Thursday, November 26, 2009

When you are concerned about a child's development

Act Early . . .

Children's growth and developmental milestones may differ somewhat, but the guidelines below will give you some ideas of what's to be expected.  Click on the links to the CDC's "
"Act Early" campaign for complete details.

List of developmental milestones:  Click on your child's age to see a list of typical developmental milestones.  Halfway down the page is a feature that allows you to complete an interactive checklist based on the milestones that your child has accomplished.  Be sure to discuss this list of milestones with your child's pediatrician and read more on the Act Now website about programs available to provide children with extra help when necessary.  Above all, be a positive parent to your child-- get tips for positive parenting techniques here.  

Select this link to read more about developmental screening.  You can order free publications from the Act Now campaign including a growth chart with information on appropriate developmental milestones:  growth chart with information about appropriate developmental milestones.

 At 1 month of age many babies will:
  • Lift their head briefly when on stomach
  • Respond to sound
  • Blink at bright lights
  • Stare and focus at faces
Hold baby in your arms for feedings, respond to baby's cries promptly, talk and sing to your baby.

By 3 months of age many babies will:
  • Exhibit a social smile, enjoy playful interaction with adults, and communicate through facial expressions and body movements
  • Bring hands to mouth and swipes at dangling toys
  • Watch faces intently, turn head in the direction of sound and babble
 Talk and sing to your baby--your baby finds this soothing.

By 7 months many babies will:
  • Turn their head when their name is called
  • Smile back at another person
  • Respond to a sound with a sound
  • Enjoy social play (like peek-a-boo)
Cuddle and hold your baby.  When baby babbles, answer by repeating sounds; add words to develop language skills. 

By 12 months (1 year old) many babies will:
  • Use simple gestures (point at an object, wave bye-bye)
  • Make sounds such as “ma” and “da”
  • Imitate actions (clap when you clap)
  • Respond when told “no”
Give your baby plenty of loving attention and praise.

By 18 months (1 and a half years old) many toddlers will:
  • Pretend when they are playing (talk on a toy phone)
  • Point to interesting objects
  • Look at an object when you point at it and tell them to look
  • Use several single words unprompted (“Uh-oh!,” “No!,” etc.)
 Read stories to your toddler to develop language skills.

By the end of 24 months (2 years) many toddlers will:
  • Use 2- to 4-word phrases
  • Follow simple instructions
  • Become more interested in other children
  • Point to objects or pictures when named (such as parts of the body and different foods or toys they are familiar with)
Teach your toddler to tell you his/her name and age.

By the end of 36 months (3 years) many children will:
  • Show affection for playmates
  • Use 4- to 5-word sentences
  • Imitate adults and other children, (run when other kids run)
  • Play make-believe with dolls, animals, and people (feed a teddy bear, play dress up)
 Take some time every day to play with your child. Teach her interactive songs like "Itsy Bitsy Spider."

By the end of 48 months (4 years) many children can:
  • Use 5- to 6-word sentences
  • Follow 3-step commands (Example: “Put on your sweatshirt, get your ball, and come downstairs.)
  • Cooperate with other children
 Encourage your child to play with other children to build friendships and learn sharing.

Where to get more information?  There are tons of sites online to get more information about early childhood development and ways in which parents can help their babys develop into happy healthy individuals.  I strongly recommend these two sites: the Mayo Clinic pages about Infant and Toddler Health and the parent handouts available on this site "Zero to Three."

Aprenda los signos: Reaccione pronto (Publications in Spanish from the CDC's Act Now Program) 

All rights reserved for photos, 2009, Carolyn Cooper, MPH, RN

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