As a new parent, you’ll naturally keep a close eye on your child’s development. Seeing where they are compared to other children their age can help reassure you that they’re doing just fine.
Although every child is different and there can be variations regarding how quickly they develop, paying attention to your child’s development can help you spot and react quickly to any issues that come up.
There are certain milestones every child goes through. Your child’s doctor will evaluate these or ask about them during your child’s check-up to make sure everything is on track.
Don’t panic if they are a little behind in some areas — and try to resist the urge to brag to other parents if your child reaches those milestones early. That’s not an indication that your child is going to be a prodigy, and you don’t want to make other parents feel bad or worry.
Here are some of the milestones you’ll want to keep an eye on in the first year — and celebrate when they happen. We’ll include the approximate age when these milestones may occur, but remember, that’s only a guideline.
- Two months: Can lift the head up some.
- Two months: Starts to smile at people.
- Four months: Their first tooth may appear.
- Four months: Begins laughing.
- Six months: Can roll from stomach to back.
- Eight months:Can sit up without help.
- Eleven months: Might start saying mama and dada.
- One year: May be able to take their first steps.
Things You Can Do To Help Your Child’s Development
Seemingly ordinary stuff can have a lot of benefits when it comes to your child’s development.
- Playing: Babies learn through playing by themselves and with others. A game of peek-a-boo can give your baby social interaction and teaches them about object permanence.
- Reading: When you read to your baby, you’re greatly enriching their mind as well as entertaining them. Reading to infants can help expand their vocabulary and can even help them hone their math skills. Plus, it sends them a message that reading is fun, and that can benefit them throughout their life.
- Music: Babies are drawn to music, whether it’s a song on one of their toys or a lullaby you’re singing to them. Music can teach them a lot, so make sure to sing frequently to your child. You can also get them instruments for them to play.
- Education: Talking about things like colors, letting your baby explore different shapes, and counting numbers with them will all enhance their educational development. Show your baby themselves in the mirror, and talk to them frequently to boost their language development.
- Exercise: Getting exercise can strengthen your baby’s body and mind. Tummy time is one important exercise you shouldn’t let your baby skip — even if they don’t like it at first. It’s a key activity for building muscles in your child’s back, shoulders, arms, and neck.
- Affection: Simply doing what comes naturally — showing your baby some affection — will help them develop emotionally, mentally, and physically. Frequent hugs can influence their weight gain, growth, sleep, heart rates, feelings of security, and more.