Developmental Milestones

Developmental Milestones md top10mdEach stage in a child’s life brings new challenges and as a parent, you rejoice as your child reaches their developmental milestones. When your child takes their first step or smiles for the first time, you feel a lot of joy. Every doctor’s visit reveals how much your child is growing and how well they are developing. Some children develop faster than others and hit developmental milestones ahead of time. If your child is not hitting their milestones as quickly, it is not something you should worry about too much. They will eventually hit them.  Knowing the different milestones and having realistic expectations will rid you of the anxiety and worry about your child’s development.

When a child is first born, hearing their cry brings great relief and a feeling of elation. They had a nine-month journey in the womb, but now the real journey begins. From day one, doctors and nurses are analyzing them and checking everything from breathing, to hearing. Within a week’s time, they are already hitting certain milestones. It is amazing to see how much they are changing right before your eyes. If this is your first child, you are in for a challenge. You have a lot of questions and are unsure at what point your child should be doing certain things. If this is not your first child, you are probably going to compare the development of this child with your last child. No matter what the case is, being educated on milestones is important.

Milestone Ages

When a doctor examines a child’s development, they do it based on age bracket. In the first two years of life, a child has several doctors appointments; this is because there are many milestones to reach during that time. After the second year of life, a child only needs to see a doctor once a year. Development slows down some and can be measured yearly instead of monthly. The milestones go in sequential order and are correlated to the doctor’s visits. Milestone ages are as follows:

Before the 2-month development milestone stage, you will see the doctor for a one-week visit and a two-week check. There is no need for a one-month check. After two years old, there is a visit once yearly up until the age of five. After five, you should still take your child to the doctor yearly, but it is not as crucial partly because your child is caught up on all their vaccinations. Your child will probably not need another vaccination until they turn 11 years old.

Stages of Development

When talking about development, the doctor is not only looking at physical development. They analyze the social and emotional development, cognitive skills, as well as communication. Here are the milestones your child should be reaching at each stage.

Developmental Milestones

Age Physical Development Cognitive Skills Social/Emotional Communication
2 months Ability to hold head up and during tummy time can lift up. Can look you in the face and follow with their eyes. They start to get fussy. Starts smiling socially and may begin sucking thumb Turns to sound and coos
4 months Hold head up without help and can roll over from their tummy to their back. They can push up on elbows and put pressure on their feet. Shows whether or not they are pleased. They respond to care and shows affection. Reaches for toys. Begins to play with others and has more facial expressions including frowning. Babbles a bit and tries to copy sounds. They develop different cries.
6 months Can roll from front to back and back to front. Start to sit up with no help. Puts weight on legs when standing. Starts putting things in the mouth. They begin to touch and reach for everything. Is now able to switch objects from hand to hand. They know the difference between a stranger and a common face. Notices other’s emotions and responds to them. Begins to talk with vowels and responds to their name.
9 months Standing is a big step. May begin to crawl and sits without any problems. Likes to play peek-a-boo and picks up things with the thumb and first finger. They are very curious and looks around for things. Begins to develop stranger anxiety. Develops a connection with familiar people. May begin saying mama or dada. Copies sound and uses fingers to point at things. Understands the word no, even if they don’t listen.
12 months

(1 year)

Can cruise around and may take a few steps without holding on to something. Likes to bang on things and bang them together. Tends to be a noisy stage in life. Follows some directions and likes to put things away in bins. Cries a lot when parents are gone. Has favorites and shows fear. They wave bye and shakes head. Responds to request and tries to mimic what you say.
18 months Now walking with no help and run. Can now undress and no longer needs a bottle. Starts drinking from a cup. Knows how to use everyday household items. Points to body parts and scribbles a lot. Likes playing with others and shows affection. Tends to be very clingy and explores Is now able to say no and maybe about 3-5 words.
24 months

(2 years)

Is now able to kick a ball.

Can stand on tiptoes and climbing on everything. Can walk up and down the stairs.

Can find hidden things easily. Can finish rhymes and stack blocks. Now begins to show right-handedness or left-handedness Copy everything they see and likes playing with other children. Starts doing what they are not supposed to do. Starts talking in small sentences and following simple instructions. Points a lot at what they want.

(CDC 2016)

Understanding developmental milestones will help you prepare for each stage of life your child will reach. If you think they are not developing properly, talk with their pediatrician about it. It is important to remember every child is different. Do not get discouraged; soon they will be running and talking so much, you almost wish they were babies again.


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