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Around my daughter's first birthday, I started to get anxious about her motor skills. Lena had just gotten the hang of crawling and cruising, and I was thrilled about it -- until I noticed that my friend's 1-year-old was walking and even climbing stairs like a pro. Rationally, I knew it was a bad idea to compare them, but the fact that Lena hadn't figured out how to do something her peer had already mastered made me worry. "There's a wide age range for hitting many milestones, and it's completely normal for children to have differences in abilities, motivation, and pace," says Anatoly Belilovsky, M.D., a pediatrician in Brooklyn, New York. "Parents should remind themselves that raising kids isn't a competitive sport."
Still, even the most laid-back moms and dads will find it hard not to stress when it comes to milestones as major as walking and talking. We asked the experts to highlight the developmental skills that send parents into panic mode -- and what you can do to help if you think your toddler is lagging behind.
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