Developmental Milestones

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Developmental milestones of each child are unique and develops at her/his own pace. Many parents worry a lot about their child and the time when the child should be achieving these milestones. Parents can educate themselves about the milestones and the opportunities for treatment and intervention in case of any disorder. Whether a child has a developmental delay or disorder, early identification and intervention are essential for achieving the best possible outcome.

The most common disorders are mental retardation, cerebral palsy, followed by autism spectrum disorders.

We have tried to cover various developmental milestones for children from birth till the age of 3 years in this article. However, there’s a wide range of what’s considered normal, the parents probably don’t need to be concerned unless they notice one of the red flags described in this article. If you have any concerns, you could get your child screened at a ReLiva Physiotherapy clinic in Mumbai, Pune, Thane and Navi Mumbai (Vashi, Nerul and Kharghar)

1 Month Infant: Developmental Milestones

Your initial responsibilities could be feeding, changing diapers, settling her to sleep and responding to her wails. But within a few weeks she’ll start to take more notice of your voice, face and touch.

  • VISION: Your baby can’t focus farther than 8-12 inches away- just the right distance for her to gaze at your face. Black and white patterns also draw her attention.
  • HEARING: Hearing is fully developed and baby turns towards familiar sounds, such as your voice.
  • HEAD & NECK MOVEMENTS: baby can lift her head briefly and turn it to the side when she’s on her stomach, but when she’s upright her head and neck still need support.
  • ARM MOVEMENTS: arms move jerkily but she can get her hands close to her mouth.


  • Feeds slowly or doesn’t suck well
  • Doesn’t seem to focus her eyes or watch things moving nearby
  • Seems especially stiff or floppy.
  • Doesn’t respond to loud sounds.

3 Months Infant: Developmental Milestones

By now you are basking in the warmth of your baby’s delighted Smiles! You will be amused to see your baby imitating your expressions and mimic the sounds you make. You no longer need to support his head. When he is on his stomach, he can lift his head and chest, and even do mini-pushups that set the stage for rolling over. He can open and close his hands, shake toys, bring his hands to his mouth, and push down with his legs if you hold him in standing position.

You will notice his hand eye co-ordination improving and closely tracking objects and focusing intently on faces. The baby will be able to recognize you from across the room!


  • Can’t support his head well
  • Cant grasp objects
  • Cant focus on moving objects
  • Doesn’t smile
  • Doesn’t react to loud sounds
  • Ignores new faces
  • Seems upset by unfamiliar people or surroundings

4 to 7 Months: Developmental milestones

Your baby is fully engaged with the world now: She smiles, laughs, and has babbling “conversations” with you. And she’s on the move-by 7 months she can probably roll to her tummy and back again, sit without your help, and support her weight with her legs well enough to bounce when you hold her. She uses a raking grasp to pull objects closer and can hold toys and move them from one hand to another.

Your baby is more sensitive to your tone of voice and may heed your warning when you tell her “no”. The baby also knows his/her name now and turns to look at you when you call.


  • Seems very stiff or floppy
  • Can’t hold her head steady
  • Can’t sit on her own
  • Doesn’t respond to noises or smiles
  • Isn’t affectionate with those closest to the baby
  • Doesn’t reach for objects.


development stages of baby

8 – 12 Months: Developmental milestones

Your baby has become an eager explorer and it might surprise you how quickly he can get around when he crawls. He can sit on his own now and grabs anything he can to pull himself up to standing and “cruise”. He might even take some solo steps before his first birthday.

You will hear his first words-often “mama” or “dada”. Soon he will talk in simple phrases but in the meantime uses gestures to indicate what he wants-or doesn’t want!

He can use his thumb and finger in a pincer grasp to eat finger food. Your baby loves to be just like you by combing his own hair, drinking from a cup, and pretending to talk on the phone.

Separation anxiety is normal at this age-baby may have fear of you leaving him.


  • Doesn’t crawl
  • Seems to drag one side while he is crawling for a month or more
  • Cant stand with support
  • Doesn’t try to find objects you have hidden in front of him
  • Doesn’t say any words
  • Doesn’t use gestures such as shaking his head “no” and pointing

13 – 24 Months (toddler): Developmental milestones

Your toddler will grow confident on his feet. Now he/she can go up and down stairs, stand on his tiptoes, kick a ball, and maybe even run by the time he turns 2 and climb up/down sofas and chairs.

By 18months, he can say at least several single words, and by 24 months he uses words in short phrases and sentences.

He/she can follow two-step directions, such as “Pick up your book and bring it to me”.

Your toddler can identify shapes and coloursand scribbles with crayon, builds towers of four or more blocks, throws a ball and enjoys filling and emptying containers. You will also notice first signs that will indicate whether he is left- or right handed.

He might also start to show interest in learning new things and imitate you like feeding a doll or pretending to drive a car.

Separation anxiety peaks midyear and by 24 months he will be more comfortable playing along other children.


  • Can’t walk by 18 months
  • Doesn’t understand the use of everyday objects
  • Doesn’t speak at least six words by 18 months or two-word sentences by 24 months
  • Doesn’t imitate words and actions
  • Doesn’t follow simple instructions
  • Loses skills he previously had


Skill development of toddlers

25 to 36 Months (2 to 3 years): Developmental Milestones

Your preschooler’s imagination is taking off: Playing make-believe is a hallmark of this age, along with fears about imaginary monsters and more ordinary things such as the dark.

Speech becomes clear enough that strangers can usually understand.

Child can walk up and down stairs, jump,and pedal a tricycle.Child’s manual dexterity is improving too.


  • Struggles with separation anxiety
  • Doesn’t interact with people outside family
  • Avoids eye contact
  • Can’t throw or catch a ball or jump
  • Can’t climb stairs with alternating feet
  • Has trouble scribbling
  • Doesn’t use more than 3 words in a sentence
  • Strangers feel it difficult to understand what the child says
  • Doesn’t play make-believe
  • Loses any skills that the child previously had

Role of Physiotherapy:

All the above red flags can be well diagnosed and managed by the well equipped and skilled therapists at ReLiva Physiotherapy and Rehab. Under the guidance and supervision of a Physiotherapist, the child can be trained and treated to achieve the lacking milestones. Developmental delay is not only dealt well but also treated with the techniques and methods that help in the child slowly and gradually mastering the actions that he was once unable to do.

At ReLiva Physiotherapy and Rehab, your child would be:

  • Assessed and evaluated for his/her current condition
  • Understanding of the current milestones present and the milestones that are delayed and lacking.
  • Set short term and long term goals based on the child’s condition.
  • Start activities, practice skills and teach the child actions to reach the desired goals.
  • Set a Home Exercise Program for the child, teach and guide the parents in administering the same on the patient.
  • Review the plan of action regularly based on the goals achieved.
  • Make the child as functionally independent as possible.


development disorder       skill learning milestone delay


Related Reading:

Bell’s Palsy: Treatment


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