CHILD DEVELOPMENT: Rapid, Slow and Average.

CHILD DEVELOPMENT



Every child is different, and so is every parent's experience, but experts have a clear idea about the range of normal development from birth to age 1 — and signs that a child might have a developmental delay. Below you'll find milestones organized by the period of development, and tips on when to contact a health professional about your concerns. Remember — there is no penalty for being cautious about your growing child, and if there is a problem acting early can make all the difference.

Babies don’t read books on child development so they are unaware of when, statically speaking, they should be crawling, standing, speaking, weaned and dry. Books and charts give averages. Development charts and books are useful as an indication of what to expect, and an indicator if the child appears to be developing seriously behind the majority.

Developmental milestones from birth to age 1


By the end of their first month, most babies:

  • Make jerky, quivering arm movements
  • Bring hands near face
  • Keep hands in tight fists
  • Move head from side to side while lying on stomach
  • Focus on objects 8 to 12 inches away
  • Prefer human faces over other shapes
  • Prefer black-and-white or high-contrast patterns
  • Hear very well
  • Recognize some sounds, including parents' voices

By the end of their third month, most babies:

  • Raise head and chest when lying on stomach
  • Support the upper body with arms when lying on the stomach
  • Stretch legs out and kick when lying on stomach or back
  • Push down on legs when feet are placed on a firm surface
  • Open and shut hands
  • Bring hands to mouth
  • Grab and shake hand toys
  • Follow moving object with eyes
  • Watch faces closely
  • Recognize familiar objects and people at a distance
  • Start using hands and eyes in coordination
  • Begin to babble and to imitate some sounds
  • Smile at the sound of parents' voices
  • Enjoy playing with other people
  • May cry when playing stops

By the end of their seventh month, most babies:

  • Rollover both ways (stomach to back and back to stomach)
  • Sit up
  • Reach for an object with the hand
  • Transfer objects from one hand to the other
  • Support whole weight on legs when held upright
  • Develop full-color vision and mature distance vision
  • Use voice to express joy and displeasure
  • Respond to own name
  • Babble chains of consonants (ba-ba-ba-ba)
  • Distinguish emotions by tone of voice
  • Explore objects with hands and mouth
  • Struggle to get objects that are out of reach
  • Enjoy playing peek-a-boo
  • Show an interest in mirror images

By their first birthday, most babies:

  • Sit without assistance
  • Get into hands-and-knees position
  • Crawl
  • Pull self up to stand
  • Walk holding onto furniture, and possibly a few steps without support
  • Use pincer grasp (thumb and forefinger)
  • Say “dada” and “mama”
  • Use exclamations, such as “oh-oh!”
  • Try to imitate words
  • Respond to “no” and simple verbal requests
  • Use simple gestures, such as shaking head “no” and waving bye-bye
  • Explore objects in many ways (shaking, banging, throwing, dropping)
  • Begin to use objects correctly (drinking from cup, brushing hair)
  • Find hidden objects easily
  • Look at the correct picture when an image is named

Developmental Health Watch


At 1 Month

If, during the second, third, or fourth weeks of your baby’s life, she shows any of the following signs of developmental delay, notify your pediatrician.
  • Sucks poorly and feeds slowly
  • Doesn’t blink when shown a bright light
  • Doesn’t focus and follow a nearby object moving side to side
  • Rarely moves arms and legs; seems stiff
  • Seems excessively loose in the limbs, or floppy
  • Lower jaw trembles constantly, even when not crying or excited
  • Doesn’t respond to loud sounds

At 3 Months

Although each baby develops in her own individual way and at her own rate, failure to reach certain milestones may signal medical or developmental problems requiring special attention. If you notice any of the following warning signs in your infant at this age, discuss them with your pediatrician.
  • Doesn’t seem to respond to loud sounds
  • Doesn’t notice her hands by two months
  • Doesn’t smile at the sound of your voice by two months
  • Doesn’t follow moving objects with her eyes by two to three months
  • Doesn’t grasp and hold objects by three months
  • Doesn’t smile at people by three months
  • Cannot support her head well at three months
  • Doesn’t reach for and grasp toys by three to four months
  • Doesn’t babble by three to four months
  • Doesn’t bring objects to her mouth by four months
  • Begins babbling, but doesn’t try to imitate any of your sounds by four months
  • Doesn’t push down with her legs when her feet are placed on a firm surface by four months
  • Has trouble moving one or both eyes in all directions
  • Crosses her eyes most of the time (Occasional crossing of the eyes is normal in these first months.)
  • Doesn’t pay attention to new faces, or seems very frightened by new faces or surroundings
  • Still has the tonic neck reflex at four to five months

At 7 Months

Because each baby develops in his own particular manner, it’s impossible to tell exactly when or how your child will perfect a given skill. The developmental milestones listed in this book will give you a general idea of the changes you can expect, but don’t be alarmed if your own baby’s development takes a slightly different course. Alert your pediatrician, however, if your baby displays any of the following signs of possible developmental delay for this age range.
  • Seems very stiff, with tight muscles
  • Seems very floppy, like a rag doll
  • The Head still flops back when the body is pulled up to a sitting position
  • Reaches with one hand only
  • Refuses to cuddle
  • Shows no affection for the person who cares for him
  • Doesn’t seem to enjoy being around people
  • One or both eyes consistently turn in or out
  • Persistent tearing, eye drainage, or sensitivity to light
  • Does not respond to sounds around him
  • Has difficulty getting objects to his mouth
  • Does not turn his head to locate sounds by four months
  • Doesn’t roll over in either direction (front to back or back to front) by five months
  • Seems inconsolable at night after five months
  • Doesn’t smile spontaneously by five months
  • Cannot sit with help by six months
  • Does not laugh or make squealing sounds by six months
  • Does not actively reach for objects by six to seven months
  • Doesn’t follow objects with both eyes at near (1 foot) [30 cm] and far (6 feet) [180 cm] ranges by seven months
  • Does not bear some weight on legs by seven months
  • Does not try to attract attention through actions by seven months
  • Does not babble by eight months
  • Shows no interest in games of peekaboo by eight months

At 1 Year

Each baby develops in his own manner, so it’s impossible to tell exactly when your child will perfect a given skill. Although the developmental milestones listed in this book will give you a general idea of the changes you can expect as your child gets older, don’t be alarmed if his development takes a slightly different course. Alert your pediatrician if your baby displays any of the following signs of possible developmental delay in the eight-to twelve-month age range.
  • Does not crawl
  • Drags one side of the body while crawling (for over one month)
  • Cannot stand when supported
  • Does not search for objects that are hidden while he watches
  • Says no single words (“mama” or “dada”)
  • Does not learn to use gestures, such as waving or shaking head
  • Does not point to objects or pictures

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