Many parents are quite meticulous when keeping track of their child’s development, especially when it comes to academics. Developmental milestones serve as a rough guideline for your child throughout different ages. Don’t worry- it’s not uncommon for a child to be lacking a couple milestones as each child’s progress varies based on their strengths and interests.
Development milestones are important because it helps parents, educators, and doctors pinpoint where a child is struggling, and determine how they can help. Catching these issues early are important to overall development as skills usually build on each other.
Types of developmental milestones
Physical milestones are separated into gross motor skills and fine motor skills. Fine motor skills are more complex, precise hand and feet movements like writing, kicking, grasping objects, and drawing. Gross motor skills are functional movements involving large muscle groups like walking, running, jumping, and throwing. Gross motor skills also require motor planning- the ability to think, plan, and act out an action.
Social-emotional milestones are focused on how well a child understands their own emotions, and by extension, the emotions of others. Central to this milestone is a child’s ability to empathize which develops through interactions with others.
Cognitive milestones are all about how your child thinks, processes, and problem solves. This domain includes how children learn from exploring their environments as well as traditional academic skills that include counting and phonics.
Language milestones are centered on how children express themselves and understanding what others are trying to say. Milestones involve verbal communication (cooing and babbling to advanced sentence structure) and non-verbal communication (gestures, movements, throwing, body language).
Keep in mind…
Just because your child is not perfectly matching all the developmental milestones does not mean there is something wrong. Let me reiterate that each child is unique and develops at different paces; contact your paediatrician if you are worried there are significant delays in your child’s development.