Childhood is a time of tremendous growth and learning. How very exciting to be a baby...or a two-year-old... or get on a school bus for the first time. There's so much to know, and we all come into the world like small waiting sponges, ready to absorb what's around us.
We're all different, too, another of life's little marvels. We're a spectrum of colors with differing talents, interests, and physical make-ups. So it comes as no surprise that we also develop at different rates. Some children speed along, practically running before they walk. Others take their time--or need more time. And still others may ultimately need four wheels to get around.
Parents, siblings, grandparents, daycare providers, teachers, and friends watch eagerly for each new step and progression in a child's skills. If a skill is not learned "on time," they may worry. Juana's not sitting up yet, but the baby next door is. Hannah should be talking in full sentences by now! Frank and Ahmed aren't learning to read as easily as the rest of the class. But what's "on time?" What's "normal?" Surely "normal" has a range?
Not only do new moms and dads anxiously (and exhaustedly) await the time when baby sleeps all through the night, but the earliest years are filled with a wonderland of firsts-the first smile, first laugh, first steps, and first word. When do all these miraculous firsts usually occur?
Excerpted below are just a few of many milestones a typically developing child reaches in the first year of life.
By 3 months of age
- lift head when held at your shoulder
- lift head and chest when lying on his stomach
- turn head from side to side when lying on his stomach
- follow a moving object or person with his eyes
- grasp rattle when given to her
- wiggle and kick with arms and legs
Sensory and Thinking Skills
- turn head toward bright colors and lights
- turn toward the sound of a human voice
- recognize bottle or breast
- respond to your shaking a rattle or bell
Language and Social Skills
- make cooing, gurgling sounds
- smile when smiled at
- communicate hunger, fear, discomfort (through crying or facial expression)
- usually quiet down at the sound of a soothing voice or when held
Reprinted with the permission of the National Dissemination Center.
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