A Parent’s Guide to Developmental Milestones

A developmental milestone is a capacity that most kids achieve by a typical age.  For instance, some kids may start walking as early as 9 or 10 months while others don’t start to walk until 14 to 15 months. By looking at the various developmental milestones, parents, doctors, and educators can understand how kids usually develop to monitor any potential developmental issues.

For example, between 9 to 12 months, kids begin to achieve physical milestones such as standing up or even walking. While the exact age at which a kid achieves a particular milestone can vary, you may become concerned if your kid hasn’t achieved a skill that most of their same-age peers can perform.

Developmental Milestones by Ages and Stages

Physical Milestones. These milestones include both large motor skills and fine motor skills.

Cognitive Milestones. Milestones are centered on a kid’s ability to think, learn, and solve problems.

Socio-emotional Milestones. Centered on kids gaining a better understanding of their emotions and others’ emotions, social and emotional milestones include learning how to get along with other people.

Communication Milestones. Milestones that involve both language and nonverbal communication. A one year-old learning how to say his first words and a 5 year-old learning some of the basic rules of grammar are examples of essential communication milestones.

Kids Develop at Their Own Rate

While most of these milestones usually occur during a certain window of time, there is one essential caveat.

Parents and caregivers must remember that each kid is unique. Not all kids are going to hit these milestones at the same time.

Some kids might reach certain milestones early, like learning how to walk or talk much earlier than their same-age peers. Other kids might reach the same milestones much later. This doesn’t necessarily mean that one kid is gifted or that another is delayed; it represents developmental differences.

These developmental capabilities also tend to build on one another. More advanced skills, like walking, usually happen after simpler capabilities such as crawling and sitting up to have already been achieved. Just because one kid began to walk by nine months of age does not mean that another kid is behind if they still aren’t walking at 12 months.

A few things you should know

Kids begin to walk between the ages of 9 and 15 months, so anytime between those ages is considered normal. If your kid hasn’t learned to walk by 18 months and you’re concerned, check with your kid’s doctor.

Personality influences your kid’s development as well, which can be especially obvious with twins. One kid may be physically active and work hard at learning to walk, going back and forth from object to object; another kid may be laid back, content for the time being to observe others from their seat on the floor.

Concluding thoughts

By understanding developmental milestones and what age range is common for kids to meet them, you and your pediatrician can keep a watchful eye on your kid’s growth and development.

If your kid does have developmental delays, getting early intervention can help lead to successful outcomes. There are several programs available to help kids with delays from birth through high school.

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