ECCM Mental Health Blog

4 Important Early Childhood Milestones

4 Important Early Childhood Milestones

Your child's experiences in the early months are some of the most important they will ever have. They will affect their health, well-being, and coping skills for the rest of their life. That's why it's crucial to pay attention to your early childhood milestones, as they are happening.

A milestone is considered to be anything that most children should be able to do by a certain age. Most experts divide child development into 5 areas: physical, social, emotional, cognitive, and language. At age 3, your child has experienced only some of these areas, but learning about them can help guide you through your child's development and recognize if your child is experiencing developmental delays.

 

 

1. Grasping

 

Early Childhood Milestone Grasping Early Intervention Services ECCM Erie, PA

 

Learning how to grasp objects is one of the most useful things to learn in the early stages of development. It allows your child to play, feed themselves, self-care, draw, and eventually read and write. This typically happens within the first 3 months and progresses further with each month after. Grasping might begin early, but it won't be perfected until 9 to 12 months. This skill is one of the first things your child should do before the age of 3. It will help show you whether or not your child is experiencing any developmental delays. You can help this skill progress faster by putting a colorful object or toy slightly out of reach, forcing them to try and grab it.

 

 

 

 2. Crawling

 

 

Childhood Milestone Crawling Early Intervention Services ECCM Erie, PA

Crawling is one of the first methods that your child will use to get around efficiently. This usually happens between 7 and 10 months. They will figure out how to move forward and backward by using their knees. This allows your baby to strengthen the muscles that they will eventually need to walk. There are also alternatives to crawling, such as shuffling, scooting, slithering on their stomach, or even rolling across the room. It doesn't really matter how they get around; the important part is that they're being mobile. It's important to encourage your baby to crawl, as it is one of the core things your child should do by the age of 3. The best way to do this is by reaching out with your arms to encourage them to come to you. The American Academy of Pediatrics also suggests using pillows and boxes to make an obstacle course for them. This will help them improve the confidence and agility that will lead to them walking.

 

 

3. Walking

 

Childhood Milestone Walking Early Intervention Services ECCM Erie, Pa

Most babies start to take their first steps anywhere between 9 and 12 months and are walking by the time they're 14 or 15 months. You shouldn't worry if your child takes a little longer, some children don't start walking until they are 17 to 19 months old. This all depends on the amount of muscle and coordination progression that happens within the first year. During their first year, they'll learn to sit, roll, and crawl, until they can use their arms to pull themselves up and stand at about 9 months.

 

After they learn to stand, it's all about learning confidence and balance. As a parent, you play a vital role in this developmental process. You can encourage your baby to walk by standing or kneeling in front of them and holding out your hands. You could also use toys that allow your baby to lean on them and walk around the room. It's important to know the things your child should do by the age of 3, like walking, to ensure that they aren't experiencing any developmental delays.

 

 

4. Talking

 

Early Childhood Milestones Talking Early Intervention Services ECCM Erie, Pa

Although your baby will be learning language skills long before they utter their first word, children typically develop the skill to talk between 18 months and 2 years. Children begin to use their lips, tongue and emerging teeth to make any sounds they possibly can until those sounds become words, and those words become sentences. The most basic words such as "mama" or "dada" can slip out as early as 6 months. From then on, they will begin to learn small sentences, ranging from two to four words.

 

As your child starts to developmental and emotional skills, you will start to see an increase of words they are able to use to describe what they see, hear, feel, think, and most importantly want. If you see that your child isn't progressing this skill, or isn't making eye contact with you, it might mean that your child is experiencing a developmental delay or a learning disorder such as ODD or ADHD. Eye contact is a very important non-verbal communication language at any age, and consistent avoidance of eye contact could be a reason for concern.  If this is the case you should consult a pediatrician or set up a screening with one of our Service Coordinators since this is one of the most important things your child should be doing before the age of 3.

 

 

In Conclusion

 

If you believe your child might be experiencing some developmental delays, then reach out to the ECCM team and we can set up an early intervention screening. During this screening, you will be able to find out if your concerns are truly developmental delays or not. There's no need to worry if you find out that your child is in need of early intervention services. Our Service Coordinator will help you from beginning to end.

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