Children and Their Milestones

One day your body will lie pale, cold, and lifeless. The soul departed and nothing but a husk left behind. A preacher will stand before a gathering of your friends and loved ones and say, “Here lies a person that didn’t walk until 17 months.”

I will add a small caveat to what I am about to write and it is that I do not know the source of it. There is an image going around Facebook about the CDC and the AAP changing the milestone guidelines for children. They are taking crawling out as a milestone, changing walking from 15 months to 18, and talking from 12 months to 18.

I have searched a lot of baby milestones over the last couple years and I am going to tell you I’ve never gone to the CDC website. It has never been one of the first ones to come up. I also have never seen talking listed as a 12 month skill.

This morning I visited the CDC website to see if they had milestones listed. They did and they directly mentioned crawling and never actually mentioned talking and walking as milestones. For 15 months it said children should be able to take three to four steps on their own and for talking it said at 15 months start to say words other than mama and dada.

None of that sounds outlandish or worth the outrage people have on Facebook. As my opening paragraph demonstrates no one is going to care when you or your child hit these milestones. They aren’t going to miss out on college or lose out on a promotion at work because they talked or walked late or butt scooted instead of crawled. It just isn’t going to happen.

The milestones are important. They are bench marks and things to follow to see if your child is falling behind and if they are they can get help from OT or PT. The thing is they are only guidelines and children develop at their own pace.

Milestones should be given in ranges of time instead of as definitive time. It should be that walking can start as early as 12 months and as late as 18 months. This is what we’d call the range of normal. It isn’t bad if they start to walk towards the end of that and it doesn’t mean your kid is a shoe in for Harvard if they’re walking at 12 months. The entire range is normal.

Parents, myself included, make far too big a deal about these milestones. When they’re lowering your cold dead body into the ground no one is going to care when your walked or talked or crawled.

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