how to assess your child's developmental milestones

How To Assess Your Child’s Developmental Milestones?

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    Developmental milestones mark a child's progress from infancy into childhood. Their purpose is to aid in diagnosing developmental delays in one or more aspects of a child's growth and maturation, as opposed to a youngster experiencing typical development.

    The four main types are social and emotional, motor (both large and small), linguistic, and cognitive milestones. The importance of the interdisciplinary team in evaluating developmental milestones is emphasised in this exercise.

    A kid is anticipated to reach a series of objectives or benchmarks known as developmental milestones as they grow and develop. These skills fall under five key areas: motor control, language, cognition, social-emotional regulation, and behaviour.

    By being familiar with and able to recognise these milestones, providers can better detect delayed development, allowing for earlier interventions and better outcomes.

    How Are Developmental Milestones Defined?

    Developmental milestones are known as physical or behavioural progress indicators in children and newborns. Important information about your child's early development is provided by developmental milestones such as rolling over, walking, crawling, and talking.

    Distinct age groups have distinct milestones. The foundation for development and further learning are these milestone behaviours, which appear gradually. Here are a few examples of the types of behaviour:

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    Gross Motor Skills

    being able to eat, sketch, write, play, dress, and perform a myriad of other tasks with one's hands

    Fine Motor Skills

    utilising one's hands for a wide range of activities, including eating, drawing, dressing, playing, and writing

    Language Skills

    conversing, utilising nonverbal cues, conveying ideas, and picking up on the meaning of what other people say

    Cognitive Skills

    competencies, including cognitive processes such as learning, comprehension, reasoning, and memorisation

    Social Skills

    Engaging in social interactions, forming bonds with loved ones and educators, working together, and being sensitive to the emotions of others.

    Typical Milestones

    Six Months

    Feels uneasy around strangers; turns over; starts babbling with consonants; puts objects in the mouth.

    Emotional/Social Milestones

    • Familiar with familiar faces
    • Enjoys taking a reflective selfie
    • Laughs heartily 

    Communication/Language Milestones

    • Share noises with you in turn 
    • "Raspberries" are blown by sticking out one's tongue. 
    • It Exudes sounds of squeaking. 

    Cognitive Milestones 

    • Likes to put items in her mouth and see what happens.
    • Picks up a toy that catches her eye.
    • Shuts her lips as a sign that she isn't hungry 

    Physical/Movement Development Milestones

    • Continually turns over from back to front 
    • While lying on one's stomach, raise one's arms straight up.
    • Uses her hands as a crutch when seated.

    Nine Months

    Plays "peek-a-boo," knows "no," points with a finger, says "baba" or "mama" and crawls; has separation anxiety; and can "stand" on both feet and hands, sit unsupported, crawl, and use a pincer grasp.

    Emotional/Social Milestones

    • Avoids or acts irrationally towards strangers 
    • It can display a range of emotions through its face, including joy, sadness, anger, and surprise.
    • Her expression changes as soon as you call out her name 
    • Becomes upset, reaches out, or looks for you as soon as you depart. 
    • Laughs or smiles while playing peek-a-boo.

    Communication/Language Milestones

    • An x-shaped icon that produces a wide range of noises, including "bababababa" and "mama mama"
    • Calls for assistance (raises arms) 

    Cognitive Milestones 

    • Try to find things that have been placed out of sight. 
    • Fuse two objects into one. 

    Physical/Movement Development Milestones

    • Manages to sit up on her own 
    • Continually transfers objects between her two hands.
    • He "rakes" food towards himself using his fingers. 
    • Rests on own two feet. 

    Twelve Months

    When dressed, extends an arm or leg; sobs when familiar people depart; stands steadily; reacts to basic orders; makes motions; puts objects in a cup and takes them out; smashes objects together.

    Emotional/Social Milestones

    • Joins you in activities, such as pat-a-cake, 

    Communication/Language Milestones

    • "Goodbye" is waved. 
    • X-Icon: Refers to a parent as "mama" or "dada"
    • "No" is understood (there is a short pause or halt when you say it). 

    Cognitive Milestones

    • Place an object in a container, such as a cup. 
    • Sees objects you conceal and searches for them, such as a toy hidden under a blanket. 

    Physical/Movement Development Milestones

    • Stands up after a pull.
    • She uses furniture as a crutch as she walks 
    • Consumes liquids while holding an open cup 
    • Gathers objects, such as food scraps, using the space between the thumb and index finger.

    Eighteen Months

    Participates in make-believe play, embraces and kisses known people, walks independently, climbs stairs, uses cutlery, points to one body part, says multiple words, and doodles with marker, crayon, or pen.

    Emotional/Social Milestones

    • Reaches out to check on you as it moves away, but keeps an eye out for the x icon
    • Allow me to demonstrate something captivating.
    • Reaches out to you to wash their hands.
    • Observe a few pages of a book with you.
    • Pulls his arm through his sleeve or lifts his foot to assist you in dressing him. 

    Communication/Language Milestones

    • Aims to express more than just "mama" or "dada" by using three words 
    • Completes simple verbal commands, such as "Give it to me," without making hand movements. 

    Cognitive Milestones

    • Performs household tasks in your stead, such as sweeping using a broom. 
    • Uses simple toys, such as a toy automobile, for play.

    Physical/Movement Development Milestones

    • Walks without clutching onto anything 
    • Handwritten notes.
    • Uses a cup without a cover, so there's a chance of spillage.
    • Uses his fingers to eat.
    • Attempts to use a spoon.
    • Uses their strength to get on and off a chair or sofa

    Two Years

    Starting to play with other children, standing on tiptoes, kicking and throwing a ball overhand are all signs of progress. Other skills include

    • Making two- to four-word sentences.
    • Pointing to objects in a book.
    • Stacking four or more blocks.
    • Following two-step instructions.
    • Interacting with strangers effectively.

    Emotional/Social Milestones

    • Shows empathy by pausing or appearing sorrowful when someone else is upset, such as when crying.
    • Assesses your facial expressions for potential reactions to novel situations x symbol

    Communication/Language Milestones

    • Using bookends to direct the question, "Where is the bear?" 
    • Use at least two words at a time, such as "More milk." 
    • Shows you at least two different areas of his body whenever you want him to. 
    • Makes use of a wider variety of gestures than merely pointing and waving, such as kissing and nodding yes. 

    Cognitive Milestones

    • Uses both hands simultaneously to do something; for instance, holding a container while removing the lid 
    • Makes an effort to manipulate a toy's controls.
    • One example of this kind of play is using a toy dish to serve multiple toys at once.

    Physical/Movement Development Milestones

    • Athletes a game of soccer.
    • Runs 
    • Using or not using assistance, walks up a short flight of stairs.
    • Used a spoon for eating

    Three Years

    Individuals can dress and undress, imitate others, and take turns; they can walk up and down stairs with one foot on each level; they can run quickly; they can grasp 75% of language; they can stack six or more blocks, turn pages in a book, touch buttons and knobs.

    Emotional/Social Milestones

    Reaches a state of calmness within ten minutes of your departure, similar to a childcare drop-off x symbol.

    Recognises the presence of other kids and comes over to play 

    Communication/Language Milestones

    • Uses at least two sets of questions and answers to engage in discussion with you 
    • Like "Where is mommy/daddy?" and uses "where," "what," "who," and "why" queries. 
    • Identifies the action in a picture or book when asked, such as "running," "eating," or "playing" with relative ease. 
    • Responds with a first name at an enquiry 
    • Has adequate communication skills to be understood by most people 

    Cognitive Milestones 

    • As soon as you advise her not to touch anything hot, like a stove, he draws a circle. 

    Physical/Movement Development Milestones

    • Fastens disparate objects, such as macaroni or big beads, into a string.
    • Dresses himself independently, donning items such as a jacket and loose slacks.

    Toss in a fork.

    Four Years

    Participates in group play and uses their imagination more; stands for two seconds on one foot, uses scissors to cut, can recite poetry or sing songs, understands basic grammar, recognises some colours and numbers, and can draw a two- or four-part human figure.

    Emotional/Social Milestones

    • Plays the role of an imaginary character (e.g., a puppy, a superhero, or a teacher). 
    • If no kids are nearby, he'll ask to play with someone, like, "Can I play with Alex?" 
    • Embraces the pain of others as a friend comforting a sobbing pal.
    • Takes precautions, such as not leaping from great heights on the playground. 
    • Favours the role of "helper." 
    • Her surroundings influence her actions, such as a place of worship, a library, or a playground. 

    Communication/Language Milestones

    • Forms complete sentences using four or more words 
    • Recite a few lines from a children's book, song, or rhyme 
    • Says something like, "I played soccer." to describe what happened during the day. 
    • Defining terms like "coat" and "crayon" and providing explanations for their uses 

    Cognitive Milestones

    • Recognises a handful of colours 
    • Outlines the subsequent events in a famous tale 
    • Creates a figure with at least three distinct sections.

    Physical/Movement Development Milestones

    • Typically manages to reel in a large ball.
    • Under parental supervision, she helps herself to food or drinks.
    • Deactivate a few buttons 
    • Instead of making a fist, hold the crayon or pencil between your thumb and fingers.

    Five Years

    Learns to distinguish between real and imaginary things, aspires to be more like friends, can balance on one foot for ten seconds, can somersault, communicates well with people, uses the past, present, and future tense, draws a six-part human figure, prints letters and numbers, and counts to ten.

    Emotional/Social Milestones

    • When playing with other kids, he follows the rules or takes turns.
    • Performs a variety of musical and dramatic acts at your request 
    • Performs basic housekeeping tasks, such as washing dirty dishes or knitting socks.

    Communication/Language Milestones

    • Relates at least two occurrences in a tale that she either heard or made up. A firefighter rescued a feline from a tree, for instance. 
    • Responds to basic enquiries regarding what he has read or heard in a story or book. 
    • Maintains discussion by using more than three sets of questions and answers 
    • Recognises or uses basic rhymes (such as "bat-cat" and "ball-tall"). 

    Cognitive Milestones 

    • Completes a 10-step process 
    • Indicates, by pointing to them, a range of integers from one to five. 
    • Makes use of time-related terms, such as "yesterday," "tomorrow," "morning," and "night." 
    • Maintains focus for five to ten minutes while engaging in tasks. During story time or arts and crafts projects, for instance (screen time is not included in this). 
    • Completes a few things using her name 
    • Point to the letters and say their names. 

    Physical/Movement Development Milestones

    • Select a few buttons 
    • Moves from one foot to the other  

    School-Age Child (6 To 12 Years)

    • Develops the foundational abilities necessary to participate in soccer, T-ball, and other team sports
    • First permanent teeth erupt after "baby" teeth go out
    • Hair begins to grow in girls' pubic and armpit areas, and they start to get breasts.
    • Girls may have menarche, sometimes known as their first period.
    • As time goes on, the significance of peer acknowledgement grows.
    • Reading proficiency grows over time
    • Daily habits that are vital for
    • Grasps and executes multiple sequential instructions

    Adolescent (12 To 18 Years)

    • Data on sexual maturity, adult height, and weight
    • The pubic, armpit, and chest hair of boys grow in, and they also experience changes to their voice and an enlargement of their penis and testicles.
    • During puberty, a girl's breasts grow, her pubic and armpit hair begins to grow, and her menstrual cycles begin.
    • Recognition and acceptance from one's peers are crucial.
    • Comprehends generalised ideas

    How Does a Paediatrician Monitor a Child's Growth and Development?

    It takes a village to evaluate your kid's progress. There is a significant role for your family. Your kid's paediatrician will ask you about your child's activities since your last appointment and spend some time observing your child during the well-child checkup.

    Let your child's doctor know if you have any issues or reservations. During office visits, your paediatrician may also administer developmental screenings (external link).

    Your child's screening will include a battery of questions and observations designed to gauge their proficiency in areas typically associated with their age. Paediatricians can better identify children at risk for developmental delay using developmental milestones as a guide.

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    What Should I Do If My Child Is Falling Behind in Their Development?

    When paediatricians notice anything out of the ordinary, they have two options: either send you to a specialist or assist you in uncovering resources, like an early intervention programme (link is external), that could benefit your kid.

    For your child to make the most growth possible, it is crucial to initiate assistance promptly if they experience any delays, no matter how slight. 


    To diagnose developmental impairments in different areas of growth and maturation, developmental milestones are vital markers of a child's progress from infancy to childhood. Here are developmental benchmarks in the five domains: behaviour, social-emotional regulation, language, cognition, and motor control.

    These markers, which can be either physical or behavioural, tell us a lot about how a kid is doing in the first few years of life. Skills in fine and gross motor control, language, cognition, and social interaction are all examples of milestone behaviours.

    A child's typical developmental timeline begins with six months of discomfort, then moves on to nine months of emotional and social milestones, communication and language milestones, cognitive milestones, and finally, physical and motor development.

    Clinicians can use these milestones to identify delayed development. This enables them to intervene earlier and achieve better outcomes.

    If clinicians are aware of and able to recognise these milestones, they will be better able to identify delayed development, intervene early, and improve outcomes.

    Physical and Motor Skills Training Children reach developmental milestones when sitting up independently, moving objects from one place to another, and balancing on two feet.

    They can respond to simple commands at twelve months, stand up straight, and stretch one or both arms or legs. Activities participation, emotional expression, and basic command comprehension are all examples of emotional and social milestones.

    Cognitive milestones include the ability to use the space between the thumb and index finger, identify hidden things, and place objects in containers.

    During the first eighteen months, a child learns to walk on their own, use cutlery, and engage in imaginative play. Some examples of emotional and social milestones include washing hands, watching others, and reaching out to see how others are doing. Some examples of language and communication milestones include the ability to say more than "mama" or "dada" and to carry out basic spoken instructions.

    Physical and Motor Skills Training: The ability to walk unassisted, write notes by hand, drink from an unprotected cup, eat with one's fingers, and use a spoon are all developmental milestones.

    By the time a kid reaches age two, they can participate in group play, use simple words to describe things, stack blocks, follow directions, and establish positive relationships with new people.

    People can reach certain milestones and acquire new abilities at different points in their lives. They can put on and take off clothing, mimic others, walk, run, understand and use 75% of spoken language, stack blocks, turn pages, touch buttons and knobs. Four-year-old children are more likely to play in groups and use their imaginations.

    By the time they are five years old, they have mastered many skills, such as differentiating between real and imaginary objects, wanting to be more like their friends, balancing on one foot for ten seconds, doing somersaults, communicating effectively, drawing a six-part human figure, printing letters and numbers, and counting to ten.

    Among the many social and emotional developmental milestones are the following: being able to relax within ten minutes of leaving, being able to identify other children's faces, communicating effectively, grasping the basics of grammar, and drawing a two- or four-part human figure. Some of the physical and motor milestones children reach include stringing together random objects, getting dressed independently, and using a fork.

    During adolescence, a person develops the core competencies needed for various life activities, including playing sports, developing hair and breasts, entering menarche, reading fluently, establishing routines, following multiple sequential directions, and comprehending abstract concepts.

    Paediatricians keep tabs on a child's growth and offer support by conducting developmental screenings, well-child exams, and referrals to experts or early intervention programmes.

    It is critical to start helping a child immediately if they are falling behind in development to catch up.

    Content Summary

    • Developmental milestones monitor a child's progress in five domains: motor, language, cognition, social-emotional, and behavioural.
    • Vital signs of a child's physical or behavioural growth, such as when they roll over or start to talk, are called milestones.
    • Regarding fine and gross motor abilities, language, thinking, and social development, different age groups reach different milestones at different rates.
    • At six months, a baby can start to show signs of development, such as babbling, face recognition, and object gripping.
    • By nine months of age, babies begin to show signs of separation anxiety, utter basic phrases like "mama" and "baba," and begin to move around on all fours.
    • Standing stably, responding to simple commands, and putting things in and out of containers are twelve-month milestones.
    • Children use at least three words, point to various body parts, and participate in pretend play when they are eighteen months old.
    • When they are two years old, kids engage in group play, utilise simple phrases (two or four words), and build with blocks.
    • At three years old, a child can distinguish between actual and imaginative objects, walk upright on one foot, and produce legible prints.
    • Four-year-olds can identify a few colours and numbers, play in groups, and even recite poetry.
    • Five-year-olds can count to 10, distinguish between actual and made-up objects, and play by the rules.
    • Foundational abilities for team sports, reading competence, and daily routines are developed for school-age youngsters (6 to 12 years).
    • Changes in sexual maturity, voice, and physical features occur during adolescence (12–18 years) when people seek peer acceptance.
    • Regular checkups, careful observation, and developmental testing allow paediatricians to track a child's progress.
    • Screenings for developmental delays can assist in finding children who are at risk.
    • If paediatricians see any delays, they will refer children to specialists or early intervention programmes, among other options.
    • Regardless matter the severity of a child's delay, early intervention is essential.
    • Behavioural, social-emotional, cognitive, and motor milestones are in a child's development.
    • Paediatricians use developmental milestones to monitor a child's progress and spot possible setbacks.
    • Developmental milestones range from the ability to grip an object at six months old to using total words by five years old, among other more complicated abilities.
    • Timely intervention and support can improve outcomes when developmental impairments are identified early.
    • During paediatrician visits, parents are vital in monitoring their child and reporting any changes they notice.
    • Paediatricians administer developmental tests to determine how well a kid is doing relative to their age in different domains.
    • When paediatricians notice delays, they may send children to intervention programmes or specialists.
    • No matter how much of a delay, it is crucial to intervene quickly to maximise a child's growth potential.
    • During adolescence, the significance of peer acknowledgement grows.
    • Growth of body hair and voice changes are some of the physical changes that adolescents go through as they approach sexual maturity.
    • A network of paediatricians and families is formed to monitor and encourage a child's growth and development.
    • To intervene early, parents and paediatricians must communicate any concerns.
    • A child's development can be better tracked with the help of the village concept, which brings together parents and doctors.
    • When looking for children who may be at risk of experiencing developmental delays, paediatricians can use developmental milestones as a guide.
    • Children who are experiencing delays can receive support from paediatricians in the form of referrals and services.
    • For a child to reach his or her full potential, it is essential to detect delays early and treat them accordingly.
    • Parents and carers can catch problems before they escalate if they are familiar with developmental milestones.
    • We use milestones as guides to measure how far a child has come in their development.
    • Children are more likely to reach their full potential when participating in early intervention programmes.
    • To evaluate a child's development, paediatricians depend on developmental screenings, parent feedback, and observations.
    • Doctors can tell how far a kid has come by looking at them at a well-child visit.
    • If a parent has any worries or observations regarding their child's progress in development, they should talk to their child's paediatrician.
    • A child's developmental milestones can be better monitored and supported when families and paediatricians work together.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Environmental factors such as access to quality healthcare, nutrition, socioeconomic status, and early stimulation opportunities can significantly influence a child's developmental trajectory.


    Genetics can influence a child's developmental path but is not the sole determinant. A child's genetic makeup interacts with environmental factors to shape their developmental milestones.


    Supporting your child might involve early intervention services, therapy, creating a stimulating environment, engaging in activities that target specific skills, and working closely with professionals.


    Numerous reputable websites offer milestone checklists, guides, and resources that parents can use to monitor and understand their child's developmental progress.


    Early identification and intervention can significantly improve outcomes for children with developmental delays. Interventions may include therapies, specialised education, and tailored support programs.

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