With each visit to the doctor, you and your child’s pedia work together to monitor your little one’s developmental milestones. During the sixth month visit, for example, the doctor will ask you if your child responds when his name is called. Lagging behind or missing milestones can be a sign of a problem. And when it comes to treatment and intervention, the earlier a problem is detected the better.
To help you know what to look for, we found these useful printable milestone checklists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the U.S. They include signs on what to look for when it comes to social and emotional, language and communication, and cognitive development. Plus, it includes warning signs and red flags to watch out for so you know when an urgent talk with your doctor is needed.
They have 10 checklists in total, one for each crucial stage of your child’s early development from 2 months old to 5 years old. They’re free tools included in the CDC’s “Learn the Signs. Act Early” program, which also has photos, videos and books you can consult to aid you in tracking your child’s development. Find out more about it here.
Here’s the checklist for 18 months:
It’s during this age that the American Academy of Pediatrics (APA) recommends screenings for autism. If your child does not get a check mark on items like “points to get the attention of others” and “shows interest in a doll or stuffed animal by pretending to feed,” you may want to call your pediatrician's attention to it. A child with autism might start to lose skills he’s already learned before as well.
A child this age can also walk on his own which should be an exciting moment for any parent. He'll also start to show more independence by being able to drink from a cup or eat with a spoon on his own as his motor skills develop. “He is also able to squat and remove his shoes and pants on his own,” Dr. Leoncia Que-Firmalo, a pediatric neurologist at Dr. Fe del Mundo Medical Center told SmartParenting.com.ph in an article.
By the time your child reaches 2 years old, she should be able to say a handful of words together to form a sentence. Speech and language development is different for every baby, however, so don't be quick to panic if you spot a delay. “Some children may just not be at ease with words,” Liza Bulos, speech therapist at the Hope Developmental Center for Children in Las Piñas toldSmart Parenting. “Sometimes it’s just a normal delay that can easily be corrected. Many times labeling a normal delay as autism or hyperactivity or mental retardation is more damaging.”
You may also discover some very cute skills that your child has learned at this age. Your child may start copying the “grown-up” things you do by wearing your shoes or by pretending to go to work and carry your bag to the door. You may also start to hear your child trying to hum or sing a few notes.
By age 3, your child can be noticeably more sociable. He’ll be able to play with a friend, share toys, and take turns. You’ll notice him expressing a wider range of emotions too and he might not mind being separated from you anymore. He can be considerably more “makulit” now as he’s mastered how to run and climb. You’ll be doing a lot of running around as well, chasing after your little one.
If you notice your child's motor skills are regressing, however, consult a doctor. “If a child learns to climb and then four months later loses that ability, that's not normal. And it warrants a full medical examination,” Dr. Andrew Adesman, chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Schneider Children's Hospital in New York told Baby Center. True motor regression could be a sign of a neurological disorder like epilepsy or encephalitis.
You know your child best. If something seems wrong, don't hesitate to talk to your child's doctor. To see all of CDC's milestone checklists, click here.