Celebrating a child’s ‘firsts’

by Katelin Whiddon

As parents, we watch the development of our children very closely. Even during pregnancy, we research what size our baby is and what is developing at the time. We ask how big they are and note their continuous movement. As we all know, that is only the beginning. 

In pediatric primary care, we spend a lot of time each day discussing developmental milestones with families. We talk about how they are currently developing and what to expect next. We answer questions and concerns and help prepare parents for what is to come. We discuss how to keep them safe and what to watch out for. As most adults know, children are all so very different and often times develop at their own pace. 


When children come in for check ups in our office, our nurses, nurse practitioners and doctors ask about their development. We ask about fine and gross motor development, speech development, sleeping/eating habits, and much more. Staying in touch with your child’s pediatric office will allow them to track your child’s development and make sure they are staying on track. 

In cases of developmental delays, early intervention is often key to having the most positive outcomes in a shorter time frame. The 501 area is blessed with so many wonderful therapy facilities for our children to help them reach their greatest potential. Your child’s pediatric providers can help identify developmental concerns and help refer you to a great facility to help get your child on track. 

Siblings, and even twins, not only have such different personalities but also rates of development. We worry ourselves when our children take longer to talk than our friends’ kids. We worry why they don’t pronounce words the right way or why they are too nervous to take their first steps. Sometimes I see parents worry themselves so much they miss out on enjoying their children. We all hear (and eventually learn it firsthand) that time flies when it comes to our children. Oftentimes, it seems we blink and then they’re growing up right in front of us. Try to take time to enjoy your children before that time is gone forever. 

Healthychildren.org is a branch of the American Academy of Pediatrics. This is a tool I have shared with numerous families over the years. It has thousands of helpful articles for every stage of a child’s life. Healthy Children lists basic skills children should have at each age. Feel free to check out the website for developmental expectations and other great free resources. 

If you are concerned that your child is not meeting milestones as they should, talk to their health care provider.


A Conway native, Katelin Whiddon is a nurse practitioner at the Conway wound clinic for Arkansas Heart Hospital. She and her husband, Daniel, have two daughters. A University of Central Arkansas graduate, she has her bachelor’s and master’s degrees and works in pediatrics.