As a responsible parent, it is pertinent to understand what to expect at each stage of development of your little one. It prepares you for the future and enables to deal with the present stage. Generally, all healthy, normal kids go through the same level of development. However, if a child is slow to reach milestone in a particular area, such as talking, do not panic. He/she may indeed be ahead in another area such as walking. Using a baby milestone guide, it's easier to decide if all is well and normal. If you notice something amiss, it is a cause for concern and requires immediate attention.
Baby milestone chart
The small crumpled-looking newborn goes through a rapid growth phase in the first few years of his life, as he learns new skills, masters usage of limbs and learns to speak and communicate. The primitive reflexes are most prominent in the early months and soon the nervous system becomes more mature. You will notice that as the newborn grows, it develops a personality of its own, which is expressed in cries or quiet alertness or sleeping patterns.
The little infant has eyes only for you and begins to learn from the very word go. Parents and caregivers would do well to play with the newborn, make facial expressions that the little one will soon imitate. During these early months, the baby learns finger coordination skills and would have fun with a small play gym.
The parent plays a crucial role at each stage of the baby's growth. Do not wish your baby to the next developmental milestone, instead savor and enjoy the present one. It is essential not to compete with other kids but concentrate on your child's growth stage. Sing along with the kid and read out stories. Not only will this foster better learning, you will also be building better bonds. At each stage, be there to ensure that the baby is safe; but let the child explore and learn on his own. Take these precious moments of play to inculcate good manners and interact well with others.
Baby milestone - three months
Social and emotional skills: Develops a smile, enjoys playing with others, cries when playing stops, attempts to repeat familiar words or actions, body and face expressions to communicate huger, fears or uncomfortable feelings.
Cognitive skills: Attracted towards bright colors and lights, turns head towards attractions including human voice sounds.
Motor skills: Able to raise head and chest while lying on stomach and supports upper body with arms, turns head from side to side lying on stomach, begins to smile, can open and shut hands, brings hand nearer to mouth, sets eyes on moving objects or person, holds on to a toy like rattle when placed in hand.
Baby milestone - six months
Social and emotional skills: Begins to utter sounds such as ma, ba, na, da and ga, can recognize familiar faces and smiles at mirror image. The infant yells or screams if annoyed or irritated and laughs and squeals when happy.
Cognitive skills: Without instruction, opens mouth while being fed, becomes a keen listener and aims to get hold of objects out of reach.
Motor skills: Rolls over both ways, can sit without shaking head, uses toes to play, aims for far away objects to grasp, uses both hands, can sit in a high chair with and then without support.
Speech and language skills: Responds when his/her name is called or spoken to, can say no, happy or sad uses voice to express, continuously babbles, can differentiate tone of voice of the person who communicates.
Walking is an important milestone in the kid's life – a step towards self reliance and independence. This is the precursor to running, skipping and jumping and playing around. The finer aspects of mobility are learnt by the by. The child may graduate to walking and pulling toys at the same time, climbing stairs and moving around pieces of furniture.
Baby milestone - twelve months
Cognitive skills: Shakes, bangs, throws or drops all objects, searches for hidden objects, uses objects such as combs, cups, phone correctly, co-relates picture names when called out, imitates sounds and gestures, shakes body and responds to music.
Motor skills: Manages to sit without help and support, stands alone, tries to walk alone holding onto furniture, lies on belly and crawls forward, can drink from a cup with little help, can self feed foods like crackers or cereal, puts objects into container and takes them out.
Speech and language skills: Utters first word, responds to simple commands, a keen listener, shakes head to convey no and imitates words.
Social and emotional skills: Can distinguish familiar faces and strangers, makes sounds or uses body gestures for attention, shows fondness for certain people and toys, exhibits fear in certain situations, able to self finger-feed, waits for response to his behavior, cries when mother or father goes out of house.
Baby milestone - 2 years
Cognitive skills: Differentiates shapes and colors, patiently explores hidden objects.
Motors skills: Hands over a toy when asked, brings objects placed elsewhere in the house.
Speech and language skills: Can say hi, bi and please, can understand 8-10 times more than they can utter, knows names of some people. Relates body parts and objects and follows two-step commands.
Social and emotional skills: Protests if frustrated, looks directly at person addressing, anxious when father or mother is absent. Engages in pretentious activities, can play alone with toys. Develops a feeling of self, competes with playmates for toys.
Baby milestone - 3 years
Cognitive skills: Recognizes familiar objects to pictures in books, fond of mechanical toys, can sort objects by shape and color, plays puzzles with three or four pieces.
Motor skills: discriminates directions like up-and-down, side-to-side, familiar playing with blocks can hold a pencil, enjoys turning pages.
Speech and language skills: Able to combine nouns and verbs, use plurals, understands time concepts, can specify name, age and sex, ready to use on, in and under correctly and understands almost an entire sentence.
Social and emotional skills: Use me rather than name, desperate for adult attention, prefers favorite stories to be repeated.
Baby milestone - 4 years
Cognitive skills: Can name colors, can count, recalls a story, develops time concept.
Motor skills: Can to dress and undress without help
Speech and language skills: Excellent vocabulary of nearly 1000 words, able to say his/her first name, last name, location description and rhymes.
Social and emotional skills: willing to adjust and play with other children, interested in meeting or experimenting with new things, loves to play mom and dad, can't differentiate between fantasy and reality.
Baby milestone - 5 years
Cognitive skills: Familiar with concept of time, can name colors correctly, can easily count 10 or more than 10 objects.
Motor skills: Distinguishes and promptly identifies shapes, can draw a whole picture of a human or animal, able to use fork, spoon. Speech and language skills: Vocabulary of nearly 1500 words, uses past tense perfectly, can make sentences of 4-5 words. Asks why, who and when.
Social and emotional skills: Wants to be friendly, copies mannerisms of friends, doesn't find it difficult to obey rules, loves to sing, dance and act, may visit familiar houses without parents, differentiates between a boy and girl and understands difference between fantasy and reality.