From the moment parents greet their newborn child, they eagerly watch the baby’s progress, anticipating every development, every marker in growth. The first five years of life are the most important as this is when the maximum amount of growth takes place. Infants learn to balance their heads, crawl, walk and learn simple responses like smiling and greeting in these early years. That said, it’s important to note that each child develops at their own pace — a pace not necessarily the same as others. Most of the time, babies reach each developmental milestone around the expected age, and if not, they catch up soon enough. It is common for a child to be ahead in one area, such as language, but a little behind in another.

The first five years. Developmental milestones to look for.

It’s natural then for parents to ask, “How do I know if my child is developing normally?” An often used method is to compare their child’s physical, intellectual and behavioral development to that of others in the same age bracket. While it’s best to check with your pediatrician, comparing with other infants and referring to a growth milestone chart can help you spot problems early. Here are some highlights of your child’s growth journey.

0 – 3 Months

Begins to develop a social smile

Raises head and chest when lying on the stomach

Notices and recognizes faces

Smiles at the sound of your voice

Starts holding head steady

Reaches for an object

3 – 6 Months

Enjoys social play (games like peek-a-boo)

Transfers objects from hand to hand

Responds to name

Rolls over, lying down

Finds partially hidden objects

Picks up toys and objects

6-12 Months

Responds to simple verbal requests

Sits without any assistance

Stands with assistance

Crawls up the stairs

Feeds self with spoon

Enjoys imitating people/things in his play

1-2 Years

Walks without assistance

Points to interesting objects

Lifts cup to mouth

Uses 2-4 word phrases to communicate

Shows interest in other children

Turns pages of a book

2-3 Years

Plays make-believe with dolls, animals, and people.

Sorts objects by shape and color

Climbs stairs and jump with two feet

Kicks ball without losing balance

Wiggles thumbs

Understands concepts of today, tomorrow, and yesterday

3-4 Years

Walks on tiptoes

Hops on one foot

Knows his name and gender

Feeds himself without spilling much

Brushes teeth and dresses without help

Unscrew jars, turns door knobs and scribbles

4-5 Years

Cooperates with other children

Plays on the swing without assistance

Balances on one foot for at least five seconds

Draws circles, triangles and squares

Counts up to 10 or more

Likes to sing or dance

When to worry and when not to.

For children who don’t meet their cognitive and motor milestones on time, it’s advisable to wait for a few months and watch for progress before raising an alarm. It’s best to consult a medical professional in case of delays longer than 2-4 months; any motor developmental delay is a warning sign. Often, an early intervention in developmental delays or developmental disabilities can go a long way in reducing the extent or nature of the problem.

Symptoms of developmental delays:

  • Any motor development delays (as per age-specific milestones), for example, a 6-month-old child with little head control
  • Low interest in playing with other children or caregivers
  • Difficulty making eye contact to get someone’s attention or communicating needs
  • Overactive and displays impulsive and inattentive behavior
  • Poor memory, difficulty remembering names, letters and numbers
  • Hard time reading and recognizing letters and words
  • Problems with fine motor skills, such as coloring and writing
  • Reluctance to use one side of the body, such as reaching with only one hand
  • Involuntary movements, spasms or tremors

As a parent, watching your children grow up is a uniquely fulfilling experience. To ensure their development is holistic and normal, we encourage you to periodically monitor their behavior for any anomalies. If you have reason to believe that their growth could be hindered at any stage, get in touch with Dr Naeem at drnaeem@plexusnc.com. Together, we can create a child-friendly environment and help bring their development back on track.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *