Almost four million babies will be born this year in the US. As a new parent, very few things compare with the joy and attachment you’ll feel with your child in the first few moments of life.
But new parents are often gripped with fear during the first few weeks of their child’s life? Why? They wonder if their child will develop normally.
They fear that their child won’t have the experiences needed to progress physically and mentally. But it’s very hard to know if your child is actually progressing.
Luckily, there are childhood milestones that every child should reach. And there are average timeframes for when these developmental milestones should take place.
What are the milestones of childhood you should keep an eye out for? Read on below to find out now.
Your baby is going to learn constantly. It starts the moment they come out of the womb.
It seems like there isn’t much happening during the first month after birth, but it’s actually quite busy for your baby’s brain.
Most children, by the end of their first month, can bring their hands near their face. They can hold their hands in tight fists. And they can make sudden arm movements.
They can focus on objects as far as a foot away. And they can start to recognize sounds, primarily various voices.
By 3 Months
By the end of the third month, your baby should be spending a decent amount of time on their tummy. Supervised, of course.
This should encourage them to raise their head and chest up off the floor. They should be pretty comfortable supporting their upper body with their arms while having tummy time.
You should see them using their legs more often. If they feel the ground, they should start pushing on it with their legs. They should also start making some kicking motions.
At this point, they should be opening and closing their hands, as well as grabbing and holding objects such as toys. Although they might not be good at it, they should start developing their early sense of hand-eye coordination.
Most babies can follow slow-moving objects with their eyes. This is also the time you should hear more babbling and other noises coming out of their mouths throughout the day.
By 6 Months
At half a year, your baby should start hitting some major milestones. At this point, most babies should be able to roll over, both from their back and from their tummy.
They should be able to sit up with support, such as a chair with a backrest on it.
You’ll see them using their hands a lot more as they reach for things that they want. They can also pass objects from one hand to the other.
They’ll also start putting things in their mouth, which is totally normal.
Their ability to focus on objects should extend across the room. They’ll be very curious when they see themselves in the mirror. And they’ll be captivated when playing peekaboo if they cannot laugh just yet.
By Year 1
By the time their first birthday rolls around, babies can be in very different developmental stages.
At this point, your baby should be crawling with ease. They should be able to pull themselves up to a standing position. Most can walk by holding the edge of furniture or a wall.
Those that have older siblings might be able to walk completely self-supported by now. Seeing other kids doing things can help encourage development earlier than first-born kids.
You should hear them saying basic words like “mama” and “dada.” They may even use phrases like “uh-oh.”
Occasionally, they’ll try to imitate the words or sounds that they here. By now, they’ll also understand what no means. Whether they listen to you or not is another story.
They should understand what “bye-bye” means and may wave goodbye.
And they’ll have a lot more fun playing with toys by this stage, as they shake, hit, throw, and drop toys to their heart’s content. They will likely repeat certain actions again and again.
If you hide an object, they should be able to understand where it went and they’ll go find it. Usually, this is the stage where a child will develop an attachment to a toy or personal item like a blanket.
It’s often a soft, cuddly item like stuffies. And it can act as a way to provide comfort when they’re scared, upset, or in a new place.
Their emotional development is in full swing as they smile, laugh, frown, or express a desire to cause trouble.
By Year 2
By their second birthday, most of the early childhood development milestones will have been reached.
Most babies will begin walking self-supported sometime between one and two years. It can range widely for different children, but by two, it’s expected. They may even start running by this age.
They can likely climb on objects and furniture. And they might be able to walk up and down the stairs while holding onto something.
They can throw and kick objects with ease. Their coordination is much better as they carry multiple objects at once.
They should have a healthy vocabulary by this point. Two-year-old babies will have a handful of single words, and even a few phrases to help communicate.
You’ll see kids around two scribbles with crayons, organize objects according to shapes and colors, and follow simple instructions.
Handling Delays Regarding Childhood Milestones
It can be scary as a parent if you don’t see these physical and emotional development milestones happening right on time. But every child is different and most will eventually advance through them.
Still, many children struggle with developmental delays. And this can be caused by things like alcohol or drug use during pregnancy, traumatic experiences early in life, or by being an only child and isolated from other kids.
If you suspect your child is experiencing any delays, speak with their doctor. They will be able to point you to public and private programs to help your baby reach these milestones better.
Many of these programs are available through the public school system and might be free of charge.
The Joy of Childhood Development
It’s a joy when you see new childhood milestones taking place before your eyes. But it’s easy to feel anxious that your baby might be falling behind.
Knowing these various milestones, and understanding that every kid progresses on a different timeline should ease your conscious a bit.
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