Child Development

Toddler sitting on the floor playing with blocks.Child development is a process that every child goes through. It involves the learning and mastering of skills, such as sitting, crawling, walking, running, eating, talking, and dressing. There is a predictable time period when children learn these skills. These skills are called developmental milestones. Development is different than growth.  Growth only refers to the child getting bigger in size.
There are five main areas of child development:

  • Gross motor: This looks at using large groups of muscles to do things such as, sit, stand, walk, run, etc., keeping balance, and changing positions.
  • Fine motor: This is the use of smaller muscles,  using hands and fingers, to be able to eat, draw, dress, play, write, and do many other things.
  • Language: The ability to understand and use language to communicate entails,  speaking, following directions, using body language and gestures , are all part of language development.
  • Cognitive: These are the thinking skills including: learning, understanding, problem-solving, reasoning, and remembering.
  • Social: This is the child’s ability to interact 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 vary quite a bit.  Every child is unique!

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