Let me introduce myself
As a start, let me introduce myself. My name is Jennifer Halfin, and I am a mom of two young boys ages three and a half and 20 months. I’m also a pediatric physiotherapist with a love for all things development. Put those two things together, and you get – Milestones and Me!
The idea for this group came to me during my first maternity leave, as I watched my son grow and work towards his milestones alongside his friends. Being the son of a pediatric physiotherapist definitely has its drawbacks, as occasionally our “playtimes” tended to look a little bit like my therapy sessions.
As we attended music classes and playdates I would get questions from a lot of other moms about motor milestones. They wanted to know when their babies should be doing certain things, and how could they help them get there. I would always remind them that milestones are ranges and that every baby develops at their own rate, but it was then that I noticed a gap in our system.
These parents took their babies to monthly doctor’s appointments, but despite their best efforts, most doctors don’t have the “how to” knowledge or the time to spend with parents to explain when motor milestones are achieved, how they are attained, and why they are essential. I found that most parents weren’t getting the answers they needed and very much wanted.
Milestones and me – the baby class
When I returned to work, I decided to organize a group where parents could bring their little ones to play, learn, and understand the way they grow and develop. The feedback was great, and Milestones and Me was “born” into one of the core Children’s Support Solutions groups.
As the group continues to grow, I thought I’d take this opportunity to explain the why of the program, and how empowering parents with knowledge and confidence can impact more than just their child’s development.
- In Milestones and Me, we don’t just list the motor milestones in terms of the ages they emerge at. We explain why they develop in that order, what muscles are engaging, and how the brain learns the movement pattern required for the skill. By understanding the physiology behind the milestone, parents get a sense of how their child is going to progress from one skill to the next, and why it might be such hard work to achieve it (for example, why is tummy time so hard for babies, even though it’s SO important).
- By demonstrating ways to make certain challenging skills easier, we hope to make your play time with your baby that much more enjoyable and fun, leading to a more positive experience for both baby and parent.
- Parents get the opportunity to spend time talking one on one with a therapist who specializes in development. As the group is an hour long, we leave lots of time for questions and make sure everyone understands what’s going on in their child’s development.
- Early motor milestones are the building blocks for future abilities (balance, coordination, handwriting, etc.). By highlighting their importance not just in when they are achieved, but in how they are achieved, we hope to help prepare your child for those skills down the road.
- Should there be any specific concerns or “yellow” flags, we’re there to catch them as soon as possible, allowing for early intervention and guidance into what approach may be best for your child.
The next Milestone and Me group is starting up March 6th, 2018. For any questions or to register, please contact our Child and Family Advisor team at 1.866.653.2397 or click here for more information.