Parents, both new and experienced, often wonder if their child is on track developmentally. While the doctor may tell you he is, it can be helpful and reassuring to track your child’s development by spotting his developmental milestones. These milestones provide a kind of checkpoint that can identify physical or developmental achievements. However, it is important to note that these milestones provide only an estimation of your child’s developmental timeline and every child achieves these milestones at a different pace. If your child seems “behind,” don’t worry. He will learn to walk/crawl/talk etc. in his own time. However, if you have any concerns, be sure to discuss them with your doctor.
Congratulations on your new little one! During the first few months, your baby is developing her neck muscles and may be able to raise her head from a lying position around 3 months of age. Her first smile may come around 6 weeks of age and she may begin to smile at the sound of your voice at 2 months old. At 3 months, she will begin smiling at others.
Activities for this age: Tummy time allows your baby to develop neck muscles. Make sure to start slowly as baby’s neck can get tired fast!
Your baby is becoming more mobile and will begin rolling over. At this point, it is recommended to no longer swaddle and instead switch to a sleeper sack. He is babbling more and holds his head up on his own. He also enjoys looking at his reflection!
Activities for this age: Dancing or singing with your baby strengthens his connection to you and helps to develop his sense of listening and appreciation of music.
Your baby’s social brain continues to develop and she will begin responding to her own name. She is babbling more and may be able to call you “mama” and “dada.” She is beginning to connect vocal tone to emotions. She will also begin sitting up without support and begin crawling. Activities for this age: Peekaboo! Playing peekaboo helps your child learn object permanence – the idea that objects and people continue to exist when they are out of sight.
Your baby is standing up now and may be cruising around the house with assistance from you or furniture. He may even be walking unassisted. He is also developing better motor skills and can pick up objects with his thumb and forefinger. Activities for this age: Reading to your baby increases language comprehension and acquisition. You can begin reading to you baby as early as you like, even as a newborn!
After the first year:
The first year is full of learning and development for your baby. Their brain develops quicker during their first 5 years than at any other point in their life. At around 2 years old, your now toddler will be on the run! She will also begin playing with others and playing make-believe. Between 18 months and 3 years is prime time for potty training. Patience and consistency is key! By 3 to 4 years old, your child is speaking multiple-word sentences and know 250-500 words. Now that they’ve found their voice and can communicate, the questions will start to come. Be patient with them during this time as they are learning the intricacies of the world around them.
Watching your baby learn and grow is a great blessing, though at times it can be frustrating and overwhelming. Making a plan for these times is essential as they will come! Make sure to ask for help when you need it and talk to your doctor if you have any concerns.