My Child Seems to Take His Own Sweet Time

Why he does that—facts and figures

I promised I’d be back with a whole lot of facts and figures, so here I am!  I’m tempted to try to take you through the winding passage ways that would lead to a clear understanding, but I’m also afraid I’m not a good guide and will lose you half-way.  Here’s what I’ll do:  we’ll start down the halls as common-sensically as we can (by the way, that’s not a word!).  If I lose you half-way, you have the right to close the tab and stop reading.  If you can understand me and finish reading the newsletter, it behooves you to write me a comment at the bottom of the page and tell me so! :D

Here we go~

Development.  When we talk about children growing up and learning, we look at their development.  We compare them to normal child development in all areas:  their physical growth, intellectual abilities and social/emotional capabilities.

As we study development, we observe that there are patterns of development that all (normally-developing) children follow in their growth.  For instance, in physical growth, children always develop head-to-toe.  Their muscle control starts at the head (lips and tongue, eyes) and proceeds downward (neck, arms, then legs).  This, by the way, is one reason why your baby lying in the cot can shake his rattle long before he can stand up and start walking.

So after observations and records over the years, we now have a series of things that children should be doing by such-and-such an age.  For instance, children should be starting to talk around 18 months of age.  We call these developmental milestones, and use these to sort of measure a child’s development against.

We also notice that development cannot be rushed.  If your baby cannot turn over on his own, there is no way to rush it, or to force it to happen faster.  At his own time, he will turn over and sit up, and eventually start walking around too! :)

Do I have you so far?  Good for you!  We’ve covered one hallway!

Individuality.  An issue comes up when we compare theory to fact:  not all children start to talk exactly at 18 months of age.  Some talk earlier, others later.  However, we also notice that while the rate of development can vary between children, the sequence does not.  They still follow the same patterns of development.

All (normally-developing) children can shake their rattles before they learn to walk, even if some start later than others.  And if you follow their growth, you’ll find that they will develop the same things eventually, even if they take a longer time to do it!

IMPACT.  There is a curious property of truth—when we know the truth about something, we are obliged to act upon it.  If we don’t and ignore it instead, it becomes neglect, no longer something we can claim innocence about.  At any rate, all we have been talking about in the above paragraphs bring us face to face with an uncomfortable truth:  THE CHILD IS SUPPOSED TO TAKE HIS OWN SWEET TIME.  If he cannot do something [to our satisfaction], it’s usually because he truly cannot; it’s not that he will not, or he’s lazy, or stubborn.  So how does that translate into action? (This newsletter is getting longer and longer, isn’t it?)

Here are four principles to abide by:

  1. Don’t hurry the child.  Look further than primary school:  he has plenty of time.
  2. Focus on what your child can do, when he is allowed to develop naturally at his own rate.  It’s something to shout about, trust me.
  3. Expect the child to be immature.  This sounds odd, but think about this:  he is called a child for a reason.
  4. Wait for things to come at their own time; don’t push for them.

I think these principles are straightforward enough; and this newsletter is long enough.  I’ll stop here for today and let the theoretical facts do their work.

Thank you for reading… if you made it to the end, that is! ;)


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