Everybody appreciates a good map. Some might like the aesthetic appeal of a physical map, but it’s safe to say everyone would literally be lost without the map on their smartphones. Very few people would want to travel to an unknown destination without their phone telling them where to go. Having a guide makes things easy. Dependable. Relaxing.
Which might explain why parenting feels hard, chaotic, and stressful — there is no map for being mom and dad.
Or is there?
No, sorry, there isn’t. But there is a guide! Which is the next best thing, right?
5 Stages of Child Development
Obviously, no two kids are the same and every parenting journey is different. Thankfully, there are some “hardwired” developmental milestones that most kids follow. And each milestone (for the most part) falls into one of five stages that children go through. They are:
- Newborn (0-3 months)
- Infant (3-12 months)
- Toddler (1-3 years)
- Preschool age (3-4 years)
- School/Pre-K age (4-5 years)
Each stage takes a look at certain characteristics, such as a child’s physical, speech, cognitive, emotional, and social progression.
The keyword here is progression. While there will be checklists you and your doctor will use to monitor progress, don’t think of the lists as a test your child has to pass. They are there to help you know what to look for. If you see that progress has stopped in any one area, that’s when it’s time to talk to your doctor. (More on that later.)
Child Development Stages by Age
Have you ever been reading a parenting blog, gotten to a giant chart of information, and thought, “Oh my gosh, just give me the checklist.”
Your wish is our command 🙂 Check out this list from the CDC that lists milestones for kids 2 months to 5 years old.
What to Do if You’re Worried
If you take a look at these lists and see that your child isn’t hitting every single item, remember … these lists are approximations. Very few children hit every milestone at every stage of their life.
Thankfully, your child’s pediatrician is the perfect person to talk to about this. They evaluate these milestones and can provide you with the expertise you need to make an informed decision. Their evaluations are more thorough than online checklists, and they can connect you with specialists if they think your child needs one.
Paying attention to what children typically do at a given age is an important job, but it can feel overwhelming. Thankfully, with a digital guide (checklist) and a physical guide (your pediatrician), your child’s developmental stages don’t have to feel like a topsy-turvy detour.