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6 Mar 2019
Researching normative or normal stages of child development can be a daunting task for even the most seasoned child care veteran or parent. It is not uncommon to find child development literature infused with phrases like "normal behavior", "delayed functioning", "critical periods" or "patterns of attachment" - phrases that leave some parents feeling guilty, confused and concerned about their child's developmental progression.

Although these terms can be useful indicators of whether or not a child is developing to his or her potential, it is all too easy to get caught up in precise time-lines. As a result, we forget that these terms and their corresponding milestones are merely designed as guidelines- helpful hints that we as parents can periodically refer to in our quest to mould smart, well-rounded children. As such, they have a certain degree of flexibility, and should not be used to rigidly establish whether or not Jimmy measures up to his playmates.

Instead, when all things are considered, a child's development is based on more than just academically approved criteria. Family structure, cultural values, social norms, socioeconomic status, and the child's unique traits and characteristics all play a part. A stubborn child for instance may not make toilette training easy but it does not mean he is not developmentally capable. Likewise, a child who does not receive adequate food and nourishment may show signs of delayed physical and intellectual functioning, while the same child will thrive in a home with a full fridge and balanced meals. By combining these criteria, a more accurate developmental estimation can be made.

If you have concerns about your child's development do not hesitate to speak to your doctor - there are things that you can do in the early years of your child's life to promote healthy development.


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