Developmental Milestones

By — YourChild: University of Michigan Health System
Updated on Feb 25, 2011

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:

  • Gross motor:  using large groups of muscles to sit, stand, walk, run, etc., keeping balance, and changing positions.
  • Fine motor:  using hands to be able to eat, draw, dress, play, write, and do many other things.
  • Language:  speaking, using body language and gestures, communicating, and understanding what others say.
  • Cognitive:  Thinking skills:  including learning, understanding, problem-solving, reasoning, and remembering.
  • Social:  Interacting with others, having relationships with family, friends, and teachers, cooperating, and responding to the feelings of others.

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 very 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
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