Skip Navigation

Developmental Milestones

What is child development?
Child development refers to how a child becomes able to do more complex things as they get older. Development is different than growth.  Growth only refers to the child getting bigger in size.  If you are concerned about your child’s development, please see Developmental Delay on YourChild.
When we talk about normal development, we are talking about developing skills like:

What are developmental milestones?
Developmental milestones are a set of functional skills or age-specific tasks that most children can do at a certain age range.  Your pediatrician uses milestones to help check how your child is developing.  Although each milestone has an age level, the actual age when a normally developing child reaches that milestone can vary quite a bit.  Every child is unique! 

Where can I find some good links with developmental milestones for my child’s age group?

Overall development—gross and fine motor, language, cognitive, and social skills

Social and Emotional Development
Zero to Three offers these milestones for how children develop and the role that parents play at different stages.  The emphasis here is more on social and emotional development:

Speech and Language Development

How does my child’s doctor check my child’s development? doctor looking in child's ear
Assessing your child’s development is a team effort.  Your family plays an important role.  At your child’s well-child visit, your pediatrician will spend time watching your child and talking with you to find out about what your child is doing since your last visit.  Tell your child’s doctor about any worries or concerns you may have. Your pediatrician may also use developmental screening in the office. Screening involves a series of questions and observations that gets at your child’s ability to perform certain age-appropriate tasks.  Using developmental milestones as a guide can help pediatricians identify children who may be at risk for developmental delay.

What if my child is not reaching their developmental milestones?
If your child’s doctor finds anything that may be of concern, they can refer you to a specialist and/or work with your family to identify services that may help your child.  If your child is delayed, you should start intervention as early as possible so your child can make the best possible progress.  Please see Developmental Delay on YourChild for more on the importance of early intervention and how to get your child into the early intervention system.

Where can I get more information and resources on the development children born prematurely?

Where can I get more information and resources on the development newborns to three-year-olds?

Where can I get more information and resources on the development three- to five-year-olds?

Also see these related topics on YourChild: