Developmental Milestones

Don’t stress over developmental milestones!

It’s easy to become overwhelmed, confused and even worried when you are learning about developmental milestones. Milestones were created to serve as guidelines for a set of functional skills or age-specific tasks that most children can perform during a certain age range. Parents and pediatricians use these guidelines to help evaluate how your child is developing. The most important piece of information to remember is that every child is unique and that the actual age when a developing child reaches a specific milestone can vary.

What is the difference in development and growth?

Growth only refers to the child’s size while development considers how a child is learning to do more complex things as they become older. Developing skills that are included in milestone assessments are:

  • Gross motor skills – how well the child is using large muscle groups to sit, stand, balance and etc.
  • Fine motor skills – is your child using his hands to eat, play, dress and etc.?
  • Language skills – this includes speaking, understanding what others say, and use of body language.
  • Cognitive skills – learning, understanding, problem-solving, reasoning and remembering are some of the skills evaluated.
  • Social skills – does your child interact and cooperate with others? Building relationships with family, friends and teachers is an indicator of developing social skills.

How can you help your child with their development?

There are many resources to help you understand and track your child’s development. Choosing one resource to follow can help you appreciate what skills your child is honing during a certain age range and can even provide tips to help you support specific skill development. What you should not do is be overly stressed if your child does not reach every milestone by the suggested age range.

Share your concerns, if any, with your child’s teacher and pediatrician. Child care programs providing a quality learning environment will be well-versed in developmental milestone ranges. Most teachers will include skills development progress and any concerns about your child’s overall development during regular conferences with you. This is true with infants too!

More information:

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