early age?
Now that is a very open ended question. The answer is: they are all individual and will achieve at their own pace. It is also important to remember that their development and achievements are not a parenting competition.
But we know that there are milestones that we want our children to reach at certain ages, and it's important to know when to seek help.
Holding our head (neck strength) - this can at times be from birth but we want to see this strong by around the 3-4 months. Tummy time is very important here and holding away from our body to challenge and give the opportunity to develop this. If they can lean their head all the time then may delay. We want to ensure that our head is truing easily and evenly to both sides, and watching for flat spots developing on the skull. If you notice these differences then speak with your health nurse.
Rolling over - somewhere between 3-5 months. They may roll from front to back by accident, but we want to see them roll from back to front in both directions. There are tips on the website to help you teach and encourage this. When you change their diaper, roll them as you pick them up to help instigate this movement and it also helps with neck strength.
Pushing up in tummy time- anywhere from 2-5 months for this one. Very broad age range. We need to have hands open to help with this, and arms forward. On the website videos there is a supported tummy time video to enable this strength to develop.
Are you noticing the amount of times I have mentioned Tummy Time already? It is so important to help us build strength so remember to make it fun and interactive.
Reaching - we want to encourage reaching from a very early age. Offer them your hands when changing and playing, touch and stimulate the hands to create modelling of their use and with practice they will start to reach for your hand AAwww This will encourage grasp and enable hands to be open to give us push and lift in tummy time to build strength. When changing diapers, make it part of the routine to have them reach for you and help them to pull to sit, rather than lifting straight up. Watch them use their muscles and lots of praise. They love this achievement.
Sitting - supported sitting can start early to, but please avoid non-human support until they can hold their upper torso upright. There are tips on the website again to help encourage this. To sit unsupported will develop around 5-7 months, but we may still topple over so be mindful of surfaces and keeping an eye out. Offering toys to play makes sitting even more fun.
Our children will develop at their own pace, it is not a race and milestones are guidelines. There are ways we can encourage and teach them and modelling is great. If you have concerns then talk your child health nurse and/or physiotherapist. It is usually simple consistent little techniques that make such a big difference.
And feel free to contact me via our communication options.
to be continued for older infants.....