Milestones

One of the most rewarding things about working with children is the opportunity to see them grow through life’s first stages. We pay special attention to children’s milestones – the behaviors and physical skills that are seen in infants and children as they grow and develop. Milestones vary for each age range. For example, rolling over, crawling and walking are all considered important milestones for infants. Banner Children’s caring pediatrics staff is here to help you track your child’s milestones with you, both big and small.

Why Are Milestones So Important?

Children’s milestones represent an ability that most children achieve at a certain age. These milestones allow you and your doctors to see if your child is behind on developing or if your child is experiencing any difficulties.

What To Do If Your Child Is Not Hitting Milestones

Parents know their children best. If your child is not meeting milestones for their age or if you think there’s a problem with how your child speaks, learns, acts or moves, share your concerns with your pediatrician. They may recommend a developmental screening or refer you to a specialist who can perform a more in-depth evaluation of your child.

Developmental Milestone Stages

Developmental milestone stages are physical skills or behaviors that are seen in infants and children as they develop and grow. Milestones vary for each age range.

The main areas that will be developed during milestone stages are:

Cognitive

Cognitive milestones help you understand how your child learns. Cognitive skills incorporate thinking, learning, exploring, problem-solving, language and social skills.

There are four main stages of cognitive development. These stages are called the Piaget stages of development and start from infancy through adulthood. The Piaget stages are:

  • Sensorimotor, which starts from birth through ages 18-24 months
  • Preoperational, which starts during toddler years (18-24 months) through early childhood (age 7)
  • Concrete operational, which starts at age 7 through age 12
  • Formal operational, which lasts from adolescence through adulthood

Social and Emotional

Social and emotional development includes your child’s expression and emotion management and the ability to establish positive relationships with others.

Speech and Language

Speech and language milestones refer to how children learn to communicate. Remember each child learns to speak at their own pace. Your pediatrician will help you determine if your child is on track or if they might need extra help.

Fine Motor Skills

Fine motor skills involve the movement of smaller muscles in the hands, fingers and wrists. These skills help your child become more independent and perform self-care tasks without assistance. Fine motor skills develop naturally as your child gains the ability to coordinate and control their body.

Gross Motor Skills

Gross motor skills involve the movement of larger muscles, like those in the arms and legs. Gross motor skills help your child gain strength, confidence and the desire to exercise or perform physical activity.

Important Milestones

There are several milestones your child should be able to meet at various ages.

Birth to 2 years old

By age two, your child should be able to meet the following milestones, including:

  • Show more independence and defiant behaviors
  • Get excited around other children
  • Point to things
  • Know the names of familiar people and body parts
  • Say 2-4 word sentences
  • Find things
  • Name items in a book
  • Kick a ball
  • Climb up and down furniture without help

3 to 8 years old

Between ages 3 to 8, your child should be able to:

  • Say their name and age
  • Speak in sentences
  • Tell stories and answer questions
  • Understand the idea of “same and different”
  • Easily perform physical activities
  • Read and become interested in reading
  • Count and perform simple math equations
  • Know what day of the week it is
  • Enjoy being around friends
  • Have rapidly changing emotions
  • Tie their shoes
  • Draw shapes and people with 16 features

9 to 11 years old

Before age 9, your child will do a lot more development in the cognitive, speech and fine motor skill areas. From age 9 onward, you’ll notice more physical development and growth spurts at different rates. Between the ages of 9 and 11, your child should:

  • Have an increased attention span
  • Have interests and hobbies
  • Use good judgement
  • Begin to question authority
  • Admire and imitate older kids
  • Develop decision-making skills
  • Prefer to work in cooperative activities
  • Approach problem-solving with a compromising style
  • Identify with individuals of the same gender

12 to 18 years old

When your child reaches adolescence, you’ll see a lot of physical changes, a big shift in appetite and an increase in sleep time. You’ll also notice:

  • An increasing ability to reason and make educated guesses
  • A desire to set goals for the future
  • An understanding of the consequences of their actions
  • The ability to research, understand and write about a variety of topics
  • The desire for independence

A lack of verbal communication with parents

The desire to spend more time with friends

When Should My Child Get Vaccines or Immunizations?

Vaccines and immunizations help protect infants, children, teens and adults from diseases that can be serious, and in some cases, deadly. Children usually receive vaccines throughout different stages of their lives.

By the time your child starts kindergarten (age 5 or 6), they will have received:

  • Rotavirus vaccine (between birth and 3 months)
  • Annual flu vaccinations (starting at 6 months)
  • All three hepatitis B vaccinations
  • Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (DTaP)
  • Inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV)
  • Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine (Hib)
  • Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine
  • Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine

Between ages 6 through 10, your child should visit the doctor once a year for their well-child visit and receive a flu vaccination every flu season.

When your child is 11 to 12 years old, there are four recommended vaccines for preteens. These include:

  • Initial Meningococcal conjugate vaccine
  • Tdap
  • HPV vaccine
  • Flu vaccine every flu season

When your child is 16, they will need a second Meningococcal and Meningitis B vaccine.

From ages 13-18, your child should visit the doctor for their annual check-up and get their flu vaccine, as well as any other vaccines they may have missed or that they need if they’re traveling outside the United States.

There are also several other vaccines you might want to consider for your kids or yourself, including vaccines for the flu, chickenpox, hepatitis A, and human papillomavirus (HPV).

Remember, every child grows and develops at their own pace. If you have concerns about your child’s development, talk to your pediatrician. Our caring and compassionate team is here to help.