Your child's development

Children learn so much and grow so quickly in their first five years it can be hard to keep up! Although each child develops at his or her own pace, they all follow the same steps. By learning more about those stages or milestones, you can help your child grow and thrive.


Here are some general tips to remember as you learn more about your child’s development:


  • Children need to feel safe and secure in order to learn. If they are stressed, hungry, or feel unsafe, they are not going to learn. Being with adults they can trust opens them up to a world of learning.
  • Each child develops at his own pace, in his own way. Children do not reach each developmental stage at the same time. They can speed up in one area, and slow down in another. That’s okay!
  • Although each child develops at her own pace, they all follow the same sequence. It may take one child longer than another to meet each milestone, but they will all follow the same path.
  • Children learn by doing. They use their whole bodies and all their senses at once. Their brains are developing while they are moving around, which is why children need to play to learn and grow.
  • Children’s skills build on each other. A child’s learning grows based on the skills they already know, which is why early learning is so important. They can’t skip a step.

Developmental Stages (Milestones) for babies, toddlers and preschoolers.

Although each child develops at his own pace, all children follow the same developmental stages or milestones. Pennsylvania Early Intervention Services’ “Watch Me Grow” Developmental Stages Checklist can help you figure out your child’s developmental stage. 


To use: Add a check if your child can do at least two of the things in each line. If there are unchecked boxes, or you have concerns about your child's development, talk with your child's teacher, doctor and other adults in your child's life, or call the CONNECT helpline at 1-800-692-7288 for help.


Remember, these are children, not computers. No child will not follow the timeline exactly. But it can help you understand what’s happening at each milestone and help your child reach his/her full potential.


If you'd like more individualized tips, try out the Early Learning GPS resource. You answer 10 questions and get immediate feedback tailored to you and your child!


For more information on developmental milestones, what to do if you have concerns about your child’s development, and how you can help your child meet developmental milestones visit  Help Your Child Grow from Pennsylvania’s Promise for Children.


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