Using Developmental Checklists

I started the morning Play & Workshop program with a checklist of Language Development milestones by age, so I’ll give a few comments about using checklists. The best way to use checklists is to look for progress overtime. I hesitate to even give checklists because many parents immediately fall into one of two traps:
Trap One – Looking only for weaknesses

Many parents get bogged down by items their child is low on. Child may be high on six of seven measures, but the parent is narrowly looking at the seventh category.

Trap Two – Comparing to every other child in the room
Many parents fill out the checklist while glancing just as often at their neighbor’s paper and can’t help but ask, especially if they find an area that’s low (see above).
The best way to use checklists is to fill it out, put it away for a few months, get it out again and fill it out like new. Then go back and check for progress. By all means if you see an area of weakness, you might make a plan of action on how to improve and then really look for progress based on your efforts.While I don’t want you stuck in weaknesses, if you made efforts and still don’t see progress, it may warrant further investigation just don’t get stuck. Worry doesn’t tend to serve you well here.

Author: Dr. Rene Hackney

With a MA in school psychology and a PhD in developmental psychology, I founded and work as a parent educator at Parenting Playgroups. Somewhere in there I trained in the Developmental Clinic at Children's NMC and in the public schools. I have two beautiful, funny children who make me practice what I preach most everyday.

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