Milestones are guidelines that doctors and health care providers use to determine if your child has a developmental delay or has a potential disability. Remember that all babies develop and grow at different rates. Many parents are guilty of comparing their child to another child that is around the same age and they begin thinking that their child is behind or isn’t doing things that the other baby is doing. Learn what milestones are important and that your baby should be doing by the end of the of their 4 months, 8 months, and 12 months old. Don’t be concerned if your child isn’t doing one milestone in their appropriate age group. However, if your child isn’t doing most of these milestones by the end of the appropriate month. Then you should scheduled an appointment with your child’s doctor or health care provider as soon as possible to discuss your concerns. Your child’s doctor will evaluate your child and determine if your child should been seen by a specialist or be referred to Early Intervention Services.
By Age 4 Months Your Child Should Be Meeting These Age Appropriate Milestones
A 4 month old child is usually very sociable and loves interacting with objects and people. At this age they love to be talked to and should begin exploring the world around them. However, if they are unable to do more than one of the following milestones, it is important to discuss these missed milestones with your child’s doctor or health care provider.
- Your baby should startle when they hear loud sounds.
- Most babies love attention and will smile at everyone and attract the attention of anyone who is willing to pay attention to them.
- They should begin babbling and cooing as if they are trying to have a conversation.
- Babies love to follow objects with their eyes and they should be able to track an object with their eyes.
- At this age, they being showing an interest in toys. Babies like toys that they can easily grasp and reach for.
- By now your baby should be able to support their own head and hold it up for long periods of time.
By Age 8 Months Your Child Should Be Meeting These Age Appropriate Milestones
By the time your child is 8 months old, he or she will have changed dramatically. Many infants will begin learning how to maneuver around the room to get where they are going. It is important that you baby proof the room that your baby spends a majority of time in so that they don’t harm themselves. Your baby should be able to do the following milestones by the end of the 8th month:
- By now your baby’s muro (startle reflex that wakes a baby up during sleep because they feel like they are falling) and tonic-neck (the head and arm straightens in the direction that the head is turned) reflexes should be long gone. If your baby still has these reflexes contract your child’s doctor immediately for an evaluation.
- Your baby’s muscle tone should be normal, it shouldn’t be too stiff or too floppy.
- If your baby doesn’t show affection or want to cuddle with his or her primary caregivers.
- Most babies will turn their head toward sounds that they hear and will turn their head in response to them.
- Your baby should be able to reach for a toy, grab it, and bring it to his or her mouth.
- A baby should be rolling over or sitting up by the time they are 8-9 months old, contact your child’s doctor, if they don’t roll or sit up unassisted.
- You baby should be able to sleep for extended periods of time at night.
- A baby who had colic should be outgrowing those symptoms and should be easily consolable, if not contact your child’s health care provider immediately to rule out other causes of constant crying spells and irritability.
- An infant’s eye sight should be almost fully developed by this time and you shouldn’t see your babies eyes crossing frequently, turning in, turning out, watering constantly, and your baby should be able to follow objects that are placed in front of their face. Any problems in this area should be addressed immediately to rule out vision problems.
- Your baby should begin doing things to get your attention with sounds or actions.
By Age 12 Months Your Child Should Be Meeting These Age Appropriate Milestones
Over the next few months, your child will continue to develop and grow. Most babies by this age are somewhat mobile to fulling walking unassisted, depending on your child. At this stage, your baby is no longer a baby and is turning into an independent toddler. As they approach their birthday, your child should be able to do the following:
- Your child should be able to get around the house by crawling quickly or by walking, if you haven’t child proofed your home yet, now is a fantastic time to do that to avoid injuries.
- A 12 month old baby should be babbling alot and should begin saying two to three words minimum. Depending on your child, he or she may have a larger vocabulary.
- Your child should being playing games such as peek-a-boo, patty-cake, or finding an object that you hid under a blanket. If they show no interest, please contact your child’s doctor immediately.
- Your toddler’s first form of communicating begins in the form of pointing to objects or pictures, shaking their head no, or waving. Continue to encourage your child to use their vocal skills to tell you what they want or need.
If you have any concerns about your child’s development, please contact your child’s doctor or health care provider. These milestones are used as a guideline and help your health care provider determine if your child needs additional help.