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Ep. 85 - How Understanding Developmental Milestones Can Relieve Caregiver Stress

Jul 06, 2023

In episode 85 we are joined by Dr. Whitney Casares, a board-certified pediatrician, and author. Dr. Casares has extensive experience working with families to support children's healthy development, and in this conversation, we dive deep into the topic of developmental milestones and their impact on children's growth.

Developmental milestones are specific skills that children acquire as they grow and progress through different stages of development. These milestones can be divided into several categories, including physical, cognitive, emotional, and social milestones. From learning to walk and talk to building relationships with others, these milestones are crucial for children's overall development.

Parents often feel overwhelmed and stressed by the pressure of keeping up with perceived expectations for their child's development. It's easy to fall into the trap of comparing your child's progress to others or feeling like you're not doing enough to support your child's growth. However, Dr. Casares emphasizes that it's essential to understand that each child is a unique individual with their own strengths and challenges. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to supporting children's growth and development.

Physical milestones are often the first set of milestones that parents focus on. From rolling over and crawling to walking and running, these skills are an essential part of a child's physical development. Dr. Casares explains that it's important to remember that physical development is not a linear process, and children will progress at their own pace. Some children may start walking earlier than others, while some may take longer to achieve other physical milestones.

Cognitive milestones, on the other hand, refer to a child's ability to think, learn, and problem-solve. From recognizing familiar faces and objects to developing language skills and solving puzzles, cognitive milestones are critical for a child's intellectual growth. Dr. Casares highlights that parents can support their child's cognitive development by providing stimulating and engaging environments, playing with their children, and reading to them.

Emotional milestones are often overlooked but are just as crucial as physical and cognitive milestones. Emotional milestones refer to a child's ability to understand and regulate their emotions. From developing a sense of trust to managing their feelings and building resilience, emotional milestones play a crucial role in a child's overall wellbeing. Dr. Casares explains that parents can support their child's emotional development by creating a safe and supportive environment, validating their feelings, and teaching them healthy coping mechanisms.

Social milestones are another important aspect of children's development. From forming friendships to understanding social norms and expectations, social milestones play a critical role in a child's social and emotional growth. Dr. Casares emphasizes that parents can support their child's social development by providing opportunities for social interaction, teaching them empathy and kindness, and modeling positive social behaviors.

Despite the importance of developmental milestones, it's important to remember that children will progress at their own pace, and it's essential to avoid comparing your child's progress to others. Dr. Casares highlights that it's crucial to understand each child's unique strengths and challenges and support them accordingly. It's also important to seek out resources and support from trusted sources, rather than being overwhelmed by the abundance of information available online.

Building a positive social network is also essential for parents. Having a supportive community of friends, family, and professionals can help parents navigate the challenges of raising a child and provide a safe space to share their concerns and seek advice. Dr. Casares also highlights the importance of filtering out unhelpful advice and resources that push unrealistic expectations for children's development. Instead, it's essential to focus on evidence-based information and seek out advice from trusted professionals.

You can discover more about Dr. Casares’ work by downloading the app Modern Mama's Club, following her on instagram @modernmommydoc, visiting her website and by reading her book The Working Mom Blueprint.

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