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Does age based baby information scare mums?

(14 Posts)
fionithink Fri 05-Dec-14 13:54:39

I'm writing up a piece of info to tell mums of babies and tots about how to help their child develop physically, cognitively, socially and with communication through playing with them.
The piece will provide information based on each stage of their growth between 0 to 6 years.
I have been told that I shouldnt use 'age' as a mile stone of development because it scares mums to think that their child should be at a certain stage of development by a certain age. for example I was told not to say between 0-1 years a child its good to play peekapoo with your child. Or between 0-1 years saying the names of objects during play will help him learn faster. I have been adviced to just leave the age quite vague and perhaps say something like 'when you child is starting to walk... instead of mentioning the age.
Im not sure whether to trust this information and I find it very difficult to provide useful information to mums without about child development without giving you guys an age to use as a mile stone.

What are your thoughts? Should I use age or not?
I really look forward to reading your expert mum opinions.

golemmings Fri 05-Dec-14 14:18:00

I think ages help. I found it useful when dd was born because i had no idea what i should expect when. According to my mum's records (which were obviously mis-dated) i was some kind of child genius (until everyone caught me up and i turned out profoundly average) so i expected dd to know all her shapes,colours,numbers etc by 18 months. Having milestones with ages helped me realise how wrong mum's data was and set rather more realistic expectations.

Otoh ds was born with encephalopathy and until he started to meet milestones i had no idea if he would be NT or not. Having target dates for stuff allowed me to see where his strengths and weaknesses were and call in professional support where necessary.

fionithink Fri 05-Dec-14 14:32:20

Thank you golemmings for your advice. This is very useful and very much inline with my own logic. I can't wait too discover if this point of view represents the broader spectrum of mums or if we're a minority

Trinpy Fri 05-Dec-14 14:55:40

I think most parents have a rough idea of when babies are supposed to reach certain milestones anyway.

Geneticsbunny Fri 05-Dec-14 14:59:45

I hate the age things. I find them really worrying. There is such huge variation in normal children that it can really worry those who have slow starters. E.g my friends child didn't walk until 22 months, which is later than the normal range of 10-18 months but the child has a very cautious personality and still does and has no developmental problems. She was very anxious about the lack of walking at the time though.

Lazymummy2014 Fri 05-Dec-14 15:00:46

I think giving an exact age can be worrying but giving an age range is helpful. As in 'at six months your baby will learn to sit up unaided' vs 'between the ages of 6 and 8 months your baby will learn to sit unaided'.

Can you guess what I'm waiting for my 6.5 month old DD to do?!

Geneticsbunny Fri 05-Dec-14 15:01:51

Also is the advice 'allowed' to be used by parents of children with disabilities? If so then the age related milestones are totally inappropriate and will cause huge amounts of stress for the parents.

fionithink Fri 05-Dec-14 15:16:59

Thankyou for your interesting thoughts.
can you suggest anything else I could use as a milestone if not age?

if I was to use a child's abilities i.e. walking, crawling, running, using a tricycle etc. as a milestone instead of age, would that be less worrying for parents of children with disabilities? because there are disabilities that effect these milestones too.

Thanks everyone for your amazing opinions on this.

Geneticsbunny Fri 05-Dec-14 15:50:32

Is it possible to present your advice with the basis that development is analogue process? I.e more as a continuum rather than distinct steps? Disabilities are all very different but each child will be progressing at some speed along the continuum.

Geneticsbunny Fri 05-Dec-14 15:53:07

Personally I would say that the abilities would be better as even if you have a disabled child you will be aware of what they can and can't do, possibly even more aware than other parents as they may have really struggled to achieve those milestones. Is the aim to encourage parents to help their child reach the next milestone?

DontCallMeBaby Fri 05-Dec-14 16:02:58

The 0-1 examples you give don't seem like ones that could be worrying - one, they're incredibly vague (newborn to a year old is a world of difference), two, they're about the way the parent might want to interact, not the child's achievements. So, provided you have a good enough understanding of when children are receptive to learning certain things, giving broad age ranges for what parents can do to encourage those skills seems reasonable.

Likewise, giving suggestions for activities that suit the child's actual and emerging skills - eg the kind of things that only work when a child can sit independently - also seems reasonable.

Really prescriptive milestones (at six months your child will do x, y, z) are unhelpful. The only use for those is in the context of knowing that if a child isn't doing something by a given age (usually much older than you think) there might be an issue, and that's a job for medical professionals.

As an aside, the worst milestone example I ever saw was in a hospital - milestones poster which included crawling. Not only do some children never crawl, the prescribed age was one at which DD had still been sitting on her well-padded bum, refusing to move.

zzzzz Fri 05-Dec-14 16:11:54

I would be MORE interested in how long you expected them to stay at each stage and what the chain of skills is.
How are you sourcing your data?
What and how are you expecting it to be used?

Chrystal0205 Sun 07-Dec-14 17:56:04

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

zzzzz Sun 07-Dec-14 18:11:09

I think it's more usual to tell people who you are, what the aim of the research is and who will see the data, BEFORE. Recruiting them.

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