developmental milestones

Developmental Milestones

“You can think of the developmental milestones as a checklist. They represent what an average child can do around a particular age, although this can vary from child to child, it is a great reference for parents to assess the growth of their child and keep an eye out for potential developmental issues. Awareness of developmental milestones as a parent can also help you understand and empathize with your child, making your relationship and family dynamic more successful.”

General Developmental Milestones to Observe

This is a time of rapid development Your baby will learn to sit, crawl, stand, walk and talk during this stage.  Your baby will enjoy being with other people most of the time, however, may not want to leave your side in other instances. Teething will also be prevalent in this stage.  As well as development of a sense of humor, laughing when amused, and crying when upset.  Baby’s curiosity will peak when they begin to become more mobile.  Be sure to “baby proof” your home by removing breakable objects of value from reach or objects dangerous to the child.

Tips & Tricks for Success during this stage

  • Use teething toys that are able to be chilled in the refrigerator or special baby pain relievers to maximize comfort.
  • Don’t ignore your baby’s cries while teething, they do not know right from wrong at this time so keeping them comfortable is key.
  • Play games like Peek-A-Boo and Patty Cake to stimulate development
  • Allow your child to follow you through your daily home routine. It will amuse the baby to “help” you.
  • Remember, babies mature at different rates. Don’t get frustrated if your child seems to be lagging behind others their age.  Your baby will catch up.
  • Baby proofing the home is an important step as your child develops. Close the toilet seat, remove valuables, dangerous household cleaners, etc. Provide a distraction to divert attention from forbidden objects.

General Developmental Milestones to Observe

At this age, your child is starting to realize he is separate from mother.  Your child may want to show independence, often saying “No!” to requests or suggestions.  Toilet training will most likely occur at this stage as well.  Sharing is also an important learned skill at this stage that must be encouraged by the parent figure.

Tips & Tricks for Success during this Stage

  • Try to encourage your child’s need for independence by letting them do things for themselves. Let them take off their own clothes, carry small unbreakable grocery items, or feed themselves with supervision.   Offer choices whenever possible to allow for independent decision-making. Don’t use spanking to correct stubbornness. Try to be patient, but firm.
  • Have patience during potty training. Remember, toilet training is a matter of maturity and not all children mature at the same time.  Don’t pressure your child or punish them for potty training mistakes.  Don’t withhold toys or favorite items, this could result in a longer, more stressful process. Use lots of positive praise when the child succeeds in using the potty.
  • Sharing is an important skill for a child to develop at this age. This can only be encouraged with your help.  Praise your child when they share, but don’t yell if your child chooses not to share.  Lead by example to enforce sharing, lecturing about the importance of sharing will not be effective for the child.

General Developmental Milestones to Observe

Your child will ask a lot of questions of you during this time period.  This is the natural way your child learns and develops.  A lot of children begin to show off and use “bad words”.  This is typical behavior.  Fears often develop during this time as well due to the development of their imagination.  A lot of time is spent playing during this age, you’ll often see your child imitating as a form of entertainment.

Tips & Tricks for Success during this Stage

  • When answering your child’s questions, use short and simple sentences. Try to be patient with the reoccurring “why’s”.  Don’t tell your child to stop asking questions or tell them you don’t have the answer.
  • Ignore the bad words your child says, but don’t yell or spank them. Pay attention to your child when they need or want you and don’t tell them to “Go Away” when they are showing off.
  • To alleviate the feeling of fear, give your child a stuffed animal or nightlight to feel more secure at bedtime. Don’t let them cry it out or tell them they’re being a “scaredy cat” to quell fears.
  • Help your child develop coordination during this stage. Give them puzzles, blocks, and crayons to stimulate their coordination development.

General Developmental Milestones to Observe

These years are very important for your child because they set the tone for all future academic achievements.  Be sure to encourage your child as much as possible during this time.  You may see your child cry and whine over unimportant things, but this is also when your child will begin to develop a conscience and appreciate the value of rules.  This is also a time where your child will begin to develop friendships with other individuals.

Tips & Tricks for Success during this Stage

  • Encourage your child academically as much as possible. Praise them when they do well in school, set up an environment in the home that promotes good study habits.  Try to avoid comparing your child to others if they are doing poorly.  If your child is struggling in school, speak with the educator and develop a plan to help your child succeed in the school setting.
  • Try to remain calm when your child is upset or unreasonable. Make every effort to determine the cause of the issue and don’t scream back at them.
  • Keep rules consistent. This helps the child be aware of expectations.  Don’t hit your child if they break the rules, discipline should adhere to “child timeframes”.  Ten or fifteen minutes may seem short to an adult, but can feel like an eternity to a first grader in time-out.
  • Provide opportunities for your child to meet other children – getting your child involved in community groups, activities, and sports are all great ways for children to meet other children. Encourage your child to cultivate friendships, don’t bring up your child’s lack of friends.  Harvest hosts an array of programs and activities that are fun and attended by local school-age children.

General Developmental Milestones to Observe

At this stage, children may start to challenge adult authority and question fairness of decision.  Puberty usually begins at this age and they may begin to establish their own sense of male or femaleness at this stage.  Sexual curiosity arises, mostly with their own bodies.  Hormones have taken control of your child’s body, making moodiness prevalent.  Stay involved with your children.  Research shows that early adolescents have a better likelihood of succeeding in school this way.  Drugs and alcohol may be encounter as well in their environment, so it is never too early to start discussing key points about this subject.

Tips & Tricks for Success during this Stage

  • It is important to set a good example for your child to follow. Let your child in on making some decisions.  When you present a rule, explain your reasoning.  Don’t exaggerate consequences for failure to uphold house rules.  Structure is important at this stage and enforcement of rules helps.  Be fair and firm.
  • Motivate your child to participate in sports. Research shows this enforces higher psychological well-being for young adolescents.
  • Begin discussions about sexuality as soon as you think your child is ready. Explain to your child signs of puberty.  This will reduce anxiety about puberty and adolescence on the whole.  Provide accurate information to your child when asked about sexuality, don’t ignore your child’s requests for information about this topic. Be open and frank.
  • Hormones are difficult to adjust to. Encourage your child to share difficult emotions with friends, family, and trusted adults.  Sharing feelings is healthy, don’t overreact to your child’s moods.  Calling them names or bullying them will not help. Remember, changing bodies require a significant amount of rest to acclimate.  If they do not get proper rest, moodiness is likely to increase.
  • Discuss the dangers of drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, and sex with your child. Start early, before they encounter them.  Arm them with education to reduce chances of high risk behavior.  Involvement in sports, activities, and clubs helps avoid dangerous situations involving high risk behavior.
  • Establish good study habits with your child. Set a homework routine, arrange a quiet area for studying, provide them with tools to succeed in school.  Show examples of how the educational skills your child is learning will help them in the future.  Keep in touch with their educators.  A team effort is always beneficial.

General Developmental Milestones to Observe

Children at this age have a need to develop a sense of identity and individuality.  Teenagers need opportunities to explore the questions “Who am I?” and “Who will I become?”.  Adolescence is a time for experimentation.  Be proactive and involved as this will help lead your child to correct decision making when presented with high risk situations that are accompanied with peer pressure, drugs, alcohol, and intimate relationships.  Your child may find less and less time to spend with family and may also hide the need for affection in order to appear “mature”.  They may develop annoying habits, such as untidy dress, to establish independence.  Frustration and depression may be evident due to school pressures and social life.  Teenagers become stressed about added responsibilities of becoming an adult.

Tips & Tricks for Success during this Stage

  • Help your teenager “try on” different roles. Encourage participation in a variety of school and community activities.  Recognize challenges may arise for teenagers developing their identity.
  • Know what your teenager is doing with whom and when. Be alert to warning signs of problems such as extreme weight gain or loss, sleep issues, drastic personality changes/friends, slipping grades, isolation and secrecy. Role-play with your teenager to help encourage confident decision making in situations where peer pressure may lead them to making dangerous decisions. Pick a time when you have your teenager’s full attention, such as in the car.
  • Don’t get angry if your child prefers to spend time with friends over family. Try to plan things that will interest your child, a shared activity enjoyed by both parent and child enhances likelihood of quality time spent together and increases communication.
  • Don’t be off put by your child’s dismissal of affection. Offer a hug anyway!  Try to find other ways to show affection as well.  Great alternatives are cards, flowers, notes or dinner out together.  Whatever is comfortable for your family.
  • If a child chooses to appear untidy to assert independence, let them know their appearance is their responsibility. Set strict standards when it is important to you for your child to look appropriate (i.e. a special occasion).
  • Try to remember all the overwhelming feelings you felt as a teenager. Be understanding that this is a time of change and growth in your child’s life.   Don’t try to force your values and expectations on your child, instead help them develop the things your child enjoys most and is good at.