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Developmental milestones are something that a parent should always monitor.

They’re like amusement park height charts, only instead of “you must be this tall to ride”, they measure “you must babble this much to talk”.

I’m sure most parents know the major milestones, but it seems like there are always a few that are missed or misinterpreted (i.e. saying car 1 time does not count as having mastered saying car).  Unfortunately, these are usually the milestones that end up causing big problems later in life.  This is a problem, but it’s not the whole problem.  The bigger issue in my view, is that most parents are conditioned to believe or told “oh they’ll grow out of it, or wait until they’re 2 years old and if it’s still a problem get it looked at by an SLP”.  I don’t subscribe to this belief.

To me it’s the equivalent of an oncologist telling a patient “well, you have a cancerous tumor, but let’s wait until it gets really big before we treat it”.

This line of thinking doesn’t make sense to me.  You don’t need to be a qualified SLP to play games with your baby that encourage meeting developmental milestones.   If you see your child is missing a skill, try to find a way to demonstrate or use that skill through play.  I’ll post some games I like to play to encourage reaching milestones, but in order to know what games to play you’ll need to know what’s missing.

Milestone charts differ from list to list but here’s one from Callier Center for Communication Disorders Infant Learning Project (4 months – 12 months) that I think is really well done.  I’ll probably add a few more things to this list, so if you want the original just click the link above.  It also has links at the bottom of the page to some really good resources.  I’ll add a part 2 for ages 2-4.

Remember, your child needs to be consistently doing these things. This is not a one and done situation.

The Milestones 4 – 7 Months

  • Months Starting to become curious of mirror images
  • Is able to support their weight with their legs
  • Can move toys from one hand to the other
  • Can track moving objects with eyes
  • Is showing a response to others emotions
  • Starts to explore to find hidden objects
  • Uses both hands and eyes for exploration
  • Can roll from stomach to back
  • Can roll from back to stomach
  • Can sit with and without hands as support
  • Will reach out with one hand
  • Interacts well in social playing and activities

Areas of Concern 4 – 7 Months

  • Tight muscles or muscles appear stiff
  • You can not make child happy or content after 5 months
  • Not rolling in either direction, stomach to back, or back to stomach
  • Will not be held or hugged
  • Finds it difficult to get object to mouth
  • Not sitting with assistance by 6 months
  • Not following objects with eyes by 6 months
  • Cannot support all or most weight on legs by 7 months
  • Not looking at sounds by turning head
  • Not smiling on their own by 6 months
  • Not interested in being interactive with others in such games as peek a boo
  • Not babbling and or trying to copy sounds by 7 months

The Milestones 8 – 12 Months

  • Saying a few words such as mom, dad, dog, uh-oh
  • Enjoying imitating others at play
  • Babbling with true meaning (it means a lot to them)
  • Uses furniture to support walking
  • Can pull up to standing position
  • Can go from sitting to crawling position
  • Goes from crawling position to sitting without assistance
  • Can stand for a short period of time without assistance
  • Can hit two items together (like two blocks)
  • Can put toys in a box and take them out
  • Explores with index finger
  • Attempts to copy words and sounds for attention
  • Is aware of familiar people and toys
  • Also aware when mom and dad are not around (and not happy about this at all)
  • Starts to become afraid of certain situations
  • Understands simple words like “NO”
  • Can finger feed themselves
  • Can respond with gestures like “motioning head no”
  • Walking two to three steps unassisted

Areas of Concern 8 – 12 Months

  • Not crawling (by 12 months)
  • Not standing with support
  • Drags or favors one side when crawling
  • Not saying single words such as mom or dad
  • Not using simple gestures like…wave bye-bye
  • Cannot go from sitting position to crawling position unassisted
  • Not able to put object in and out of a box