Growth milestones for children; Normal childhood growth milestones; Childhood growth milestones
Developmental milestones are behaviors or physical skills seen in infants and children as they grow and develop. Rolling over, crawling, walking, and talking are all considered milestones. The milestones are different for each age range.
For every developmental milestone, there is a normal range in which a child may reach that milestone. For example, walking may begin as early as 8 months or as late as 18 months and be considered normal.
One of the reasons for well-child visits to the health care provider in the early years is to follow your child's development. Most parents also closely watch their children for different milestones. If you are worried about your child's development, call the child's primary care provider.
Closely watching a "checklist" or calendar of developmental milestones may trouble parents whose child is not developing normally. At the same time, following these milestones is important to identify a child who needs a more detailed check-up.
Identifying children with delayed milestones early is important because research has shown that the sooner the developmental services are started, the better the outcome. Examples of developmental services include: speech therapy, physical therapy and developmental preschool.
Below is a general list of some of the things you might see children doing at different ages, but these are NOT precise guidelines. There are many different normal paces and patterns of development. This article provides just one example.
Infant -- birth to 1 year
Able to drink from a cup
Able to sit alone, without support
Displays social smile
Gets first tooth
Pulls self to standing position
Rolls over by self
Says mama and dada, using terms appropriately
Understands "NO" and will stop activity in response
Walks while holding on to furniture or other support
Toddler -- 1 to 3 years
Able to feed self neatly, with minimal spilling
Able to draw a line (when shown one)
Able to run, pivot, and walk backwards
Able to say first and last name
Able to walk up and down stairs
Begins pedaling tricycle
Can name pictures of common objects and point to body parts
Dresses self with only a little bit of help
Imitates speech of others, "echoes" word back
Learns to share toys (without adult direction)
Learns to take turns (if directed) while playing with other children
Recognizes and labels colors appropriately
Recognizes differences between males and females
Uses more words and understands simple commands
Uses spoon to feed self
Preschooler -- 3 to 6 years
Able to draw a circle and square
Able to draw stick figures with two to three features for people
Able to skip
Balances better, may begin to ride a bicycle
Begins to recognize written words -- reading skills start
Catches a bounced ball
Enjoys doing most things independently, without help
Enjoys rhymes and word play
Hops on one foot
Rides tricycle well
Understands size concepts
Understands time concepts
School-age child -- 6 to 12 years
Begins gaining skills for team sports (soccer, T-ball, etc.)
Begins to lose "baby" teeth and get permanent teeth
Girls begin to show growth of armpit and pubic hair, breast development
Menarche (first menstrual period) may occur in girls
Peer recognition begins to become important
Reading skills develop further
Routines important for daytime activities
Understands and is able to follow several directions in a row
Adolescent -- 12 to 18 years
Adult height, weight, sexual maturity
Boys show growth of armpit, chest, and pubic hair; voice changes; and testicles/penis enlarge
Girls show growth of armpit and pubic hair; breasts develop; menstrual periods start
Peer acceptance and recognition is of vital importance
Glascoe FP, Marks KP. Developmental-behavioral screening and surveillance. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th Ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011: chap 14.
Jennifer K. Mannheim, ARNP, Medical Staff, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, Seattle Children's Hospital. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.