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Developmental growth
Developmental growth


Definition:



Alternative Names:

Growth milestones for children; Normal childhood growth milestones; Childhood growth milestones



Information:

Child development is complex. Any "checklist" or calendar of developmental milestones will blur or miss important aspects, and may trouble parents whose child is developing normally or falsely reassure parents whose child should be evaluated for potential problems.

For every developmental milestone, there is a normal range in which a child may reach that milestone. For example, walking may begin as early as 8 months or as late as 18 months and be considered normal. If you have concern about your child's development, call the child's primary care provider.

One of the reasons for frequent well-child visits to the pediatrician in the early years is to assess your child's development. Any concerns on the part of the doctors, parents, teachers, or childcare providers are important to discuss and address, and may trigger a more detailed developmental assessment.

Below is a general list of some of the things you might see children doing at different ages, but these are NOT precise guidelines. There are many different normal paces and patterns of development. This article provides just one example.

Infant -- birth to 1 year

  • Able to drink from a cup
  • Able to sit alone, without support
  • Babbling
  • Displays social smile
  • Eruption of 1st tooth
  • Plays peek-a-boo
  • Pulls self to standing position
  • Rolls over by self
  • Says mama and dada, using terms appropriately
  • Understands "NO" and will stop activity in response
  • Walks while holding on to furniture or other support
  • Walks without support

Toddler -- 1 to 3 years

  • Able to feed self neatly, with minimal spilling
  • Able to draw a line (when shown one)
  • Able to run, pivot, and walk backwards
  • Able to state first and last name
  • Able to walk up and down stairs
  • Begins pedaling tricycle
  • Can name pictures of common objects and point to body parts
  • Dresses self with only minimal help
  • Imitates speech of others, "echoing" word back
  • Learns to share toys (without adult direction)Masters walking
  • Learns to take turns (if directed) while playing with other children
  • Recognizes and labels colors appropriately
  • Recognizes gender differences
  • Uses more words and understands simple commands
  • Uses spoon to feed self

Preschooler -- 3 to 6 years

  • Able to draw a circle
  • Able to draw stick figures with 2 to 3 features for people
  • Able to skip
  • Balances better, may begin to ride a bicycle
  • Begins to recognize written words -- reading skills start
  • Catches a bounced ball
  • Enjoys doing most things independently, without help
  • Enjoys rhymes and word play
  • Hops on one foot
  • Rides tricycle well
  • Understands size concepts
  • Understands time concepts
  • Starts school

School-age child -- 6 to 12 years

  • Beginning skills for team sports (soccer, T-ball, etc.)
  • Begins to lose "baby" teeth and erupt permanent teeth
  • Girls begin to show growth of armpit and pubic hair, breast development
  • Menarche (1st menstrual period) may occur in girls
  • Peer recognition begins to become important
  • Reading skills develop further
  • Routines important for daytime activities
  • Understands and able to follow sequential directions

Adolescent -- 12 to 18 years

  • Adult height, weight, sexual maturity
  • Boys show growth of armpit, chest, and pubic hair; voice changes; and testicular/penile enlargement
  • Girls show growth of armpit and pubic hair; breast development; menstrual periods
  • Peer acceptance and recognition is of vital importance
  • Understands abstract concepts


References: Glascoe FP. Developmental screening and surveillance. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th Ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 15.


Review Date: 2/27/2009
Reviewed By: Jennifer K. Mannheim, CPNP, private practice, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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