Every parent knows
that children develop at their own pace. Some will be early talkers, some early
walkers. Some will be potty trained like a pro before they reach their second
birthday, while some will take a year or two longer to conquer the milestone.
In the vast
majority of cases, despite when these developmental milestones take place, all
kids will be talking, walking, and using the toilet like any other person by
the time they head off to ‘big school’. However, while pace varies so
dramatically in terms of toddler development, there are a few red flags to
watch out for, particularly when it comes to social and emotional development.
These red flags are usually evident from the age of two upwards. The most
important ones are highlighted below.
The child doesn’t show interest in kids his
By age two, most
toddlers will get a lot of joy out of playing with their peers. This play often
involves conflict too, especially considering that kids this age have yet to
grasp the concept of sharing. Conflict when playing with others is not a cause
for concern and most kids will only really start sharing by the time they
turn four. Parents should, instead, take note if their child shows little or no
interest in playing with other children. This could be a sign of a social
complication that may need addressing. However, it could also merely show that
the child is shy and takes a while to warm up to new people.
The child is demanding when it comes to his
thrive on routine, and this certainly isn’t indicative of a problem. Having
said that, if your child becomes rigid about routine to the point that they
cannot function in the event of something changing, it could be worth a trip to
see a professional just in case. Do your best to encourage more flexibility by
replacing various aspects of their daily routine with pleasant activities, such
as going out for ice cream or playing a few fun family
games. This should provide insight into how significant
the ‘problem’ really is.
The child suffers from extreme separation
Few children find
it easy to separate from their parents. However, it usually gets more
manageable as they grow older. If, by the time they turn four, they are still
struggling with extreme separation anxiety, then it
could be wise to make an appointment with a child psychologist. There may be an
emotional issue or the child may simply not be happy in the environment in
which he is being left when mum and dad go to work. Establishing the underlying
cause of the separation anxiety is essential before trying to help a child
learn to cope with it.
If you notice any
of the aforementioned red flags in your child, it is not a sure-fire indication
that something is amiss. However, it is always worthwhile to bring to your
paediatrician’s attention. After all, early intervention is key if there are
indeed any problems present.