The First Five Years
Knowing what to expect in terms of development for your child can sometimes be challenging to keep up with. There is a lot of information out there, and not all children will reach the developmental milestones ahead of them. But that doesn’t mean we can’t support them to get them there.
In the first five years, children are developing rapidly and their brains are developing faster than at any other time in their life. A child’s experiences in their early life, the relationships they have and the things they get to do stimulates their brain to create millions of connections to help them to learn and develop.
Being aware of developmental milestones are important to help us identify where the child is at and what further supports they might need, but also remembering that all children are different and they develop their skills at different times. If you are concerned, getting in touch with an Allied Health Professional or a Paediatrician, GP or Maternal Child Health Nurse is the best place to start.
Below are some developmental milestones to be aware of as they can help to identify when you need to seek further advice:
Ages 0-4 months
When your child’s movements are stiff or floppy
When your child is not responding to different sounds or not showing interest when played with
When your child is not feeding as expected
When your child is not responding to familiar faces or starting to make sounds
Ages 4-8 months
When your child is not making sounds or responding to familiar faces
When your child is not rolling - i.e. when playing on the floor
When your child is not engaging or responding to games such as peek-a-boo
Ages 8-12 months
When your child is not babbling or making different sounds and noises
When your child is not beginning to sit, crawl or pull to stand
When your child is not interested in holding toys
When your child is not learning to eat solids
Ages 1-2 years
When your child is not using words or actions to communicate - for example pointing to things, waving or lifting arms up to be picked up
When your child is not moving around (i.e. crawling, walking) or is not wanting to move around
When your child is not responding to others or wanting attention from familiar people
Ages 2-3 years
When your child is not interested in playing with other people or playing with toys, this might include finding it hard to use smaller objects
When your child is unable to understand simple instructions that are provided
When your child is not interested in food
Ages 3-5 years
When your child’s speech is not able to be understood by others and if they are not having conversations with others
When your child is not able to go to the toilet
When your child is not playing well with others - this might include frequently pushing other kids or even biting them
The most important thing to remember, is that if you are concerned about your child’s development, accessing supports is important. Early intervention is key, and Occupational Therapists can support you and your child to reach milestones, learn new skills or adapt tasks to make them easier to engage in, in order to support engagement in everyday life.