March Parenting Tip of the Month
Monitoring Your Child's Development
Watching a child take their first steps, say a new word or write their name for the first time are exciting events for families! Children are learning about their body and the world around them from the moment they are born. One of the best ways for your child to learn is through everyday play experiences. By talking, laughing and offering a variety of play opportunities, you can help promote your child’s learning and development of new skills. The skills children develop in the early years are referred to as developmental milestones.

A developmental milestone is a skill learned within a specific time frame. There is a normal and predictable range in which a child will reach each milestone, and each child will reach these milestones at their own pace. For example, one child may begin to walk as early as 10 months, while another child may not walk until 14 months. Both children have reached the same milestone within the expected age range of 10-16 months. Families are encouraged to observe and monitor their child’s growth and skills over time to ensure they are meeting developmental milestones in playing, learning, speaking, behaving and moving.

There are many ways to track your child’s development. One is by using a checklist from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Click here to track your child’s development from 2 months to 5 years. For even more convenience, download their Milestone Tracker app by clicking here .

Another way to monitor your child’s development is by completing a free online developmental screening using the Ages and Stages Questionnaire. Click here to perform the screening online.
It is important that you visit with your child’s doctor or pediatrician if you have questions or concerns about their development. Due to the federal law, Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), parents can have their child’s development screened at no cost. This law requires states to provide evaluations and services to eligible children with developmental delays or disabilities. If your child is under 3 years of age, you may contact your county’s Infant-Toddler Services or tiny-k program. Click here to find the program serving your area. If your child is over 3 years of age, you will need to contact your local school district for developmental screening information.

It is important to monitor your child’s development because many children with developmental delays or behavior concerns are often not identified as early as possible. If your child’s skills are delayed, an early intervention program will provide you with the services and support needed to help your child reach his or her potential. You will increase your child’s ability for effective treatment and success by seeking information and support early.

Are you in need of help looking for age-specific ideas on playful learning? Check out this list from the American Academy of Pediatricians by clicking here .

Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention website