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Parents, It's Time To Toss Those Baby Progress Charts

Lying awake at night worrying that little Sylvester isn’t walking yet while the other babies in his playgroup cruise around the padded furniture like locomotion is just so last week?

Knock it off. The normal window for infants to develop walking skills is anywhere from 8 to 20 months.Which is to say, there is no normal for babies.

Most baby milestones are like this: developmental achivements that kids cross over in different orders and at different times in their early years depending on a lot of cultural factors, physical readiness and personal quirks.

My first child took her first steps at 7 months old, and by 8 months she was off and running. My second was twice that age when she ventured forth on her own two feet. The first one talked early too, spouting out full sentences in two languages by the time she was 15 months old. Her sister just started in on the full sentences at 2 and a half.

Different kids, different timelines. Most of the baby development timelines we’re bombarded with aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on.

There are a few things you do want to pay attention to, though, and mention to your child’s pediatrician if they don’t happen around a certain age. These are mainly to do with responsiveness and language skills. Their absence can signal the presence of an autism spectrum disorder. The CDC publishes a full, and blessedly short, list of developmental signs you should watch for.

As for the rest, give it a rest. The kids are, for the most part, just fine. No matter what age they start walking and talking.

Photo: Dean Wissing

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