Although genetics, temperament, and premature birth can all influence the rate at which children hit developmental milestones, some basic markers are helpful to gauge your child's progress.
- Step 1: Observe whether at 12 months the baby pokes, points, stands, grasps small objects, copies sounds and actions, tries words, and understands simple commands. Your baby should be testing your responses to actions, repeating sounds, and finger feeding.
- Step 2: Watch the child try to stand up with help from the furniture from just before the end of their first year, and finally walk with some help. They will bring objects to you, having built their confidence enough to carry things and interact.
- Step 3: Expect as 18 months approaches that your baby will dump things from containers, turn book pages, open cabinets, eat with a spoon, and stack blocks. They might scribble with crayons now, as well as walk and run without help. Enjoy every minute.
- FACT: 95 percent of 6- to 21-year-old students with disabilities attended public schools in 2007.
- TIP: If the baby does not crawl, try words, shake their head, or point at things, alert their physician.
- Step 4: Let the baby try to find their balance between 6 and 10 months, arms learning to coordinate with legs, which have been trying to propel them for a while by now. Whether they slither on their belly or roll around, the mobility begins.
- Step 5: Delight when the baby smiles at about eight weeks, which isn't always "just gas." By then, your baby will show pleasure at the sight and sound of their parents, and may get sad when they don't see them.
- Step 6: Look for cause and effect recognition at 3 months, as the child picks up and drops things, using their hands to shake a rattle to produce sound. They will also be able to hold their head steady.
- Step 7: Hug them at four to five months and they should try to hug you back, learning to reciprocate. Playing peek-a-boo, fiddling with their toes, exploring their mouth, and banging objects are normal behaviors at 6 months. They will be able to roll over and to recognize faces.
- TIP: Remove unstable objects or furniture away from the child so they don't get hurt by pulling objects onto themselves.
- Step 8: Study your child their first few weeks and observe how they lift their head, grasp and hold things, or turn their face toward bright colors, lights, and human voices. If hitting their milestones, babies should communicate hunger, fear, and discomfort.