Every child is different and therefore they will get to some developmental milestones at different times. Although comparing milestones can help parents figure out whether a child is developing normally the problem arises when parents and also nannies compare the developmental milestones of two very different children and use that to draw conclusions that may not be accurate. We see this very often and we also witness the problems that arise from this.
There are times that some parents will compare their child’s development milestone to their friend’s child and become anxious that since their friend’s child is crawling, walking and talking and that their child is yet to do that- they assume that there is a problem! We also see that these very concerned parents sometimes speculate about all the reasons why their child has not arrived at a specific development milestone. Some even resort to blaming the nanny because they believe that perhaps the nanny may not be providing an environment where this child could thrive. Case in point, a parent may believe that a child is not talking because there’s not enough quality interaction between the nanny and the child.
While I fully understand that dyadic interaction between a nanny and an infant is very important and aids crucial areas like emotional development and language acquisition, a child will develop naturally at their own unique pace. The key of course is providing the most favorable environments that will help nurture a child’s development and also recognizing that as long as your pediatrician does not find a just cause to worry about a particular developmental issue with the child then perhaps you should not be worried. Some children excel intellectually, while other children advance physically others may be better verbally. Of course we must also consider that there are some children that do not even fit into the normal development patterns- some are simply outliers. I once worked with a child on weekends and at the age of four he was able to add three-digit numbers mentally. He was the same age as the children that I worked with full-time on weekdays and I certainly could not compare these children. While one was a social butterfly, the other was very shy and the weekend child was a math genius. What I did was enjoy their individual uniqueness and the areas where they needed help I guided them appropriately but most importantly I helped them develop confidence in who they were by always celebrating everything about them- I WAS THEIR CHEER LEADER!
I guess what I’m advocating is the need for us to reject the temptation of comparing children and arriving at conclusions that may be faulty. I’m also saying that it’s important for parents to discuss with their pediatrician any concerns that they may have and if all is well with your child, then count your blessings. Lastly nannies realize how important your role as the first teachers is in the lives of children. Know that even young infants through your interaction are learning about the world around them. You are helping them with important things like language development, your wide smiles, eye gazes, gentle and kind touches and happy faces elicit a response from the infants. This reciprocal interaction between you and the infant is important and aids in positive development of children-and that of course is our goal as nannies- to do our best which helps to bring out the best in children!