Should Tiny Accomplishments Weigh More Than Bigger Ones?

Celebrating tiny moments of your kids is surely incredible. However, getting carried away or celebrating every tiny triumphs can dim the spark of feeling special.

By URLife Team
15 Mar 2024

Rewards for potty training. Cakes for a baby's first steps. Special breakfasts for the first day of school. Balloons and cupcakes to celebrate for speaking the first word, getting or losing teeth. While major milestones like birthdays and graduations are significant, celebrating inch stones shifts the focus to the journey rather than just the destination. Celebrating inchstones strengthens the emotional bond between parents and children. It creates moments of joy and shared happiness, reinforcing the parent-child relationship and fostering a sense of belonging and security for the child.


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Besides, children with special needs may struggle with confidence and self-esteem, especially if they face frequent setbacks or encounter difficulties in certain areas. Celebrating their small achievements helps build their confidence by demonstrating that their efforts are valued and that they are capable of making progress, no matter how small.


But celebrating every little thing might not always be a good idea. It can end up being too much, both for parents and their kids.


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Inchstone VS Milestone

Inchstones are the smaller, often overlooked steps of progress or achievements in a child's development or in any journey toward a goal. They represent the tiny, yet significant, strides that individuals make, which cumulatively lead to larger achievements. For example, a baby making eye contact, a toddler's first attempts at using words, or managing to tie shoelaces for the first time are all inchstones.


Milestones, on the other hand, are the significant, notable achievements or events marking a particular stage in life, development, or progress. These are often anticipated and widely celebrated because they represent major achievements. Examples include walking, speaking in full sentences, starting school, graduating, or getting a driver's licence. Milestones are generally more universally recognised and serve as markers of significant progress or change.


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The Rise of Celebrating Inchstones

Celebrating inchstones can boost a child's self-esteem, encourage them to take on new challenges, and help them recognise their own progress and capabilities. It's a way for parents to show their children that every effort is valued and that the journey, not just the destination, is important.


A 2024 report issued in the Pinterest Annual Trends, states that from September 2021 to August 2023, more people searching for things like end-of-school parties, up 90 per cent, ideas for celebrating monthly milestones, also up 90 per cent, and parties for a baby's first tooth, up 40 per cent. 


Reasons Behind the Trend

  • Celebrating the small steps makes children feel more motivated to keep trying and learning. It acts as positive reinforcement, encouraging more of the behaviour parents wish to see.
  • With the rise of social media and digital technology, parents have more tools to document and celebrate even the smallest moments of their child's life.
  • There's a growing understanding that fostering resilience and a growth mindset in children is crucial. 


Examples of Inchstones Across Developmental Stages

  • During Infancy: Smiling for the first time, making eye contact, or babbling. These are foundational communication skills.
  • Toddler Years: Saying a new word, taking the first step without help, or managing to eat with a spoon. These inchstones mark growing independence.
  • Preschool: Drawing a circle, learning to jump with both feet, or dressing themselves. Such achievements show developing motor skills and self-sufficiency.
  • Early School Years: Reading a book on their own, writing their name, or making a new friend. These milestones represent growing social and academic skills.


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Potential Benefits And Pitfalls of Inchstone

Celebrating inchstones, or the small but significant steps in development and achievement, can have both positive impacts and potential drawbacks. Understanding these can help parents and caregivers navigate how best to support and encourage children through their growth.


Benefits of Celebrating Inchstones

  • Recognising small achievements can make a child feel valued and increase their self-confidence. Celebrating the small steps can motivate children to continue making efforts and taking on new challenges. 
  • By acknowledging the effort involved in small achievements, children learn that persistence and hard work are worthwhile, even if the outcomes are modest. 
  • Sharing in the celebration of inchstones can strengthen the emotional connection between parent and child, as it shows the child that their parent pays attention to and values their progress. Focusing on inchstones helps children (and adults) find happiness in the process of growth, not just the end result.


Pitfalls of Celebrating Inchstones

While celebrating inchstones can have numerous benefits, it's crucial for parents and caregivers to navigate this approach with caution. An overemphasis on every small achievement might inadvertently lead to a few unintended consequences. Understanding these potential pitfalls can help maintain a healthy balance that fosters growth and resilience in children.

  • Finding joy in the simple, everyday moments of parenting is truly one of its greatest pleasures. Taking the time to slow down and really notice—even celebrate—the smallest changes and progresses in your child's life helps deepen your connection with them. However, if every small step is marked with a grand celebration, like cake and ice cream, it could quickly lose its significance, turning into a never-ending cycle of festivities that begin to feel as routine as any other day. 
  • Celebrations are special precisely because they are not an everyday occurrence. The main concern with over-celebrating inchstones is that it could dilute the meaning of celebration for your child. They might struggle to understand the value of hard work and the genuine sense of achievement that comes from reaching a goal after considerable effort. 
  • When every minor achievement is celebrated in the same way, it becomes challenging for children to distinguish between what requires genuine effort and what is part of everyday growth and learning.


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Practical Tips For Parents To Strike A Balance

Finding the right balance in celebrating inchstones involves recognising and encouraging a child's small achievements without overshadowing the importance of ongoing effort and the significance of larger milestones. This balanced approach encourages children to appreciate the journey of learning and growth, valuing their own efforts and understanding the importance of perseverance, whether or not immediate recognition follows.


1. Recognise an Inchstone

  • Pay attention to your child's behaviours, actions, and verbalisations. Notice the small changes or improvements they make in various areas of their development.
  • Maintain a journal to record moments that signify progress, whether it's a new skill learned, a behaviour mastered, or a personal milestone reached.
  • Familiarise yourself with typical developmental milestones for your child's age range. Then, look for deviations or advancements from these benchmarks as potential inchstones.


2. Celebrate Thoughtfully

  • Celebrate inchstones with simple, heartfelt gestures rather than elaborate events. A special high-five, a hug, or a personalised note can convey appreciation and encouragement.
  • Spend quality time with your child engaged in activities they enjoy as a way to celebrate their achievements. This could involve a favourite outing, a special meal together, or dedicated playtime.
  • Establish rituals or traditions around celebrating inchstones to make them memorable without overshadowing the significance of larger milestones. For example, a family dance party or a gratitude circle where everyone shares something they're proud of can become cherished moments.


3. Appreciate The Value of Effort

  • Focus your praise on the effort your child puts into achieving their goals, rather than solely on the outcomes. Emphasise qualities like determination, resilience, and perseverance.
  • Help your child reflect on their progress and the steps they took to reach their inchstones. Discuss challenges they encountered and how they overcame them, reinforcing the idea that effort leads to growth.
  • Be a role model for your child by demonstrating your own commitment to learning and growth. Share your own experiences of overcoming obstacles and the value of persistence in achieving your goals.


By following these practical tips, parents can effectively recognise and celebrate inchstones in their child's development while fostering a deeper appreciation for effort, persistence, and personal growth beyond the celebrations themselves.


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