We all celebrate milestones throughout our lives. A few common ones recognized are birthdays and anniversaries which celebrate the passage of time, reflect on the past and anticipate future plans. In our professional life milestones such as promotions and business plans mark moments to stop and assess. These all allow us to acknowledge our accomplishments, can promote positive mental health and strengthen relationships with those around us.
Milestones are just as important for kids. In an age where we have pre-school graduations and participation medals it may be tempting to write off accomplishments of kids as insignificant or not as important. However, the reality of the situation is the exact opposite.
For young children it is important to track and monitor milestones to understand their development. This can help you to support and encourage them as they grow. Traditional milestones like babies’ firsts, their growth and the development of preschool self-help skills, such as potty training or self-dressing, occur at an individual pace but will often follow a gentle, anticipated grid.
Milestones can be great to watch and help evaluate your young one’s physical, social and emotional growth. Our awareness of “general” or “natural” developmental milestones can aid us in identifying challenges or struggles our children are having and allows us to seek early assistance. As adults in their lives, we can become informed by educating ourselves about all the types of milestones and how and when they should be occurring. Once identified, we can take intentional actions to test development along the milestone timeline by arranging play opportunities and fun challenges. These will encourage and facilitate milestone success for each individual child.
Why is Celebrating Milestones Important?
We all understand the importance of following milestones through a child’s life, but why is important?
Point out to the children, HOW they are growing and display it visually if possible. They can see how they are physically growing by a growth chart, but do they know when they have added to their knowledge base and that they are getting smarter? Are they aware of when and how they have practiced a new virtue such as patience or kindness, self-control or inner strength? They are a better human then they were before and HERE is proof! Enjoy having these vital and beautiful conversations and celebrate these milestones as well! Visualization charts and children’s journals are a great way to help track and record these unseen types of growth.
Their Self Identity
It is also important to build children’s identity and understanding of who they are as an individual, as a family member, and as a part of the community. This shows them that they are an important part of a larger group that wants to be a part of their lives. It can help them to understand that there is value and opportunity for growing and contributing to these relationships.
Involve others in your celebrations such as inviting extended family, grandparents or friends. This can be great to help celebrate milestones and visually display to your child who supports them.. You can also ask your kids how they would like to celebrate specific milestones like birthdays or end of year graduations. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box, it’s great to be unique. Include your child’s interests in their milestone celebrations and show them that their input is valued. There is much joy for all when we seek out and celebrate experiences that your kids find important to them, not just what’s important to you.
By celebrating milestones, we show our kids their hard work is valued and that dedication is rewarded. It is important children learn early that, however small, accomplishments deserve recognition. As we get older, we are more able to recognize and acknowledge that our own work is important. These conversations and actions help a child grow in confidence and encourage tackling greater challenges in the future.
Children need to learn to reflect on their own accomplishments, looking back at what they have done and anticipate where they are heading. When a child learns to appreciate their many undertakings, they can start to understand the process of identifying a goal and working towards it.
Life has complex steps and natural seasons which we all move through with ease or difficulty. Education, work, discovery and play can be intertwined to support this progress. Do you need some assistance or inspiration in arranging a variety of play opportunities and fun challenges which will encourage and facilitate milestone success for each individual child?