Ditch The Milestone Lists!

Often Mums are asked what advice they would give to other Mums and one of mine would be that Every Child Is Different!

With our first son, we joined NCT and we often joke, as I’ve heard other parenting friends do too, that you do NCT to buy friends.  I am eternally grateful to Rory for the friendships I have with some of the NCT mothers six years on.  However, because the children are all the same age, you can’t help but compare them.  I can remember thinking ‘Little Johnny is rolling, why isn’t our son rolling?’ or ‘Little Johnny is sleeping through, why isn’t our child sleeping through.’  And then of course, there’s Google and the websites with lists telling you at what age children ought to do things.

Parenting Rowan, our second son, has definitely felt more liberating because I don’t have other babies around us who are his precise age.  Also, and I’m not sure why, but I haven’t felt the need to keep consulting those dreaded lists to see what he should be doing.

It’s fascinating to me that that our boys have the same parents and have been raised in the same parenting style and yet they could not be more different!  In almost all aspects of their lives they are polar opposites.  When Rory was a baby, he loved to co sleep and he wouldn’t fall asleep unless you stayed with him until he was completely asleep.  In contrast Rowan finds having someone in his room far too over stimulating and he just wants to play.  Bedtimes for him consist of milk, stories, songs and then a goodnight kiss followed by a swift exit.

Sometimes it is hard to believe it but we are all doing a great job.  We do the very best we can for our children and we make choices for them because we know them and we do what we believe is best for them.  The online lists of milestones don’t know your child.  Children excel at different things and they develop at different rates.  Letting go of these lists, is so liberating because you lose the worry.

For the purpose of this post, I had a little look at what Rowan should be doing at his age.  One of these lists suggests that at 20 months children should be learning ten new words a day.  Rowan doesn’t speak other than a collection of animal noises.  He can mimic plenty of sounds but at the moment he doesn’t chose to blend these together into words.  Should I have been following the list, I’d be going barmy by now as to why he wasn’t talking.  What good is that doing?  It’s not good for my self esteem as a parent to feel like I’m failing and its not good for the child to be potentially harassed into talking.  He’s going to talk at some point and can confidently use baby signing to express himself so there’s no need for the stress of the monthly milestone expectations.

I’d thorough urge you to have a milestone detox and ditch the list too!  Instead, take time to celebrate the milestones, big and small, as your child achieves them.


Musings Of A Tired Mummy



  1. I didn’t bother with milestone lists with my second child either. I used to consult them all the time with my first!Children all learn and develop at their own rate and some are just better at certain stuff. Lovely post thanks for sharing xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this! I feel like some parents can be so competitive and its a shame because behind the scenes they must be so stressed and worried I know I used to be over Lottie’s speech but then I just learned to let it go. However, now I have her 30 month check up due which is literally a list of things they should definitely be able to do and you can’t help but worry a little I think it’s so silly that in this day and age the NHS still use a “list” to measure your child’s abilities, like she’s some sort of experiment. Why don’t they come to my house and watch her fir half an hour? That would give a much better impression. I know my child is happy and healthy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I couldn’t agree more! Half the things on their list are ridiculous too. A friend of mine’s son ‘failed’ his 1 year check so his parents had to complete a questionnaire about him which was at least ten pages, full of ridiculous questions. He’s now 3 1/2 and you couldn’t wish to meet a more intelligent child! Child just grow and learn at their own rate.


  3. Love this. I’m a private day nursery manager and constantly find myself reminding parents how unique children are and that they shouldn’t compare them to others, siblings included.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Milestones can become competitive between parents and as children are individuals they all reach milestones individually too#blogginggoodtime@_karendennis


  5. it is way too easy to compare and as you say every child is different, Aspen was running at 11 months, April was only just beginning to walk at 16 months, then Adam was 12 months. I guess we want to make sure that they roughly fit into developmental scales as to look at early intervention if major delays are apparent, but otherwise I completely agree with you. We can worry ourselves and stress our children for no reason if we think they are going to do everything based on the average. Thanks for linking up a great post #ABloggingGoodTime

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh I love this and am 110% with you – including buying my NCT friends! First time round was hard with everyone comparing, and those bloody stupid Wonder Weeks apps and sodding ‘leaps’. You were constant doubting why your baby wasn’t doing what they should be doing. Second time round with my twins, I’ve not looked at a single thing and don’t intend to. They’ll do what they do, when they want. And don’t worry, mine are two next month and still don’t have 10 words – am I worried? No! #ItsOK

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I do think we need milestones so we know if our children are developing and don’t have any underlying problems or issues. But these milestone lists need to recognise that all children develop at different rates


    • I absolutely agree. I just feel the Milestone Lists that say ‘at 3 months, 4 month, 5 months etc they should do xyz’ are really unhelpful and just cause unnecessary stress to parents. As you say, they all develop at their own rate. They just need to be a little more general with their time frames.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Goodness me, you are so right! I have 3 children and they are all so different! My youngest is only 3 but can read and write but isn’t potty trained or sleep trained! Thanks for linking up with #globalblogging


  9. I could not agree more. It does you no good to compare your child to others. Sometimes I do get sucked into it but I try my hardest to just focus on my daughters and their progress and celebrate it instead of constantly looking at what other kids are doing. Great advice! #globalblogging


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