Each parent is the expert in their own child’s life. You will know better than anyone how they are tracking; but sometimes this can be hard to identify. Each age group has developmental stages, from birth to six years old. Within these ages and stages are milestones that serve as a guide to where your child should typically be, and what they should be achieving for their age.
It is important to remember that every child develops at their own pace. The best way to get an indication of your child’s development is by observing them through play, daily routines and activities, to see if there are any red flags.
Milestones at 1 Month
Brings hands within range of eyes and mouth, moves head from side to side while lying on stomach and has strong reflex movements. Eyes wander and occasionally cross, recognises some sounds and may turn toward familiar sounds and voices.
Red flags – sucks poorly and feeds slowly, doesn’t blink when shown a bright light, rarely moves arms and legs.
Milestones at 3 Months
Raises head and chest when lying on stomach, opens and shuts hands, brings hand to mouth, and grasps and shakes toys. Watches faces intently, follows moving objects with eyes, begins to babble and develop a social smile.
Red flags – doesn’t respond to loud noises, can’t support their head, doesn’t bring objects to mouth, doesn’t reach for or grasps toys.
Milestones at 7 Months
Sits with and without support, supports whole weight on legs, transfers object from hand to hand, responds to their name, uses voice to express joy and displeasure, finds partially hidden objects, interested in mirror images.
Red flags – head flops back when pulled up into sitting position, refuses to cuddle, doesn’t roll over, doesn’t babble, doesn’t bear some weight on legs.
Milestones at 1 Year
Crawls forward on belly, gets from sitting to crawling position, pulls themselves up to stand, walks holding on to furniture, stands momentarily without support, pokes with index finger, tries to imitate scribbling, responds with “no”, says dada and mama, tries to imitate words, looks at the correct picture when the image is named, may be fearful in some situations.
Red flags – doesn’t crawl, cannot stand while supported, says no single words, does not point to objects or pictures.
Milestones at 2 Years
Walks along, pulls toys behind them when walking, begins to run, kicks a ball, climbs onto furniture and down unassisted, builds towers of four blocks or more, begins pretend play, imitates behaviour of others.
Red flags – cannot walk by 18 months, doesn’t speak at least 15 words by 18 months, does not seem to know the function of common household objects (brush, phone, fork) by 15 months, does not follow simple instructions by age two.
Milestones at 4 Years
Stands on one foot for five seconds, goes upstairs and downstairs without support, catches bounced ball, uses scissors, begins to copy some capital letters, speaks in sentences of five to six words, tells stories, correctly names some colours, follows three part commands, understands the concept of counting, interested in new experiences, dresses and undresses themselves, cooperates with other children.
Red flags – cannot jump in place, cannot ride a tricycle, has difficulty scribbling, still clings or cries when parent leaves, ignores other children, doesn’t engage in fantasy play, doesn’t use sentences of more than three words, resists dressing, sleeping or using the toilet.
Remember that it is completely normal to worry about your growing child and there is no shame in reaching out to your paediatrician for advice or help. Acting early can make all the difference!