Anxious about your late walker? I know how you feel. As my daughter approached her first birthday, my husband and I were on walk-watch. My son had walked right around 12 months so we anticipated she would follow suit. Thirteen months passed, then fourteen months, then fifteen months. She wasn’t walking. She was crawling and was content to sit while her big brother entertained her and handed her toys.
Family, friends, and even strangers would ask us if she was walking yet. I was so sensitive about the issue, I felt like people wouldn’t stop asking. When we answered no, people would either share a story of someone they knew who was a delayed walker, or look worried and change the subject. Either way, every time we were confronted with the question I became anxious. I would automatically over explain that our pediatrician assured us (many times) that our daughter was perfectly fine and would walk when she wanted to walk. Sure enough, a few days before she turned eighteen months(!), she got up and started walking. In turn, she saved herself a trip to a specialist to find out why she wasn’t walking.
Throughout those six months of anxiety leading up to my daughter walking, my mom would always ask why we were all so fixated on when she was going to walk and other milestones. “Back when you girls were growing up, no one ever mentioned milestones,” my mom always reminded me. “We all just knew that everyone is caught up by the time they enter kindergarten.”
Now in most cases, she is correct, but we know so much about Autism, and that early intervention is key. As parents, milestones are drilled into our head. We receive weekly emails from parenting websites that tell us what our baby/toddler should be doing that week. There is no doubt that milestones are important. We need to pay attention and discuss any issues with a pediatrician. But when our doctors tell us there isn’t a problem, we need to stop using the milestone recommendations as a measuring stick for our kids.
Kids (especially stubborn ones like my daughter) do things on their own time table. In fact, child expert Dr. Sears says temperament is one of the main factors that determine when children will walk. So if you have a late walker (or talker, or potty trainer) that your doctor said is fine, don’t stress. Your little one will walk when he or she is ready.