Moms, especially first-time moms, often have a really hard time not comparing their children to others of the same age. Everyone wants their children to be smart, happy, and incredibly unique. Some of us can get past this (usually), and we can accept our kiddos for who they are and the speed they naturally develop, enjoying the "now" instead of anxiously waiting for the next new thing.
Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it can cause some anxiety. But even more so if you start really suspecting that something is wrong ... whether it's from comparing with other children or reading about age-appropriate development, that nagging feeling that your child may actually be behind can be really scary and upsetting for moms.
But it doesn't need to be.
The first step if you're concerned is to simply talk to your child's doctor. Go over what milestones your toddler should be doing and share where you feel like your child may not be up to par. Often, you'll be pleasantly surprised to hear that your kid is probably right on track and it's just mommy fears. But if it's not, your doctor will give you a referral to someone who will evaluate your little one's skills more in depth, and gauge if they are actually candidates for help.
I had my son Rowan evaluated he was 18 months old -- I was worried about his speech. It took about an hour, over the phone, and she was able to tell me immediately that his physical skills were way ahead, but his verbal skills were around that of a 15-month-old, and so therapy at that point was up to me. I pondered and he started learning and using upwards of seven new words a day, so I blew it off. However, years down the road, those worries came back and he's been in speech therapy for two years. It's not scary, and it's not sad either. In fact, any good therapist makes therapy fun for kids, and often can even be done with peers. A lot of times it's us moms who are more freaked out about therapy than our kids. Physical therapy and speech therapy often revolve around specific and pointed games -- though sometimes it's not always fun and sometimes it can be rough, but that's usually reserved for more severe cases.
The important thing is to not hesitate -- if you're worried, talk about it soon, and get them evaluated soon. The sooner things are noticed, the sooner they can be worked on, and the sooner your kiddo gets up to par. Earlier IS better, and the longer you wait, problems can get more severe. Also, once your child turns 3, your therapy, unless you have awesome insurance, gets turned over to public school districts, and bless them, they're not always equivalent to the private care accessible for smaller kiddos or those with money or great insurance.
Lastly, the sooner you start, the less likely your child is still dealing with their problems when they do enter school. Anyone who has even been through school knows that if you can avoid going in with something like that, it's going to help. It really becomes a bigger "problem" if you ignore it.
Has your child been in therapy? Any tips for moms who are concerned about development?
Image via Ruth L/Flickr