Tracking Milestones in Growing Kids

By Britney Glaser - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The early years for children are the most influential when it comes to developing skills that will be used for the rest of their lives. In this Healthcast, we talk to a pediatrician about when the major milestones should occur with children - and when parents should be concerned over potential delays.

Dr. Jay Maust is a pediatrician at The Children's Clinic. With each child he sees, he hears a similar set of concerns from parents.  "Common concerns are speech development, motor development, fine motor development and social interaction," says Dr. Maust.

The tendency among many parents is to compare the rate of development in their child to a friend's child or to worry if their baby is in the later range on developmental charts.  "There's a range of normal," says Dr. Maust, "they have to keep that in mind. Some babies may walk as early as nine months, others as late as 15 months - all completely normal, every baby's going to be different."

Angela Mouton is a mom to 11 and 13-year-old daughters and then five months ago, Marlie came along.  With Marlie's arrival came a familiar set of questions that Angela had asked herself over a decade ago.  "Her nutrition," says Angela, "keep her nutrition like it's supposed to be and make sure that she's thriving like a baby should."

Thriving for an infant can be tough to gauge, but Dr. Maust says when it comes to simple interaction, there are some signs that a child is reaching early milestones.  "A lot of the babies will start to have more mobility," says Dr. Maust, "they'll start to roll over, their vision develops where they'll have more social interaction and tracking skills and they start to babble and have more speech development."  By about six months, some babies are able to sit up without help.  Around nine months, babies can start pulling up on objects and mobility really takes off around the first birthday.

If you want to get make sure that you are giving your child the most opportunities to thrive, you just need to get involved.  "I talk to her and move around with her and tell her to roll over," says Angela, "and she talks to us pretty much all the time."

"It's always important for parents to interact with the babies," says Dr. Maust, "playing on the floor, floor time where the baby has more time to become mobile and roll over is always important."

*If you feel that your child is falling behind on the development curve, you should contact a pediatrician. And for some free information on infant and toddler development, you can check out the "Here We Grow" seminar Thursday, February 26th with Dr. Maust at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital. Call 477-8551 for more information.