Suppose: Imagine you felt accepted and supported just as you are, appreciated for everything you do, celebrated and observed in each new accomplishment and allowed time to explore, try, experiment and experience life without judgment or fear of failure. How would it feel to build a lifetime from this strong foundation? Linda Hinrichs

baby robins ©2011 jessi k
So often parents come to me with questions and concerns about their child’s development – “All of the other babies in our play group have been sitting up for months now. When will my baby learn to sit up?” “Will she ever get over her fear of the water and learn to swim?” “When will he start talking?” She’s almost four years old, and she’s not potty trained yet. Should I be worried?” “I’m worried because s/he doesn’t (fill in the blank), yet.”

I’ve often been encouraged by parents, colleagues, and friends to write a book for parents. I have always maintained that there was no need for this since the two best books (Your Self Confident Baby, and Dear Parent) I’ve ever read on the subject of caring for babies have already been written by one of my finest teachers. I really can’t think of anything to add- or a better way to say what she already has.

This being the case – if I was going to write a book it would be short, simple, and sweet- not at all my usual style.

Lucky you, I am going to convey the entire contents of my book to you now, and it won’t cost you a penny!

The idea for this book came to me yesterday, as I realized that time and time again, when parents come to me with concerns regarding their children my answer to their questions boils down to one word- “WAIT!”

So the title of my book is Wait!

“The Hand That Patiently Waits”


The entire text of the book is as follows: Whatever concerns you may have regarding your child and her development – just wait. Most likely, the “issue” will resolve itself on its own if you are patient. Try to sit back, relax, notice, appreciate, and enjoy your child for exactly who s/he is and what s/he is doing right now. Try not to worry. Just wait, and trust that s/he will unfold in her own perfect way, and her own perfect time.

Of course, when I counsel parents, I use many more words, many reassurances, and many examples to illustrate the value of this wisdom, and I try to speak specifically and directly to each parent’s  individual concerns and circumstances, but the overall message is often the same.

I in no way mean to undermine or trivialize the questions and concerns parents often have about their children. I do recognize that there are times and circumstances when action is called for, but for all our children ask of us and need from us, perhaps the greatest gift we can give them, and what they most need from us, is patience, and trust that they will achieve developmental milestones in their own unique time, and ways.

“If I sit back, let him get to things when he’s ready, and don’t push, he does just fine. In fact, he thrives. He surprises me. He’ll become exactly who he is supposed to be, exactly when he’s supposed to.” Devon Corneal

(I  originally wrote this post on June 9, 2008. I was inspired by the article, Sink or Swim to update and republish on July 10, 2012. )

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Deb July 12, 2012

I thought your post was excellent and I do feel that most children just need time and parents need to allow this. We push kids far too much. My question is that I have had 2 children with significant medical and developmental challenges. My older son was in the NICU for almost 6 months… he had a trach, ventilator, oxygen, seizures, and multiple other issues. He came home unable to bend his legs, turn his neck, etc… We worked hard with him to help him become more flexible and move his body. They told us to institutionalize him.. that he would never walk, never talk, never function… he did actually do all of those things, and was an incredible joy! But if we had simply “waited” I highly doubt these things would have occurred. Our younger son has issues, but not as severe. He has muscle weakness and fatigue. He struggles to do things that are simple for other kids. We do work with him but I am always unsure how much to do as I really try to just let him develop on his own and with his own interests. The doctors and therapists are always pushing us to do more therapy but I’d prefer he had more time at the park, more play dates, more time to just “be”. He is very engaged, eager and curious. I think over time he will come along with proper rest, nutrition, and lots of great opportunities to explore. I think it will definitely take longer and he will need more of our awareness to keep him safe. I do think it is tough as parents to know how much to do, when we have children who have actual medical challenges… It’s easier when you have a typical child who is a little behind…sure, just wait.. not so much when there are actual diagnosed issues that doctors are saying to do therapy… thoughts on this?

Karen July 13, 2012

I too have a lovely daughter who has been involved in an early intervention programme and physiotherapy since she was 4 months old due to a diagnosed vision impairment and hypotonia. She is now two and a half years old. I have struggled and continue to struggle with the issue of balancing intervention with exploration and am learning to trust my own instincts and also trust the professionals that know my daughter and her needs and learning style. I think sometimes it can be irresponsible parenting to wait…although I do understand that in most cases, allowing more time is enough.

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