Life with a baby is certainly an exciting and magical time, but also an unchartered territory of questions, insecurities and anxiety. Naturally, many parents find themselves comparing their child to others for reassurance their baby is on the right path.
To make the situation worse, there are the inevitable questions and raised eyebrows from friends, family and even strangers. “He’s still crawling?” “My bub is already forming sentences, isn’t yours?” “Shouldn’t babies be eating solids at his age?” – the list goes on!
Playgroup scenarios, catching up with friends, and everyday supermarket visits are suddenly opportunities to compare babies’ skills, behaviours and achievements.
While comparison is a common and natural approach, the notion of “normal” is one parents should swiftly forget, according to Dr Scott Dunlop, Founder and Director of Sydney Paediatrics.
“Babies vary widely when it comes to achieving key milestones and it’s futile for parents to strive for “normal,” he said.
“Children develop at such different rates, that trying to compare similarly aged children is not really all that possible and will only lead to worry.
“Parents should be very cautious not to take too much advice from others, and definitely not engage in over the top online researching of information, which will inevitably cause anxiety.
“There will always be another child more advanced at something than yours. Ultimately, the majority of children reach their developmental milestones within the normal range,” Dr Dunlop says.
This advice is timely and significant, as a recent survey commissioned by smarTrike discovered the leading trigger of parenthood guilt for Australians is the rate of a child’s development.
To prove the wide variance in developmental rates, Dr Dunlop provided the example of the motor skills of a baby at ten months of age.
“At ten months, a baby’s motor skills can be a combination of any or all of the following: rolling, crawling, sitting independently, pulling to their knees, pulling to stand, standing with assistance, cruising, standing independently or walking.
“Parents should feel reassured that children develop at very different rates. They should trust their innate parenting abilities, and be comfortable watching what happens over time. Unless their child is obviously delayed, parents should feel confident to observe and celebrate progress as it occurs for their little one,” Dr Dunlop says.
Understanding the individual nature and rate of development among children, smarTrike, the leading global manufacturer and distributor of tricycles, specially designs products to facilitate and encourage a toddler’s independent development.
In line with their initiatives to eradicate parenthood guilt, the smarTrike range of products gives Australian parents, and parents around the world, the peace of mind that their children are learning and progressing to the best of their abilities.
smarTrike aims to build the confidence of parents and empower them to enjoy the truly amazing experience of being a mother or father, by making it easy for children to explore as they learn and play.
This approach is supported by Dr Dunlop, who urges parents to be confident their child is developing at a rate which is “normal” for them.
“Stop sweating the small stuff, because while you’re doing that, your child’s early years are passing you by, and you’re missing out on enjoying the everyday joys of parenthood,” Dr Dunlop says.