I remember the day my little sister finally hit the developmental milestone that allowed her to walk in a walker because it always caused a ton of laughs for the family whenever we visited my aunt’s house and her Schnauzer/Poodle mix would try to play with her by playfully barking and walking beside her as she scooted joyfully around the living room.
I won’t lie, it was pretty funny watching this medium-sized dog that looked like a cute stuffed animal think that was a big and strong Rottweiler and who took it upon herself to be my sister’s self-appointed helper as she zoomed around the room. If this had taken place in the era of smartphones and popular videos, then I have no doubt that if I’d filmed it and posted it on the Internet, it definitely would have gone viral in no time.
Unlike my sister, who from what I can recall hit all of the usual developmental milestones at the appropriate ages, there are children that are total late bloomers who love to drive their poor mothers to distraction because they don’t know if their little one is simply moving at their own pace or if there’s something more going on that they need to chat with the pediatrician about.
Worry not, moms of late bloomers—there is solidarity in numbers and knowledge like the list of tips below, is power.
Let's start with the 10 ways that mom and baby might not be right on schedule...
20 The Little One Isn't Quite Potty Trained
Much like when dog owners are dealing with trying to housebreak a puppy, potty training children is a frustrating challenge for many mothers—especially if they are dealing with a particularly stubborn toddler.
Wonder Baby recommends to not fall for the temptation of starting the potty training too early, as it is only going to backfire. The AAP adds that children that are potty trained by the age of 18 months tend to not get the hang of it until they are 4 years old.
The ideal age to teach a child how to use the bathroom is anywhere from the age of 2 to 3 years old.
19 They Can't Sleep Through The Night
Can Do Kiddo writes that every mother hopes that it will be easy to get their infant onto a schedule where they will wake up at a reasonable time and that they will sleep at least through most of the night so that the adults in the house won't be entirely deprived of shut-eye.
This doesn’t always happen though—for example, there are some children that sleep all day and keep their exhausted mother up all night. I was one such hellion when I was an infant; my mother used to tell me funny stories about how I was a night owl from the time I was a baby and I’d used to keep her up all night with my crying.
18 Their Climbing Skills Need Some Work
When my little sister was a baby, she was pretty mischievous and loved to climb onto things that were strictly off-limits. She gave her baby-sitter Madeline and my parents some scares that likely gave them plenty of grey hairs before she reached the age of five.
Today’s Parent points out that climbing is often considered a developmental milestone and it can confuse or worry some moms when they notice that their baby doesn’t seem to have an adventurous bone in their body.
Of course, no one wants their little one to climb like George of the Jungle, but it is nerve-wracking when you expect them to hit a certain developmental milestone and they’re content to keep crawling around on the floor.
17 You're Waiting On Pins And Needles For Them To Learn To Talk
I’ll fully admit that my eight-year-old self felt that being a big sister was pretty boring up until my little sister learned how to talk and was a bit more coordinated since it made playing dolls or re-enacting the plot of The Lion King with our animal figurines a lot easier.
Parents writes that moms are always looking forward to hearing their little one learn how to speak. But there are some little ones that still prefer to communicate by way of gestures, grunts or simply pointing their finger at the item that they want, even by the time that they hit a year old and seem to delight in causing their poor mothers to turn into the world’s biggest worry warts.
16 You Want Them To Start Teething ASAP
If there is one thing both dog owners and parents can agree on, it is that teething puppies and teething infants can be frustrating to deal with due to the fact that they want to chew and gnaw on pretty much everything in order to soothe their aching gums.
Mother For Life points out that babies tend to get their first tooth by the time they are six months old, although there are the occasional stories online about babies sprouting their first tooth at the tender age of three months.
That being said, it can also be frustrating for moms that keep checking to see if their child gets their first tooth at the age of six months and none appears until they are closer to a year. While it is disappointing if your child is a late bloomer with regards to their teeth, rest assured that it’s a perfectly normal occurrence.
15 Your Child Doesn't Know How To Pull Themselves Up Into A Stand
My boyfriend recently mentioned during a conversation that his sister told him her son had recently learned how to stand. We had a good giggle over hearing about that milestone because we both know that walking can’t be too far behind. If his bright and mischievous nature is any indication, that little guy is definitely going to be keeping his parents on their toes!
Parents warns that not every child is like my boyfriend’s nephew though, and some take forever to pass the developmental milestone of learning to pull themselves up into a stand. Much like with later bloomers that are hesitant to walk, the causes are often due to genetics, muscle tone, and even personality. Still, it’s always a good idea to discuss any concerns with your child’s doctors just to double check that everything’s fine.
14 Your Child Doesn't Know What Nap Time Is
Can Do Kiddo adds that many mothers are ready to tear their hair out in frustration when their baby does not seem to understand the concept of “nap time.” Ideally, babies will nap for 30 minutes or more in the morning, afternoon, and at night.
Of course, there are always the infants that metaphorically march to the beat of their own drum and their circadian rhythm is a mystery to their poor parents because they nap at odd hours or even refuse to close their eyes and get some sleep entirely.
Too bad they can’t talk yet, otherwise their parents could tell them to enjoy naptime while they can, since they can’t take a break and sleep when they’re adults and are part of the working world..
13 They're A Fussy Eater
Wholesome Baby Food points out that unlike the popular image of an infant that gleefully chows down on a bottle any time, any day, there are some children that are very fussy eaters.
This is pretty funny when you’re watching an old episode of Dinosaurs and Baby tosses something at his father Earl Sinclair, but it loses its humor when you’re a mother trying to make sure that their son or daughter gets the nourishment that they need. My mom learned the hard way that this was no laughing matter when my little sister became a fussy eater and never laughed at the fussy babies in a movie or a television show ever again.
12 Riding A Tricycle Makes Them Feel Apprehensive
Baby Centre adds that it is pretty common for parents to give their toddler a tricycle once they are confident in their walking ability. It’s considered a milestone amongst many parents when they burst with pride after seeing their little one figure out how to peddle and zoom around on their new mode of transportation.
For moms whose toddlers have not hit this milestone yet, it can be nerve-wracking because it’s so ingrained in common culture to give a child a tricycle and teach them how to use it; this leads to a lot of stress about whether or not you’re child is going to be a late bloomer or if there is something else going on.
11 The Kiddo Doesn't Want To Crawl
Many moms love to take videos and pictures to post on all of their social media accounts when their baby hits the crawling stage and yakking away with anyone that will listen about how their child recently hit another developmental milestone.
Babble notes that this expectation can only serve to stress moms of babies that don’t seem to want to figure out how to crawl out. They may even begin to fret and wonder if they accidentally did something wrong in the months prior or if this is the start of a much more serious concern. While it’s definitely a good idea to call your pediatrician to discuss your worries, some children skip the crawling stage and go directly to walking or learn to crawl later since they haven’t quite developed the muscle tone needed.
And here are the 10 things mom can do to help move things along...
10 For When Dressing Themselves Is Still A Struggle
Most mothers rejoice when their toddler hits the developmental milestone of being coordinated enough to dress themselves since that makes their mornings a bit easier.
Raising Children points out that if your toddler is a late bloomer that hasn’t quite gotten the hang of learning how to dress themselves, one way to teach them is by purchasing easy-to-use clothing and pointing them out by name as they are getting dressed.
Next, you can break down the act of dressing into easy-to-follow steps so you can make sure that your child isn’t accidentally getting confused and it gives them time to absorb the information instead of rushing through it.
9 Make Eye Contact And Narrate What You're Doing At A Given Moment
Parents notes that if, as a mother, you are worried that their child isn’t speaking just yet, you can play a game that will teach them new words and that will hopefully expand their vocabulary when they do figure out the fine art of conversation.
Whether you are at home or out and about running errands such as grocery shopping, make eye contact with your child and narrate what you are doing in a loud and clear voice.
Sure, your fellow grocery shoppers or your neighbors might side-eye you once in a while and will wonder what the heck you’re doing, but it’ll help your child expand their vocabulary because they’ll be able to start picking up different words from watching you.
8 Discuss Your Concerns With A Pediatrician ASAP
Parents adds that for mothers that are feeling concerned that there could be something more to their child than just being a “late bloomer,” it is always best to discuss their concerns with their little one’s pediatricians.
Their doctor will be able to reassure them if this is pretty normal behavior that they don’t need to be worried or if they need to take a closer look at their child in order to figure out what is going on. If your pediatrician ignores your concerns or your gut instinct says there’s something else going on, you should always seek a second opinion just for your own peace of mind.
7 Check Their Hearing
Comprehend The Mind writes that if moms are worried because their son or daughter hasn’t spoken their first word yet while their cousins that are the exact same age can say the word “Mama” or has a vocabulary of 10 words, it is a good idea to talk to your pediatrician about having your child’s hearing checked just to rule out that hearing loss isn’t the culprit of their silence.
Hearing impairment can be subtle and hard to detect; I was seven years old when I flunked a routine auditory exam in elementary school. This led to an endless round of Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor visits and plenty of hearing tests before I found out that I have moderate “mixed” (meaning some of it’s environmental and some it is just genetics) loss in my right ear.
6 Come Up With Creative Ways To Motivate Them To Walk By Themselves
According to Parents, one way for mothers of late bloomers that are reluctant to start the process of learning how to walk is to brainstorm creative ways to inspire their child to stand on their own two feet-literally.
One way to do that is by lifting your child onto their feet and allowing them to hold onto something like the edge of the couch or the coffee table.
Let them stand there for a bit because eventually, they’re going to get bored and want to move, which will allow them to experiment with walking aided for a few steps. Eventually, your little one should develop the confidence to walk without holding onto the coffee table or the couch.
5 Label Objects When Out And About
According to Parents, another way to teach children that are late bloomers in regards to their talking skills is to label every single item that they have around them.
For example, if you bring your little one out with you when you’re running errands such as grocery shopping, you can pick up items such as a carton of milk or a bushel of apples, point to them and state in a loud and clear voice what they are. This game will show your child that each item around him or her actually has a name and it also allows their vocabulary to expand too.
4 Teach Your Child Recall Via Games
Any good dog trainer worth their salt will tell you that playing recall games such as a Round Robin with the owner and some of their friends alternatively calling out the pooch’s name and then sending them off to play again or Hide and Go Seek indoors is a great way to teach your four-legged friend to come back when called.
Parents adds that you can take the concept of recall games and apply it to teaching late bloomers how to walk. Moms can either encourage their child to take steps by walking with them as you hold their hands or kneel down and urge them to “come over to Mommy.”
3 Make Sure There's No Changes In Routine That Would Disrupt Nap Time
For babies and toddlers that absolutely refuse to learn how to stick to a nap schedule and won’t sleep throughout the night, Parents highly recommends making a list of any possible recent changes in their routine that could have made their circadian rhythm go haywire.
Once you have identified the change that threw off their schedule, you can push their naptime forward 10 to 15 minutes a day—even if all your little one does is read a book in bed or listens to soft music.
In a few weeks, the gap between naptime and bedtime should have closed and the timing for both should be earlier and stay consistent for continued success.
2 Give Your Child Enough Room To Practice Walking
If your child hasn’t quite gotten the hang of figuring out how to walk yet, Parents writes that one method is to go around the house or apartment and figure out if your little one has enough floor time and the room to practice taking their first steps, since sometimes a cramped area may throw off their confidence a bit.
Next, go around the designated room(s) and triple-check that it is childproofed with baby gates blocking the stairs (if any), etc. so that your little one can practice their motor skills without you having to fret over any possible safety concerns.
1 Play Interactive Games To Improve Hand-Eye Coordination Like The Itsy Bitsy Spider
For moms of late bloomers that are lagging behind in the traditional hand-eye coordination skills and that have noticed that their child is struggling with learning how to dress themselves, Parents says that one way to help them improve is by engaging them with hand-play games.
Children love fun games, but you really have to pick a game that is in line with their personality. Some little ones adore patty-cake while others, like yours truly as a wee lass, were huge fans of the Itsy Bitsy Spider.
Heck, there are even some children out there that would turn up their nose at the aforementioned games and would rather a simple game of giving their moms high-fives randomly throughout the day.