To begin with, a developmental milestones is a skill or a growth that your child must achieve at a certain age to be at par with her peers. These are normal things like walking, sitting, writing, talking etc. While seemingly simple, these milestones give parents a lot of fright if not met right on time as we often forget that each child is unique and a child may learn one skill sooner than the other skill.
By mere observation and sometimes by expert opinion, you can decipher if your child is on the right track of achieve all milestones. These can be of various categories like cognitive, gross motor, fine motor, verbal, social and emotional. The reason we have set timelines for the achievement of these milestones is because it is seen to be a consistent pattern among kids for hundreds of years. However, that would not mean that some children might take more time to walk than is the average. Because that is what averages are made of. If the average time to walk is 11 months and that is termed as a milestone, then we have to remember that there are kids who learn to walk at 1.5 years and those who learn at 9 months. And that is how we have come to an average of 11 months.
However, it is important to observe if there is a developmental delay. These delays are often accompanied by tell tale signs and can be deduced better by an expert.
The major milestones that most babies achieve in the first years are as follows –
- Recognize the sight and voice of the primary care givers and smile at them
- Show better head control and hand eye co-ordination
- Start noticing things around them and follow them with their eyes
- Start grabbing things
3- 6 months
- Notice small objects
- Blow raspberries
- Respond to where a sound comes from
- Start playing by themselves
- Begin semi solids at 6 months
- Roll over
- Sit up
6- 9 months
- Show object permanence : look for hidden things
- Develop stranger anxiety: Do not like going to a new person
- Develop separation anxiety: Be upset when mum or dad is going out
- Show unhappiness when they don’t get desired result
- Copy the parent
- Crawl and cruise around holding furniture etc.
9 – 12 months
- Identify objects with their name
- Respond to their name called out
- Start saying ‘mama’ or ‘dada’ or ‘papa’
- Point out things they want or want to show you
- Starts to walk
These are just the more common milestones to look for. If you notice absence of any milestones it is a good idea to not freak out and just go to a pediatrician. In most cases, there will not be any issues at all and even in case of minor delays, most of them even out by the time the child is 2 years of age. However, the most important thing is to see a doctor when in doubt and not leave it to hear say.