Care 101: Developmental Milestones for Your Growing Child
Here's the growth you'll see in your baby, from newborn to tween and everything in between.
From the first time you see your baby's tiny face and count her perfect fingers, you want to know if your child is healthy. Children go through a lot of growth during their first 10 years, and it can be hard for first-time parents to know if their child is meeting her important developmental milestones.
Here's what you should be looking for to ensure that your sweet newborn grows into an active, thoughtful child:
- 0 to 3 Months
Dr. Anne Zachry, a pediatric occupational therapist, says, "Newborns will bring their hands to their mouths, while babies 1 to 2 months old will smile at their caregiver and hold their hands open for three to five minutes." By 3 months of age, your baby should use her hands to bat at a toy and laugh, notes the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
Learn more about milestones for 0 to 3 month olds.
- 4 to 7 Months
Your baby builds her core muscles by rolling over from back to front and front to back and by sitting up without your support, notes the AAP. That little person in the mirror is very interesting to your child, so let baby play in front of a reflective surface for fun and learning.
Learn more about milestones for 4 to 7 month olds.
- 8 to 12 Months
"Typically the 8- to 12-month-old child will pick up objects, bang them together and put them in her mouth, allowing her to inspect the texture, sound and taste of an object," says Damon Korb, a behavioral and developmental pediatrician at The Center for Developing Minds in Los Gatos, California.
Learn more about milestones for 8 to 12 month olds.
- 1 Year
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), your baby may take a few steps alone by her first birthday. Her fine motor skills -- the ones your toddler uses to brush her teeth or color a picture -- are also being developed this year.
Learn more about milestones for 1 year olds.
- 2 Years
Communication is the key at this age, as toddlers begin to string the words they know into sentences. The AAP notes that she will also be able to kick a ball, climb up stairs while holding on to a railing for support and sort by shape or color.
Learn more about milestones for 2 year olds.
- 3 Years
The CDC points out that imagination thrives as 3-year-olds discover how to do free play with their stuffed animals and toys. They're also increasingly aware of themselves as individuals. Toddlers can dress themselves, tell you their names and ages and follow multistep instructions.
Learn more about milestones for 3 year olds.
- 4 Years
At this age, your child is honing her motor skills and language. "Four-year-olds demonstrate balance and coordination," Dr. Korb says. "The child will love to show off her newly acquired abilities like hopping on one foot, somersaults, cutting with scissors and throwing a ball overhand." Most 4-year-olds also have a vocabulary of over 1,000 words, notes MedlinePlus.
Learn more about milestones for 4 year olds.
- 5 Years
By age 5, your child loves to show off her physical skills. "Children of this age can stand on one foot or pump themselves on a swing," says Dr. Zachry. She also notes that 5-year-olds should be able to copy a square and triangle when prompted.
Learn more about milestones for 5 year olds.
- 6 Years
According to Stanford Children's Health, your child can understand time and the concept of numbers. While she still loves playing with you, she may also play with peers of the same gender.
- 7 Years
Your child has probably lost her first tooth or will soon, notes Stanford Children's Health. She can jump rope and ride a bike, and her vision is as sharp as an adult's.
- 8 Years
Even among the range at this age, Dr. Korb says, "Most 8-year-olds can show their coordination by catching, throwing, kicking and running smoothly. They have emerging academic abilities, and most are reading books, writing paragraphs and performing calculations." Children also are beginning to create substantial friendships and make friends of the opposite gender, according to Stanford Children's Health.
- 9 Years
As your child heads into the tween years, self-care is important. As Dr. Zachry reminds us, "Nine-year-olds can handle bathing and dressing themselves." Independence is key, and your child often chooses to play with peers over you.
- 10 Years
Your baby is now a big kid! A 10-year-old should be able to read books with chapters, tell the date, compose a story and name the months of the year, notes Stanford Children's Health. By the time they've reached their 10th birthday, many are interested in sports or group activities.
Learn more about milestones for 6 to 10 year olds.