Parents are instinctively concerned about their child’s development and want to be sure their child is advancing properly. Children typically learn key abilities at different life stages as they age. Tracking those abilities help to gauge a child’s progress.
While growth refers to a child’s size, development is about their ability to do different things over time as they age. Development is not the same as growth. Things like sitting up, standing, crawling, and walking are examples of gross motor development.
Childhood development generally falls into five different skill categories:
- Gross motor: using large groups of muscles for sitting, standing, walking, running, balance, or changing positions
- Fine motor: using hands to hold utensils and eat, draw or write, dress, play, etc.
- Language: speaking and understanding what others say as well as using body language or gestures communicate
- Cognitive: learning, understanding, problem-solving, reasoning, and remembering
- Social: participating in relationships with family, friends, and teachers, socializing with others, cooperating, and responding to others’ feelings.
What are developmental milestones?
Developmental milestones are age-specific activities that most children can do at a specific age range. A pediatrician uses milestones to gauge how a child is developing. While each milestone has an age level, the actual age when an individual child reaches that milestone is often different. Each child is unique!
The following guides provide broad ranges on expected developmental milestones at various ages:
How do pediatricians check child development?
Evaluating a child’s development is a group effort between the pediatrician, parents, and family. During a well-child visit, a pediatrician will observe your child and talk with you about things your child has done since your last visit. During this time, share any worries or concerns about your child with the pediatrician. Your pediatrician may also use developmental screening or a series of questions and observations that evaluates your child’s ability to perform everyday tasks for their age. Pediatricians use developmental milestones to help identify children at risk for developmental delay.
What if my child is not on track with the typical developmental milestones?
All children are unique and will develop differently but in cases where a pediatrician finds anything of concern, they may refer you to a specialist or work with your family to identify services to help such as speech therapy, physical therapy, or developmental preschool. If your child has delays, even mild ones, starting an early intervention program can help your child make the most progress possible.
Using a “checklist” or calendar of developmental milestones may unnecessarily alarm parents if their child’s development does not match the timeline. But, milestones can help to identify a child who needs a more detailed check-up and intervention. Research shows that the sooner the developmental services are started, the better the result.
Schedule a visit with and experienced pediatrician focused on developmental milestones, safety, nutrition and your family’s emotional well-being.
- Now accepting new patients (children of all ages)
- We accept Denali KidCare and private insurance
- Sliding fee scale available
Temperatures are rising, snow is melting, and summer is coming, yay! Our kids will be out of school, outside playing, exploring, and hopefully away from the computer screens. With warmer weather outside, we often see an increase in cuts and scrapes. Skin is the body's...
This nationally recognized, evidence-based parenting program is based on the concept that children are hardwired to seek feelings of security and that parents also want security for their children. Parents will learn key ideas for supporting attachment in an...
Food preparation is a challenge in itself, and dealing with a picky eater can test your patience. It's natural for children between the ages of 2 and 5 to be cautious with the food they eat because they are still exploring textures and their environment. But, good...
Hooray, you're pregnant! The count-down to the birth of your new baby is underway. Having a pediatrician on-hand during this early formative time in your baby's life is in both your best interests. It is a good idea, while you wait expectantly, to begin finding a...
Breastfed babies nutritional requirements rely on their mother's breast milk and healthy diet. A wholesome breastfeeding diet involves a high calorie, high nutrition diet similar to that recommended during pregnancy. While mothers in famine conditions can still...