Developmental milestones exist for good reason and can be a great help, but “pushing” for development will only cause stress for everyone. Here are some “milestones” that are just as important, but parents may not have thought to celebrate.
Milestone: Your child pretends to have a snack with their teddy bear.
What it means: Exhibiting pretend behaviors may seem like no big deal, but are actually early signs that your child has acquired symbolic reasoning (e.g., putting an empty spoon to your mouth is not eating, but represents eating.)
Milestone: Your child deliberately turns a bowl of cereal upside down.
What it means: Your child is developing wrist control, which is necessary for just about everything we do with our hands.
Milestone: Your child’s new favorite toy? A pop-up toy.
What it means: Your child has figured out, When I push that button, something will pop up! In other words, cause-and-effect, or I can make something happen.
Milestone: You say, Don’t touch! And your child doesn’t touch!
What it means: Your child is learning self-control! At long last, they understand that they are in charge of their own wants and actions, and can exercise (some) control over their impulses.
Milestone: Your child is obsessed with pushing, pulling, and throwing.
What it means: Your child is discovering the properties of weight, size, force, and mass. They are investigating questions of science, including which things do what and how.