Why Are Childhood Milestones Important?

Your baby’s first step, chuckle, and word are events you’ll always cherish. The amazing transformations that accompany each phase of your child’s growth are thrilling to experience for both you and your child.   

Consider the fact that an infant enters the world typically weighing less than 10 pounds and completely dependent on you. Within a few years, your child grows into a running, jumping toddler with a distinct personality and fully formed sense of humor. And remember, this happens in just three short years!

Since your child’s growth is multi-faceted and quite rapid, it’s important that you and your  pediatrician follow and evaluate their development to watch for a physical or intellectual developmental delay. If one emerges, then you can address it immediately. 

Dr. Rainilda Valencia and her sensitive, highly skilled practice care team at Valencia Pediatrics are versed in evaluating your child’s intellectual growth, physical advancement, and emotional development, no matter their age or stage. 

What are developmental milestones?

Child development can be broken up into four broad areas:

Put more simply, milestones reflect how a child is growing and interacting with the world. 

A child moves with more ease and speed over time as they develop fine and gross motor skills. Fine motor skills allow them to do things that require precision, like drawing and feeding themselves, while walking, running, and jumping are examples of gross motor skills. 

Social and emotional developmental stages are defined by behaviors that are common in children of the same age, like when they experience separation anxiety if a parent leaves the room or drops them at preschool, or when they hug a peer or cuddle a pet. 

Your child’s cognitive growth involves learning new skills and working on problem-solving skills. They’re growing cognitively when they work a puzzle, for example, or list the names of the colors in a picture.

Finally, watching how your child acquires language skills is exciting, from enthusiastic babbling to that long-awaited first “Mama” or “Dada.”

How do pediatricians measure milestones?

Dr. Valencia and her team employ an array of sophisticated screening tools to assess your child’s development. They screen children at regular intervals, including annual well-child visits. 

Pediatrician-led developmental screenings offer unique advantages for parents:

That said, it’s important to realize there’s great variation in what’s considered healthy development. For example, an acceptable time for a baby to take their first step is anywhere from 9-17 months; that large window of time allows for the myriad timetables “normal” babies follow to reach these landmarks. 

What can I do to help my child reach milestones in a timely way?

The best things you can do to encourage your child’s growth and development are what may bring you joy as a parent already. Interacting in all ways is so healthy: Talking, reading, and singing to your baby, playing with them, and lots of cuddling, kissing, and holding will tremendously enhance your baby’s development.

What if my child is diagnosed with a developmental delay?

If Dr. Valencia finds that your child is behind or struggling with acquiring a certain skill, she’ll connect you to interventional services that will help your child advance in a way that’s appropriate for them. The earlier a parent can access services, the better.

Your child’s journey is their own

At Valencia Pediatrics, we take pride in creating individualized portraits of development for each of our patients and honoring the fact that each and every child has their own timetable for growth and development. It’s what we love about our work and serving the families in our care. 

We also recognize that you are the person with special expertise on your baby. Call us to make an appointment, so we can partner with you on the thrilling growth of your child. 

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