Shaken Baby Syndrome

A large number of child deaths are reported in South Africa each year. A lot of deaths relate to neglect, abuse or murder. Despite this, there's a knowledge gap in relation to understanding the issue....

Amniotic fluid problems

The importance of amniotic fluid Amniotic fluid is essential for pregnancy and foetal development. Amniotic fluid is a watery substances residing inside a casing called the amniotic membrane or sac. ...

Choosing a pre-school

Becoming a parent is a momentous; life-changing event filled with hopes, expectations and naturally some fears. Parents often learn and grow alongside their children, as they face the challenges of pa...

Newborn reflexes

Although newborn babies are physically helpless and vulnerable at birth, they have a number of amazing innate abilities or reflexes. Reflexes are involuntary movements or actions, designed to protect ...

Mastitis

Mastitis is an inflammation of the breast that can lead to infection. The word “mastitis” is derived from the Greek word “mastos” meaning “breasts”, while the suffix “-itis” denotes “inflammation”. Ma...

Pelvic floor exercises

Although your new baby will probably bring you immense emotional satisfaction, physically you may feel uncomfortable and strange in your own skin. After 9 months of pregnancy and hormonal changes, you...

Colic

Babies cry because they need to communicate something and most parents, especially new moms, find it distressing to see or hear an unhappy baby. In time, you will learn to recognize the various causes...

Antenatal Classes

Antenatal classes are informative sessions provided to prepare expecting parents for the birth of their child and the early days of being a parent.Most antenatal classes are run by Midwives and occasi...

Strap-in-the-Future

The Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 was launched on the 11 May 2011. It is a global declaration of war against road crashes and fatalities. According to Mr Sibusiso Ndebele, MP Minister of ...

  • Shaken Baby Syndrome

    Tuesday, 21 July 2015 16:28
  • Amniotic fluid problems

    Thursday, 14 May 2015 12:54
  • Choosing a pre-school

    Friday, 10 April 2015 17:50
  • Newborn reflexes

    Tuesday, 03 March 2015 15:49
  • Mastitis

    Tuesday, 03 March 2015 15:41
  • Pelvic floor exercises

    Wednesday, 11 February 2015 17:20
  • Colic

    Wednesday, 11 February 2015 17:11
  • Antenatal Classes

    Monday, 03 June 2013 09:34
  • Strap-in-the-Future

    Thursday, 30 June 2011 13:52

Developmental Milestones

baby_developmental_milestoneA baby develops remarkably quickly during the first year of his life. During the first month he recognises your voice and smell. He may try to lift his head when on his tummy. He may also stick out his tongue in response to you sticking out yours. Each of these skills is learnt at a certain age and is called a developmental milestone.

The four most important areas of development are:
Physical or Motor Development: this is the development and gaining control of the large and small muscle groups. It includes everything from eyesight and hearing, to being able to walk and to being able to hold a pen.
Language or Cognitive Development: a child is able to hear, understand and speak the language or languages around them.
Social Development: a child is able to develop the ability to relate to, and interact with, the world around them.
Intellectual or Emotional Development: this is the development of thoughts and emotions.

As your child grows, they will focus on one task to be learnt and once mastered, move to the next skill. Each child will master each skill at his or her own pace and there is a wide range of what is considered normal. Some developmental milestones will be easier to master than others.

A child's growth and development is assessed during regular visits to a health care professional. At each well baby visit, the Clinic Sister or Doctor looks for developmental delays or problems and talks with the parents about any concerns the parents might have. In addition, developmental screening is done. Developmental screening is a short test to tell if children are learning basic skills when they should, or if they might have delays. If a child has a developmental delay, it is important to get help as soon as possible. When a developmental delay is not detected early on it can impact on their learning as they get older and their ability to excel at school.

For optimal development a child needs to be in an environment where there is plenty of love and security, where there is physical and intellectual stimulation and where their health needs are met through good nutrition and prompt treatment of illness and disease.

Summary of Developmental Milestones from Birth to Three years

Motor Development
Birth to 1 year: The development of control and mastery over one's own body in both gross and fine motor skills is the infant's primary physical task. This starts with neck control, sitting, holding objects, rolling, crawling, and standing, culminating with the ability to walk.
1-2 years: The toddler perfects the gross and fine motor skills that emerged during the first year by developing balance, coordination, stability, and an improved ability to manipulate objects.
2-3 years: The child develops increased strength and uses motor skills to master challenges in the environment, such as bicycles, stairs, balls, jungle-gyms, eating utensils, crayons, and other objects. This is also the time the child develops bladder and bowel control to enable toilet training.

Language and Cognitive Development
Birth to 1 year: Cognition begins with alertness, awareness, recognition, and interest in visual, auditory, and tactile (touch) stimuli. As motor development improves, the infant begins to explore and manipulate objects and develops a rudimentary understanding of their properties. Infants develop object permanence toward the end of the first year.
1-2 years: Development of language and improved communication skills.
2-3 years: Perfection of language skills and the use of language to communicate with others is the main task.

Social Development
Birth to 1 year: The most important social task is the development of attachment to the primary caretaker, most often the infant's mother.
1-2 years: The toddler develops affectionate and trusting relationships with other family members and with adults outside the family. The toddler can also be engaged in simple games and play.
2-3 years: The child develops rudimentary relationships with other children, which are usually characterized by "parallel play," playing in the presence of, rather than in interaction with, other children. Children also begin to imitate social roles at this time. Toilet training represents a significant internalization of social rules and expectations.

Emotional Development
Birth to 1 year: The development of basic trust, a part of the positive attachment between the infant and the primary caretaker, occurs during the first year. This is a cornerstone of emotional development.
1-3 years: The child develops a sense of self and the ability to control his environment. He is able to differentiate between different emotions such as sadness and joy, embarrassment and pride. He is also beginning to understand right from wrong.

It is important to support your child as he progresses down his individual developmental path. You should help to build his strengths and provide support when needed. He will thrive in an environment in which he can safely explore, learn and grow.