Society Magazine

Two Thirds of Parents Feel ‘under Pressure’ to Hit Baby Milestones

Posted on the 09 October 2013 by 72point @72hub

Millions of British mums feel under pressure to ensure their child reaches certain milestones ‘on time’, new research has shown. Treasured moments such as baby’s first steps and words can prove to be a time of anxiety for mums amid pressure from their peers not to be seen to be ‘behind’.

It also emerged other milestones like a child’s use of a knife and fork, first crawl or swim can also leave mums feeling that their child hasn’t lived up to expectations.

But, for two thirds of the 2,000 mums studied, the reality is that they feel under pressure to ensure their child is able to do things by a certain age.

Four in ten feel other mums judge them on how their child is progressing and the same number talk to other women about child progression at least once a week.

The milestone report, commissioned by Munchkin, the international baby products brand, revealed six in ten mums keep one eye on specific timescales amid their child’s development from a very early age.

Munchkin marketing director Matthew Wilson said:

“The results show mums are very aware of how their child is progressing but sometimes this leads to them placing a lot of pressure on themselves.

“Sometimes it’s easy to place too much emphasis on targets or judge your own child on the basis of other people’s.

“What is important is providing parents with the tools they need to help their child in developing at their own pace.”

And one in five parents admitted they judge their child on the basis of how and when they completed certain milestones.

But 55% get defensive with other parents if their child is a little behind when it comes to a certain skill, while one in six have even pretended their child could do something they hadn’t yet done.

An overwhelming eight in ten feel other mums have a tendency to brag about their child’s achievements – while 60% admitted they are guilty of being a bit boastful themselves.

And child development can prove tricky even between partners – four in ten mums have had disagreements with their husbands over their child’s progression and whether it was on track.

In fact, eight in ten mums feel strongly that children should be allowed to develop at their own pace.

If their child is yet to develop a certain skill, a mom is willing to wait six months on average for the child to get there themselves before starting to worry that there’s a problem with their development.

The biggest influence on a mother’s expectations of her child were found to be strongly influenced by how other children of the same age are progressing.

In fact, one in six mums has taken their child to the doctors because they were worried they weren’t developing a certain skill fast enough, while one quarter have spoken with a teacher because they were concerned.

The average rate of progression for British children was detailed with eating solids first occurring at seven months, crawling at nine months, using a knife and fork at four and a half years and tying their own shoe laces by age five.

Results unearthed the extent of worry mom goes through when it comes to her child’s development and found the average British child is potty trained by age three, can walk by 13 months and rides a bike by the time they are five.

Most children kick their dummies away by age two and a half, drink from a beaker at 11 months and catch a ball first at the age of three.

Matthew Wilson added:

“There are no right or wrong times to achieve things but the results of the survey averages show that most milestones occur within a similar timeframe.

“Having the right tools, accessories and support network can help to alleviate the pressures mums put on themselves when it comes to their children’s development.

“Small changes like making meal times that little bit easier or not worrying about mess and spillages can give mom a breather and allow them to encourage their children.

“Most importantly, enjoy all the milestones along the way and share each one with your baby. There is nothing more fulfilling than watching your little one develop and grow.”


First laugh – 4 months

Having solids for the first time – 7 months

Sitting up unaided – 8 months

Holding a bottle themselves – 8 months

Crawling – 9 months

Feed themselves – 11 months

Drinking from a beaker – 11 months

First word – 11 months

Learned to walk – 13 months

Drinking from a cup – 14 months

Kick a ball – 18 months

Count to ten – 21 months

Getting rid of the dummy – 2 ½ years

Use the toilet – 2 ¾ years

Catch a ball – 3 years

Learn colours – 3 ½ years

Ride a bike with stabilisers – 3 ¾ years

Read their first word – 4 years

Dress themselves – 4 years

Know days of the week – 4 ½ years

Use a knife and fork – 4 ½ years

Tie shoe laces – 5 years

Tell the time – 5 years

Ride a bike without stabilisers – 5 years

Know months of the year – 5 years

Cross the road safely – 5 ½ years

Make a drink themselves – 5 ½ years

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