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Developmental Leaps Past the Baby & Toddler Stage

Child Development

When I was in education I used to LOVE child development but back then I didn't have any children of my own to relate my studies to. Nowadays, I've got the children without the time or necessary level of concentration to learn the psychology of child development! However the remnants of memory I do have surrounding child development allow me to notice certain things in my children that perhaps other parents that haven't had that experience wouldn't see.


Development leaps. Do you notice them? Do they take you by surprise?

A few weeks ago I found myself telling some close friends about some bizarre behaviour coming from Benedykt (4). It almost felt a little regressive: he was showing signs of being overtired in the afternoons and having some really big explosive feet-stomping emotional episodes.

What are the signs of a developmental leap or growth spurt?

The first couple times caught me by surprise and because I hadn’t seen that in him for so long, I handled it badly, but when I found myself telling my friends it dawned on me that the classic list of acute behaviours surrounding growth and development spurts were all there:

 

* More tired than usual & sleeping more

* Inability to control emotions (regular meltdowns)

* Clumsiness (so many falls!)

* Eating more

* Having strange “memories”

* Bedwetting (if otherwise dry)

 

I’ve noticed that last one several times with Benedykt. Last week, he had a sudden memory of his old single bed, the one he had before we got bunk beds for him to share with Sylvester. He just randomly said to me: “I want my old bed back!” and it he became fixated on it for ages, and then began to sob wildly when I explained he couldn’t have it back. Benedykt does have an extraordinarily long memory, but he wouldn’t usually get so inconsolable. In the past, Benedykt has randomly got very tearful about things like toys he had over 12 months ago that broke and were disposed of, or special occasion chocolates like at Easter 2018 we had a "Chocolate Bunny" in the house which eventually disappeared after a few weeks. In December 2019, Benedykt often mentioned the "chocolate bunny" in his meltdowns, and it became a bit of a key word that I would recognise as when he was going through a neurological leap!

How Long Do Developmental Leaps Last?

In my experience with my 3 children, this sort of growth spurt can last 1-2 weeks. However, it is usually typical that by the time you have noticed all the signs, you're usually on the way out of it so things are already on the up!

How Do I Know if my Child has had a Growth Spurt or Developmental Leap?

In short: New Skills! Suddenly you will notice some of the following:

* Taller (clothes don't fit!)

* Weight gain

* New skills: check fine/gross motor ability, vocabulary, pronunciation, cognition (thought & concepts)... the list is endless

* The signs of the leap have dissipated (less emotional meltdowns, more regular sleep pattern, less clumsy)

In Benedykt's most recent leap, when we were clear of it, he had suddenly developed a different way of speaking, more clear elocution and pronunciation, a few more words in his vocabulary. He also showed some really great logic and critical thinking and it was after this I realised we had weathered the storm and we were out of it!