Encourage Your Child To Master These 4 Vital Baby Developmental Milestones

baby developmental milestones

Baby developmental milestones typically come in the areas of large motor skills, small motor skills, speech and socialization. Babies go from being rather inert, bundled beings to being walking, talking and interactive young toddlers—all in the span of just about a year. 

There are also windows of development—periods of time in which the skill needs to be learned. In that period the skills are learned very quickly. And beyond that time, the skill is much more difficult to learn. 

It is therefore important to pay attention to baby’s developmental milestones and to encourage them at the appropriate times. Of course, it is also important to know when those optimal periods… windows… are.

One of the developmental problems I see again and again is babies with above average abilities in one area like speech or fine motor skills, but seriously lacking in another development area… like gross motor skills (things like walking, sitting). Your baby only functions optimally if the skills in all the development areas are equally well developed.

Let’s look at a few simple, yet powerful things you can do to encourage your child to master these vital baby developmental milestones.

Large motor skills

It has been scientifically confirmed that proper physical development increases your child’s overall potential and performance. Things you can do to enhance baby’s developmental milestones in the area of large motor skills involve taking them out of the blankets and putting him or her down on the floor. 

Put them on their stomach first because baby’s flip from a prone to a supine position before doing the reverse.  Give them toys to reach for and give them the opportunity to scoot around and reach for them.  Then teach them to roll from their back to their stomach before going on to scooting and crawling. 

They need “floor time” to be able to do these things and, while it is nice to keep them in a child swing or in a high chair, these things do not help them learn the large motor skills they need to learn in the first year.  For more about developing large motor skills, see How to Get your Baby Physically Superb

Small motor skills

In the area of small motor skills, parents need to have a lot of dangling things on the car seat or in a special baby gym to help the child learn to reach, grab and manipulate toys.  Your child needs to practice this manipulation in order to become more proficient in grasping smaller and smaller objects, including eventually learning how to use a crayon or other small objects. 

They begin with little dexterity but with practice, the dexterity begins to increase and they can begin to handle smaller and smaller objects.

Remember that children learn things by putting them in their mouths so that you need to make sure the objects you give them does NOT fit into a toilet paper role. It must be bigger that the hole. 

This is the size of object that a child can choke on so be wary when teaching a child small motor skills.

Social development

Social development might be easy if you have other children.  If not, expose your child to babies of his or her age so that they can learn how to share, how to talk to other babies and how to play with other babies. 

This carries forward to their school years and you cannot wait until they’re in school to start developing those behaviors. For tips and tricks to develop your baby's social skills, click here.

Speech development.

Learning speech development depends a lot on talking to your child.

Talk to them about what you’re doing, what the baby is doing and what is going on around you.  Praise your child for attempts at getting words right and help them do it slightly better. 

You can use books and tapes to teach your child speech, and music is especially helpful in teaching children speaking skills. 

Words will be simple at first, such as “dada” and “mama” but will become more creative and complex the more the child hears words and repeats them.  Children are wonderful mimics and will mimic your speech as soon as their brains are wired to do so.   

Take home ideas

  1. Your child performs best when she equally well mastered all the baby developmental milestones.

  2. Focus your stimulation activities in all four baby developmental milestone areas.

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