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How do I keep track of my baby’s development?

Answered on 11th January 2016
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Keeping an eye on your little one’s development against certain milestones can provide a useful guide to the progress they are making. There may also be a number of appointments with health professionals during this time to help you ensure that your child is developing well. There are a number of things that you can do to help your child’s development throughout the different stages of their early years.


Development Milestones

1-4 weeks

Your little one will enjoy looking at new faces and will begin to recognise you as parents. Talking to your baby will help them become used to your voice. They will also begin to be startled by loud noises, which is a healthy part of their development. During the first month, a health professional (usually a health visitor) will carry out a review of your little one’s health and development. They will be weighed and your health visitor can also provide advice on feeding your baby, becoming a new parent, and giving your little one the best possible start.

4-6 weeks

Some babies will begin to smile and respond to sounds during this time.

4-12 weeks

When laying on their front, your little one will try to lift their head. They will also soon start to wriggle, kick and roll over. During this time your little one will also start their vaccination programme that will protect them against a number of infectious diseases. They will also have a full health check with your family doctor or a health visitor which is often referred to as an ‘8 week check’.

3-5 months

As your little one’s muscles begin to develop they will start reaching for things with their hands.

4-6 months

Your child will begin to lift things up and suck them. They will often explore the taste and texture of things by putting them in their mouth. They will also enjoy making noises during this time, so toys such as rattles are very good for development. At around 5 months, children also begin to hold objects but they cannot let go of them.

6-9 months

Children begin to pass toys from one hand to another and improve their coordination.

A number of significant developmental milestones occur during this period. Children will often get their first teeth, begin to eat solid foods such as mashed fruit and vegetables, and sit up without being supported. They may also start to crawl, or pull themselves up to stand.

8-12 months

Your little one will start pointing to objects, especially things that they want! They will also begin to recognise shapes, and understand simple commands such as ‘Yes’ and ‘No’. Between 10-12 months, your child may also begin to recognise their own name and be able to feed themselves.

12-16 months

Your little one will often say their first word during this period of time, and continue to talk from here onwards! They will also begin to take their first steps. They will also have a full health review that will cover language and learning, diet and behaviour. A number of other vaccinations are also due between 12-13 months. During this time, your child may also want to feed themselves (very messily) with a spoon and they will begin to say up to 20 recognisable words. Talking to children on a regular basis will help develop their language skills further. They will be learning from everything around them and everything you do, so try and involve your little one in things around the house.

18-24 months

Your little one will learn how to kick or throw a ball, as well as putting words together and forming short sentences. Encouraging your little one and praising them as they develop new skills is good for their development, and they will often respond by laughing and getting excited. Half an hour of structured activity and at least an hour of unstructured physical activity every day will be very positive for your child’s development. Some children will also be ready for potty training from 18 months onwards.

24-30 months

Your little one will have their final health and development review.

24-28 months

Your little one will start to recognise when they have a wet or dirty nappy and they may tell you when they need to go to the toilet.

36-60 months

Children will begin to use a knife and fork during this time, and also draw people’s faces. They may also enjoy expressing themselves through other means such as dressing up and drawing


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