Paying Attention to Developmental Milestones

A smile. Rolling over. First steps. These moments in your baby’s development are exciting! Learn more about the different stages of childhood development.

Developmental Milestones

According to the National Institutes of Health, childhood development is categorized into four stages—infancy, preschool years, middle childhood years, and adolescence. Each stage is defined by certain milestones that mark healthy development.

Throughout each stage, it’s important to talk to your pediatrician about the milestones, and if you think your child may be developing more slowly. Your pediatrician will perform developmental screenings as your baby grows.

Ages infant to 5 include many physical, cognitive, linguistic, and social-emotional growth milestones. Development occurs at a rapid pace, and not all children will achieve the same milestones, such as walking and talking, at the same times.

  • Use a milestone checklist, available from CDC.gov, to keep track of your child’s development. Share these milestones with your pediatrician.
  • A pediatrician uses specific screenings to evaluate communication, gross and fine motor skills, problem-solving abilities, personal-social abilities, self-regulation, compliance, and more. These screenings may include a formal checklist or questionnaire that parents complete.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children undergo screenings for developmental delays and disabilities during well-child visits at ages 9 months, 18 months, and 24 or 30 months.

Screenings, in addition to marking your child’s developmental milestones, can help identify any developmental delays early on. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 13% of children ages 3 to 17 have a developmental disability, such as autism or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. These conditions may affect school readiness. Early identification can smooth the transition to school or social settings for children with delays.

Check with a pediatrician for guidance as your child grows and develops. Find a pediatrician at Beebe Healthcare.