Developmental Milestones and their importance

Developmental Milestones and their importance

Developmental Milestones and their importance

The first few years of your kid are the most important as in those years your child will develop basic life-forming skills. Hence keeping a track of the developmental progress is key in identifying any potential developmental delays in your kid. Now, one can ask the question of why the early recognition of any developmental delay is important? It is important because the earlier the delays are detected, the concerned support and therapies can also start thereby increasing the likelihood of the child reaching its maximum potential and reducing the possibility of requiring any additional support in the future.

Developmental milestones

These are age-specific tasks or skills that a kid is expected to achieve till a certain age. These developmental milestones are used to track the development of a kid and the following areas:

Skills such as 

  • Sitting, standing, balancing, and walking are considered Gross motor skills.
  • Use of hands to play, draw and eat are considered fine motor skills.
  • Speaking, communicating, gestures and using body language are considered to be language skills.
  • Problem-solving, understanding, learning, and remembering are cognitive skills.
  • Interacting with the family teachers and friends are social skills

Typically, a kid achieves these milestones via playing, speaking, learning, moving, and acting. Even though each milestone is achieved by a certain age, the exact age for a kid to develop these skills will vary depending upon the developmental progress. 

Developmental Milestones


Fine‐motor and visual‐motor skills  

Additional skills developing within a greater range

1 Month

·         Eyes can follow (track) an object towards the middle (midline) or starting at midline to either side.

·         Tightly grasp objects placed in the child's hands. 


·         1‐3 months: Infant attempts to swipe or hit objects

2 month

·         Eyes can follow (track) an object to right and left sides, past the midline.

·         Can briefly hold small toys placed in child’s hands.

·         May begin to notice their hands.


·         2‐6 months: Infant inspects own hands and reaches for but may not actually touch objects.

3 Month

Eyes can follow objects in a circular motion.

·         Hands are more relaxed.

·         Infant is able to look at an object and will attempt to reach for that object. (Referred to as “visually directed reaching.”)

·         3‐7 months: Child is able to hold a small object in each hand.

4-5 months

·         Touches fingers together

·         Begins reaching with both hands at the same time.

·         Able to reach and grasp a small toy using both hands.

·         Touches or bangs an object on a table or hard surface.


6 months

·         Reaches for an object with right or left hand.

·         Shake a rattle.

·         Uses a raking grasp (all fingers at the same time) to pick up small objects


7 months

·         Transfers a small object from one hand to the other

·         7‐8 months: Child uses an inferior pincer grasp (pads of thumb and index finger) to pick up small objects

8 Months

·         Able to pull an item that is placed vertically in Play‐ doh.

·         Able to hold an object with the pad of the thumb facing the pad of the index finger           


9 Months

·         Uses thumb and index finger (pincer grasp) to pick up small objects like Cheerios.

·         Bangs two objects together (i.e. two blocks)

·         Claps hands.  



10 Months

·         Pull out three items that are placed vertically in Play‐ doh.

·         Releases an object into an adult’s hand upon request.          


11 Months

·         Place small objects into a medium or large container.      


Importance of developmental milestones:

  • To judge if your child is lagging behind:

  • Oftentimes a kid might be a little behind on a milestone. It is perfectly fine as every kid develops and grows at their own speed. There are many things that you can do at home to help your kid to achieve a particular milestone. As a parent, it is important to judge if your kid is lagging behind too much or not because sometimes too much delay is a symptom of something serious. For example: 

    • A learning disability such as dyslexia
    • Problem in hearing properly.
  • These milestones can indicate if there is some serious problem:

  • Depending upon the type and time to achieve a particular milestone a paediatrician can detect what exactly is going on with your child. What we as a parent can see as a normal developmental delay, a pediatrician is in a better position to judge if it is actually a milestone delay or a serious form of illness such as autism

  • Early intervention and therapy:

  • If your kid is showing developmental delays, then it might be the case that he or she requires additional interventions and therapies. These therapies are designed in such a way to help infants and kids with disabilities/delay to learn the necessary skill and catch up with their counterparts. Your pediatrician is the best guy to understand when and where to start these therapies

  • Better diagnosis for your child:

  • If your child is showing signs of developmental delays, then your pediatrician will want to know how much the delay is and what the developmental milestones your child has missed. These are critical to know as depending upon the developmental delay the pediatrician will start the therapies that they need to thrive!!

    To sum up, every parent must be aware of what developmental milestones are and when a kid is expected to achieve them. In case your kid is lagging behind, consult with a pediatrician and focus on home-based solutions to overcome their developmental delays. Oftentimes these delays can be overcome by the right guidance but if your kid is still showing delays then it might be an early sign of something serious. Hence a proper consultation with the pediatrician is very valuable in such cases and should not be avoided. 

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