A Guide to understand your Child Developnental Milestones

A Guide to Understanding Your Child’s Developmental Milestones

Parenthood is a rewarding yet complex experience, especially when it comes to monitoring your child’s developmental milestones. Watching them take their first steps, learn how to clap their hands or even hearing them say their first words bring joy to any parent – yet every child achieves these milestones at different paces, and some need more help than others to get there.  

Delays and inconsistencies in the progress of each child need to be met with unique and creative solutions as no two children are alike. To help you navigate your way, here’s your parent guide to understanding child developmental milestones, why they are important, factors that influence these milestones, monitoring progress and encouraging its healthy development.  

A Guide to understand your Child Developnental Milestones

What are ‘Child Developmental Milestones’?

Child developmental milestones (or developmental stages) are marked by skills and abilities that a child would have typically acquired by a certain age. Early child developmental milestones are usually broken down according to these age ranges: 

  • Newborn to 2 years-old 
  • Ages 3 to 4 
  • Ages 5 to 6

A child’s progress can be observed through the development of his or her physical, cognitive, social, emotional and language skills. Here are some examples of skills or abilities which are observed when monitoring your child’s development: 

Physical skills: Crawling, walking, and speaking. 

Cognitive skills: Problem-solving and critical thinking. 

Social skills: Displaying empathy, interacting with peers, and sharing. 

Emotional skills: Expressing their emotions and understanding the emotions of others. 

Language skills: Using language, including babbling, saying first words, forming sentences and understanding more complex sentences/language.  

Though the development of these skills has been categorized by age group, the progress of each child may differ from each other due to a variety of factors.  

Factors That May Influence a Child’s Developmental Milestones 

Some of the factors that may influence a child’s development are: 

  1. Genetics 
  2. Nutrition 
  3. Environment 

For example, should a pregnant mother be exposed to toxins or stress, fetal development may be impacted. Similarly, lack of proper nutrition may delay or hamper a child’s growth and development. 

Why are Child Developmental Milestones Important?

It is crucial for every parent and caregiver to understand the importance of monitoring a child’s developmental milestones. Early detection of developmental delays greatly assists healthcare providers, parents, and caregivers in performing the appropriate intervention measures and necessary treatment.

The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that approximately 15% of children between ages 3 and 17 have one or more developmental disabilities, making developmental delays relatively common among children. Early diagnosis and intervention positively impact the quality of life and well-being of the child, likewise for parents and caregivers

How to Monitor Your Child’s Developmental Milestones

  1. Regular Check Ups with Your Child’s Healthcare Provider

    These checkups will include a thorough interview on your child’s development while tests and evaluations may be performed to determine if your child is meeting the milestones.  

  2. Observing and Tracking at Home

    Monitoring your child’s progress at home will include noting down your child’s milestone achievements as well as delays or concerns in his or her progress.  

You can track your child’s progress using developmental milestone checklists or apps. Here are our child development assessments for you to use: 

Encouraging Healthy Development

Parents and caregivers aspire to create an environment for their child to thrive in. Regardless of your child’s pace and progress, a well cultivated environment will foster healthy development. Here are a few things you can do within your capacity as a parent or caregiver to build that environment: 

  1. Provide a safe and nurturing environment 
  2. Encourage play and exploration 
  3. Read and talk to your child regularly 
  4. Provide nutritious meals and snacks 
  5. Encourage physical activity and exercise 

By providing your child with a growth environment that is safe and healthy, you will be setting your child up for success in their development while allowing yourself (as the parent or caregiver) an optimal space to monitor your child’s true progress. 

What to Do if You are Concerned about Your Child’s Development? 

If you have concerns that your child may be experiencing developmental delays, here are some helpful steps that you can take: 

Step 1: Observe your Child

a) Take note of your child’s behavior while at school and at home – for example, slow response to someone calling their name, low interaction levels with people, slow motor skill development, etc.

b) List down concerns, patterns and behaviors which you have noticed.  

c) Map them against a milestone checklist. Here are some tools you can use:

Step 2: Obtain a diagnosis from a pediatrician/ child psychologist or psychiatrist 

a) Do your research to select a reputable and credible developmental pediatrician.

b) Here are some questions you can ask your doctor: 

    • Will my child need additional testing, and assessments by other specialists? 
    • If so, when will the tests take place and when will the results be available? 
    • How do you know if my child has__________? 
    • Are there other terms for my child’s condition? 
    • How will my child’s development be affected? 
    • What are the next best steps to take? 

Step 3: Prepare an Action Plan 

a) Action Plan while awaiting results 

    • Identify your child’s strengths – Your child will be better at some tasks than others. Try to identify them and help them hone those skills. 
    • Encourage their social and emotional skill development – Experiencing developmental delays can be a frustrating time for your child. This is a time where your child needs to be surrounded with more love and support to navigate the challenges in overcoming learning hurdles. 
    • Find a support group and resources – In the event that your child needs more support from you, you are going to need more support too. Identifying support groups and the right reading materials and videos to educate yourself will be beneficial in supporting your child through their development journey. 
    • Start future planning – Although progress may be slower than usual, it is crucial to help your child develop life skills to help them live as independently as possible.  

Note: If the process of getting a diagnosis takes more than 3 months, contact a nearby Early Intervention Centre for a developmental assessment. 

b) Post-diagnosis Action Plan 

    • Identify the services your child may need: 
      > Early Intervention Programme 
      Occupational Therapy 
      Speech Therapy 
    • Build your library – Source reliable information on how you can assist your child from reputable websites, such as government bodies, hospitals, universities and education centers, and learn more on what you can do for your child, your family and yourself. 

Every child is unique. It is important to bear in mind that comparing your child’s development to other children or even the child’s own sibling is not advisable in making an assessment. With the wealth of information that we have today, we are able to better assist and support our children’s development, monitoring them wisely while encouraging a healthy environment for growth. Joyous Education aims to equip every parent with the necessary tools and support to give their children the best steppingstone to a fulfilling and healthy life.  

Have any questions for us? Speak to Joyous’ experts today for personalized professional advice.  

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