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Developmental Milestones in Children

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Developmental milestones are behavioral or physical skills seen in infants and children as they grow. Rolling over, crawling, and walking are a few milestones.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Veerabhadrudu Kuncham

Published At October 13, 2022
Reviewed AtJune 28, 2023

What Are the Developmental Milestones in Children?

Skills such as rolling over, crawling, and taking the first step are developmental milestones. These milestones vary in different age groups and emerge over time. Closely watching developmental milestones may trouble parents if their child is not developing normally. At the same time, milestones can help to identify a child who needs a more detailed check-up. Developmental milestones generally include physical, social, and emotional development and sensory and motor development.

What Are the Categories of Developmental Milestone?

Milestones cover four areas of a child's development they are as follows:

  • Cognitive: Thinking, problem solving, understanding, and reasoning.

  • Motor Development: Skills such as jumping, hopping, throwing, catching, and stacking come under motor development.

  • Social and emotional: Group plays and eye contact.

  • Adaptive: Dressing, eating on their own, washing.

What Are the Milestones at 0 to 3 Months?

  • The infant will be able to lift his or her head and chest while lying on his or her back.

  • Ability to grasp any object for a few seconds.

  • Responding to the sounds by smiling or turning the head in the direction of the sounds.

  • At the age of one month, the baby will prefer to look at contrasting colors or black and white.

  • Around the age of two months, the baby's eyes will become more coordinated, start tracing objects and will recognize familiar objects and people.

  • By the age of two months, the baby will be able to “COO” and respond to parents when they talk gently or play together.

What Is Not Right at the Age of 0 to 3 Months?

  • Does not show any improvement in their head control.

  • Does not respond to loud sounds.

  • Does not trace objects.

  • Does not grasp objects.

  • Does not smile at people.

What Are the Milestones at 4 to 6 Months?

  • Baby will grasp your finger or rattle.

  • Baby's arms and legs wiggle more, and kick their legs purposefully.

  • Neck holding is achieved.

  • The baby tries to roll over, and eventually, at the end of five months, the baby starts rolling.

  • Around six months, the baby starts sitting.

  • Respond to parents by making sounds and using their voices to express joy.

What Is Not Right at the Age of 4 to 6 Months?

  • Has very stiff muscles.

  • Has not shown any head control.

  • Does not respond to sounds.

  • Does not attempt to roll over or sit.

  • Does not bring objects to his or her mouth.

What Are the Milestones for 6 to 12 Months?

  • Sits alone.

  • Stands with support.

  • Transfer objects from one hand to another.

  • Picks up tiny objects using hands and fingers.

  • Begins to hold the spoon and attempt to feed themself.

  • Starts walking a few steps without support.

  • Start speaking a few words such as “mama'' and “dada.”

What Is Not Right at the Age of 6 to 12 Months?

  • Does not crawl.

  • Cannot stand without help.

  • Does not use gestures like waving their hand or shaking their head.

  • Does not attempt to speak words such as “mama'' and “dada.”

  • Does not point to objects.

What Are the Milestones for 12 to 18 Months?

  • Tries imitating sounds.

  • Understanding simple instructions.

  • Turn and look in the direction of the sound.

  • Recognizes names of familiar people.

  • By the end of the month, the child starts walking without support.

What Are the Milestones for 18 to 24 Months?

  • Uses simple phrases like ‘“go and bye-bye.”

  • Follow simple instructions and understand simple questions.

  • Speaks more than 50 words.

  • A child walks and runs without any help.

What Are the Milestones for 2 to 3 Years?

  • The child starts climbing up and down.

  • Find hidden objects.

  • Able to speak properly.

  • Able to kickball.

  • Points out pictures in a book.

  • Able to identify colors, shapes, and body parts and will know the names of parents and siblings.

  • Will be able to say a few sentences.

  • Repeat words during a conversation.

  • Can carry a toy while walking.

  • Show growing independence.

  • Copy others.

  • Follow two instructions (like drink water and give me the glass).

  • At the age of three, children will be able to pedal a tricycle and stick pictures.

  • Shows a wide range of emotions.

What Are the Milestones for 3 to 6 Years?

  • Becomes more skilled at running, jumping, kicking a ball, and catching a bounced ball.

  • Will be able to draw circles or squares.

  • Enjoys rhymes and wordplay.

  • Putting on clothes.

  • Managing spoon and fork without any help.

  • Understands relationships.

  • Respond to questions.

  • At the age of four, children will be able to play games with certain rules, and there will be improved pencil grip.

What Are Delayed Developmental Milestones?

The pediatrician will check for the milestones during regular checkups of the child. If any disability of the child is noticed and if he or she is not achieving any milestones for his or her range, consult a specialist immediately. Conditions such as autism, Down’s syndrome, brain injuries, and any complications during pregnancy can cause developmental delays.

Can a Child Overcome Developmental Delay?

Developmentals disabilities are lifelong, but people can make progress with the help of therapies:

  • Physical Therapy: Physical therapy is usually helpful for children with delays in gross motor skills.

  • Occupational Therapy: Occupational therapy helps to improve daily activities.

  • Speech and Language Therapy: This specialized therapy helps children improve their speech and language.

  • Early Childhood Special Education: Special education is special needs education which is the education of children who differ socially, mentally, or physically from the average to an extent where they require modifications of usual school practices.

  • Behavioral Therapy: Behavior therapy or psychotherapy is used to treat a wide range of behavioral issues.

What Are the Parenting Tips to Prevent Delayed Milestones?

  • Screen time must be zero for children under two years. After two years, it should be limited to one to two hours a day. Too much screen time can lead to trouble sleeping and affects the ability to think.

  • Language skills develop at a very young age, so it is important for the parents to talk with the child often throughout the day.

  • Keep engaging the child throughout the day by singing songs, reading together, storytelling, activities like building blocks, and clay, imitate actions such as clapping, listening to baby sounds, and repeating them.

  • Recognize and acknowledge when a child does correctly.

  • From the age of four to five, many children talk back. Address these behaviors without reacting to the words or behaviors.

  • Children should be tested for autism at 18 months and 24 months. If there is any problem, the doctor will refer to early intervention.

Conclusion:

Early childhood development is important and is to be identified, taken into consideration, and one should intervene immediately if there are any developmental delays noticed in a child. Observe the child's growth and development, and if any intervention is required, proper therapies have to be provided. These therapies may not help in treating the condition completely but will surely affect the child's overall development.

Dr. Veerabhadrudu Kuncham
Dr. Veerabhadrudu Kuncham

Pediatrics

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