Developmental milestones are the skills that children learn as they grow or develop. Parents often remember these proud moments when their children say their first words, feed themselves, or take their first steps. Children normally reach these milestones at predictable ages, give or take a few weeks.
Each child is different, even in the same family. Some children learn to sit without support earlier while other children say full sentences earlier. Knowing when these milestones are supposed to happen can help parents notice when they do happen. Parents often notice that their children have reached these milestones when they play with them during the day or read them bedtime stories. We encourage parents to use the tools and checklists on our Resources page to track developmental milestones in their children.
Developmental screening happens when someone, usually the child's primary care provider, checks to see if the child has reached certain milestones.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that every child have a medical home. The medical home is where the child goes for regular care and sees the same doctor, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, or other primary care provider. Since the medical home knows the child, they are good at providing consistent care and watching the child as he or she reaches expected milestones.
The medical home may do the developmental screening by asking the parents questions, having the parents fill out forms, or playing with the child to see if they have reached the milestones.
If You Are Concerned
Sometimes children do not reach milestones in the normal age range. When that happens, parents may worry. Utah Act Early reminds parents use the tools and checklists on our Resources page to record their concerns and then call their medical home (primary care provider) to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. They can assess for developmental delays, refer for more testing, or provide treatment.