Parents worry whether their toddler is developing at a normal pace, but in most cases concern is unwarranted, as children hit milestones at different times.
Comparing your toddler
Try to avoid conversations with mums or grandparents which compare your toddler’s development to another child’s. Your child will develop at a pace that’s normal for her, and it’s typical for children who race ahead in one area, like learning to talk, to lag in another, like walking.
Read what to expect each month13 Months 14 Months 15 Months 16 Months 17 Months 18 Months 19 Months 20 Months 21 Months 22 Months 23 Months 24 Months
Walking, talking, staying dry by day
These three milestones probably cause more parental anxiety than any others. There’s a vast range in what’s considered the “normal” age for a child to start walking (between 9 and 18 months), talking enthusiastically (between 1 and 3 years) and using the potty or toilet (9 months to 3 years). The best you can do is watch for signs that your child is interested in moving onto the next stage and encourage her, rather than trying to push.
Eyes, ears and teeth
Try to focus less on the “anxious three” above, and pay more attention to vision, hearing and dental hygiene. A cast or “lazy eye” needs fast action to protect your child’s developing eyesight, and bumping into things or clumsiness may indicate weak vision. Ear infections, too, must always be treated promptly to protect hearing, and brushing your child’s teeth (standing behind her, her head leaning back against you) should be a part of your routine from early on.
A little bit me, a little bit you
You’re best able to support your toddler’s development when you feel well in yourself. Your GP or nurse may (and should) inquire about your own physical and mental well-being during your toddler’s developmental checkups. Almost all new mothers — 80% — report some form of depression, and full-blown postnatal depression can strike any mother. As your child reaches toddlerhood, speak to your doctor if you feel trapped by feelings of inadequacy, guilt, or indifference to your child.