When we talk about healthy child development, we often speak of milestones that children hit at certain ages.
By looking at these milestones, we can see how the child is developing and keep an eye out for any potential problems.
There are ten age stages when milestones should be checked: two months, four months, six months, nine months, twelve months (or one year), eighteen months, two years, three years, four years, and five years.
And there are four types of milestones that should be assessed: gross and fine motor, communication, cognitive, and social.
It’s worth noting that development is different from growth.
Growth is when children are getting bigger in size - specifically gaining weight, getting taller, and increasing their head circumference, while development refers to complex things like walking, speaking, turning a page in a book, and smiling at familiar faces.
Developmental milestones are like a checklist of abilities that kids learn in time, but not all children learn them at the same pace.
For instance, some kids may begin walking as early as ten months, while others don't do it until they’re fourteen months.
It’s considered pathologic when the milestone isn’t hit at all or when it takes kids too long to develop that milestone compared with other children.
Now, at two months, for gross motor milestones, a baby can keep their head steady when held and also bring their head and chest up and look forward while on their stomach, and for fine motor milestones, their eyes track objects past the midline.
Second, for communication milestones, a baby can turn the head when someone is speaking, and can coo - which is a noise that resembles speech.
Third, for cognitive milestones, a baby can start showing a preference for their usual caregiver over a stranger, paying attention to new things or sounds, and looking at objects until they reach their midline.
And fourth, for social milestones, a baby can smile in response to seeing someone smile.
At Four months old, for gross motor milestones, a baby sit with support, lift their head up to 90 degrees when on their stomach, and also roll on one side as they gain more truncal flexion control.
For fine motor milestones, they can grasp things with their hands and then bring them to their midline.
Second, for communication milestones, they might start laughing, squealing, and saying ‘ga.’
Third, for cognitive milestones, a baby can anticipate routines like feeding and they try to make sense of what objects as toys feel, taste or smell like.