Do Baby Milestones Determine A Child’s Success? How much emphasis should parents put into gross motor skills accomplishments and baby milestones?I vividly remember each of the developmental motor skills or baby milestones my children achieved. Were they ahead of the curve? Or behind the 8-ball? Was my daughter going be a genius because she began walking earlier than most toddlers? Was my son doomed because he was a late-bloomer when it came to potty training?
There can even be a sort of sad competition between moms to see how early one’s child first rolled over onto his/her stomach, first crawled, first walked etc…
I had a chance to interview Dr. Plooij, author of The Wonder Weeks – an easy-to-understand guide to children’s mental and physical growth phases, about baby milestones. I interviewed Dr. Plooij in the past about his tips for parenting the terrible twos and thoroughly enjoy how he helps put parents’ minds at ease!
Lisa LaGrou of Oakland County Moms – Why do you think some moms feel the need to start talking milestone stats with other moms?
Dr. Frans Plooij, PHD, author of The Wonder Weeks – Our baby is the best baby ever. No baby has ever been this beautiful, smart, no baby ever slept better, etc etc. We are in love with our kids. Remember when you fell in love and the guy / girl was just 100% amazing? Compare our mom love to this feeling. Is it rational? No. Logical? Yes. The only thing we should really be aware of is that our love should not mean we want our kids to be better at the expense of others. So I would say: although every mom thinks her child is better, faster, more beautiful, think this, but don’t say it out loud. Plus, the real milestone conversations do not make sense at all. A baby that can walk at an early age, could be less fast in other less noticeable things. I know a doctor, brilliant guy, who didn’t walk, crawl or talk when all others did. He always sat in the corner playing with an object. Not even really playing, just turning it around and observing. His mom was quite scared, especially when somebody talked about her baby walking, talking etc. The truth is there are loads of milestones and loads
are more important than the classical motor skills. I would love to see the world without this sandpit-race-milestone-talk, but if parents do… please also talk about the real important issues, the mental ones.
Lisa LaGrou of Oakland County Moms – Is it “overboard” to consume oneself with baby milestones and thoughts of “Is my kid normal?”
Dr. Frans Plooij, PHD, author of The Wonder Weeks – Yes. I know this is not what people expect me to say, but it is. Is a rational good thing to keep on doubting your baby or yourself? No. But ratio and parental emotions seldom go hand in hand. Our baby is more precious to us than life itself. No wonder we want the best, we strive for the best and we get uncertain. Uncertain about our baby and uncertain about ourselves. This was one of the main reasons for my wife and I to write The Wonder Weeks. To give people insight into their babies development so that they would stop doubting themselves or their babies. Every day I get emails, Facebook posts etc. from mothers thanking me for the reassurance The Wonder Weeks gives them. I get a warm satisfied feeling every time I read this. Knowing you help parents to make the great tasks of parenthood a bit easier is my main goal in life.
Lisa LaGrou of Oakland County Moms – What are some examples of behaviors and baby milestones that moms may stress about, but should actually not be concerned?
Dr. Frans Plooij, PHD, author of The Wonder Weeks – A baby makes ten leaps in his/her mental development. Suddenly their whole world changes and he / she perceives things (s)he didn’t before. It is like waking up on another planet. What would you do? You would cry, cling to people you know and be cranky. Cry, Clingy, Cranky: the three C’s. Parents that know about wonder weeks, when they are but much more important, how to help their baby, are not so concerned anymore about the three C’s. They know why this is normal behavior and that it’s not them or their baby. It’s just a healthy development. So, wonder weeks are not something to stress about. They are progress. One mom told me last week: reading for an hour takes away weeks of stress.
Lisa LaGrou of Oakland County Moms – To help moms understand the process better, how do babies achieve their milestones?
Dr. Frans Plooij, PHD, author of The Wonder Weeks – The mental development is not a graduate process. The mental development comes in leaps, wonder weeks. To fully understand these leaps it is wise to read the chapter about that specific leap just before our baby enters a leap. Roughly, these are the phases of a leap:
1. 3 C’s: the perception of the world of a baby changed. He needs your guidance
2. The Week of Wonders: suddenly your baby does a lot of new things and is back in his sunny mood
3. Practice period. Like everything in life: your brain can know how to do things, but before actually doing things one should practice, practice and practice.
Parents that know what happens in each leap are more confident, give better proper guidance and this results in happier babies. As a little bonus one makes the 3 C’s period shorter and sweeter when a baby’s been given the proper help.
Lisa LaGrou of Oakland County Moms – Will a baby who has achieved milestones at an earlier/quicker pace during the first 20 months of life show signs of advanced development later in life?
Dr. Frans Plooij, PHD, author of The Wonder Weeks – Sometimes, sometimes not. A baby cannot be ahead of the leaps. We describe the earliest possible date a baby is mentally seen able to do something. If I would observe a baby consequently picking up on things real easily and fast I would dare to say the chance of this baby being advanced at later age are quite big. A baby that demands more attention is often more advanced later on too. However, this is not always the case.
ABOUT DR. FRANS PLOOIJ
Frans Plooij, Ph.D is the author of the worldwide bestseller The Wonder Weeks and one of the world’s top specialists in infant/child development and parent-baby interactions. His book, based on 35 years of extensive research, describes in easy-to-understand terms the incredible developmental changes that all babies go through during their first 20 months of life. Following Dr. Plooij’s advice and insight in the babies changing brain, parents all around the world have been better prepared (often within a week or two) for the often drastic behavior that marks a new change in their baby’s development, the new skills that emerge with each leap and how to get the most out of these wonder weeks. (www.thewonderweeks.com).
For more info on baby milestones, visit www.thewonderweeks.com.