Early Developmental Milestones To Look Out For

If you have ever been in the presence of young children you will know that they learn at an amazing rate. They will mirror behaviour and learn new skills and language in what seems to be no time at all. Young children are capable of absorbing information and learning in a multitude of different ways simultaneously. You will notice as they grow older your children going through several early developmental milestones.

For example, when a toddler is learning to walk, they are both developing their motor skills and expressing themselves verbally. When children respond to your cues, they are developing emotionally and also piecing together a picture of what their behaviour should look like. It’s amazing how much information little minds can process, which is one of the many reasons why early childhood education is so important.

With this in mind, keeping track of early developmental milestones can seem like a daunting task. Professional child specialists like doctors and teachers have some idea of what to look out for during development, but, for parents, the task may seem overwhelming. We have compiled this list of key developmental milestones to look out for in early childhood years to make the job easier. The milestones may be categorised further into social and emotional, language and communication, movement and physical development and cognitive areas.

Milestones at 2 – 4 months old

  • Try to look at parents; begin to smile
  • Copy some movements and facial expressions
  • Turns head toward sounds
  • Tracks movement with their eyes
  • Starts to babble
  • Holds head up, can push up while lying on tummy

Milestones at 6–9 months old

  • Recognize faces
  • Sit without support
  • Have favourite toys
  • Can pick up objects between thumb and index finger
  • Pull themselves to stand while holding on to objects

Milestones at one year old

  • Are often shy or nervous with strangers
  • Use simple gestures
  • Say “mama” and/or “dada”
  • Follow simple directions like, “Pick up that toy.”
  • Find hidden items easily
  • May stand or take a few steps without support

Milestones at 18-months old

  • Initiate play by handing things to others
  • Point at what they want
  • Say several single words
  • Know how ordinary objects (telephone, spoon) are used
  • Eat with spoons and drink with cups

Milestones at two years old

  • Show excitement around other kids
  • Repeat words or sentences often overheard
  • Begin to sort shapes and colors
  • Begin to run, climb, throw and stand on tiptoe

Milestones at three years old

  • Exhibit a wide range of emotions
  • Show concern for others
  • Follow instructions with two or three steps
  • Play make-believe
  • Dress and undress themselves

Milestones at four years old

  • Enjoy trying new things and talking about interests
  • Know some basic grammar rules
  • Start to understand time and the idea of counting
  • Pour, cut and mash their food with supervision

Milestones at five years old

  • Like to sing, dance and playact
  • Speak clearly in full sentences
  • Can print some letters or numbers
  • Can use the toilet on their own

Whether you are a teacher or a parent of young children, understanding their key developmental milestones can make a big difference to how you communicate. Effective communication is founded in understanding, so, by understanding where a child is at with regards to their cognitive, emotional and social development, you can relate to them a lot more effectively. It’s important to teach your child how to respond appropriately to social cues. If you know what they are capable of emotionally then this task becomes a whole lot easier.

At Robyn Taylor Early Childhood Centre, we delight in watching our students develop emotionally, linguistically, physically and cognitively. We encourage parents to do the same. If you would like to learn more about early developmental milestones, head to our contact page to reach out to us or call on 02 9705 8309.