Normal Variations of Childhood Development & When to Consult a Paediatric Physiotherapist

As parents and caregivers, it’s only natural to be curious and sometimes even concerned about our child’s development. The question […]


As parents and caregivers, it’s only natural to be curious and sometimes even concerned about our child’s development. The question of what’s considered “normal” in a child’s growth journey often weighs heavily on the minds of parents and caregivers. One of the most repeated questions we get from clients and their families is whether their child’s presentation is normal. In reality, what’s considered normal childhood development lies on a large spectrum. At Upside Kids Physio & Health, we understand these concerns and are here to shed light on the spectrum of normal variations in typical development.


Normal Milestones: A Spectrum of Progress

Developmental milestones, those exciting achievements that mark a child’s growth, are as diverse as the children themselves. Some of the normal variations we might encounter are:

– Rolling: It’s normal for a child to begin rolling anywhere up to 6 months.

– Sitting: Independent sitting typically begins around 8 months of age.

– Crawling: Hands-and-knees crawling may emerge between 5-13 months.

– Walking: The journey to independent walking extends up to 18 months.


**It is also important to remember that if your child was born prematurely, we will take this

into account when assessing your child’s development up to the age of 2 years old!


Growing Pains: Normal Variations in the Growing Child

As children grow, their bodies adapt to the acquisition of gross motor skills. Here’s a look at some variations that lie on a spectrum:

– Bowed Legs: Some degree of bowing is expected up to 2.5 years of age.

– Knock Knees: “Knocked knees” may be present from 2-8 years old.

– In-toeing: In-toeing is typical up to the age of 8-10 years, dependent on leg area.

– Creeping Big Toe: Metatarsus adductus, or creeping toe, may occur in new walkers, resolving around 2-3 years.

– Out-toeing: Out-toeing is expected up to 10 years of age.

– Flat Feet: The arch typically finishes developing around 6 years of age.


Variance in Movement: It’s All Part of the Journey

Just as adults exhibit variations in running gaits or writing styles, children showcase diverse movement patterns. Crawling, for instance, may take unconventional forms. Some children may initially prefer bum shuffling over the conventional method. Toe-walking during the early stages of walking is normal and often a part of a child’s journey in learning how to walk.


When to Consult a Paediatric Physiotherapist

While variance in childhood development is normal, there are instances when consulting a paediatric physiotherapist is recommended. Look out for these signs and consider an assessment if your child:

– Exhibits plagiocephaly (flat head) or torticollis (tight neck).

– Experiences clicking or clunking in the hips.

– They struggle to hold their head up independently during tummy time by 5 months.

– Cannot sit independently by 8 months.

– Lacks independent mobility by 12 months.

– Fails to walk independently by 18 months.

– Displays a loss or asymmetric development of a skill at any age.

– Presents unilateral variations.

– Has difficulty maintaining positions for extended periods.

– Complaints of pain or shows signs of discomfort.

– Exhibits limping.

– Shows excessive or worsening bowing, knock-knees, in-toeing, or out-toeing.

– Demonstrates consistent toe walking.

– Struggles with crossing the midline, using arms and legs simultaneously, or overall coordination.

– Faces challenges with jumping, hopping, running, throwing, or catching.

– Appears unable to keep up with same-aged peers.

– If you, as a parent, are concerned about your child’s development.


Seeking Support at Upside Kids Physio & Health

If any of these childhood development concerns resonate with you, don’t hesitate to reach out to our dedicated staff for an initial assessment. At Upside Kids Physio & Health, we’re committed to supporting your child’s unique journey, ensuring that they thrive at every stage of development.

For questions or to schedule an assessment, please contact our friendly admin team. Your child’s well-being is our priority!

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