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Growth and Development Milestones


What are growth and development milestones?

Growth and development milestones help you see how your child is doing compared with other children the same age. The milestones tell you what you should expect from your child in five areas. They are:

  • Physical growth.
  • Thinking and reasoning (cognitive development).
  • Emotional and social development.
  • Language development.
  • Sensory and motor development.

Children usually move in a natural and predictable way from one milestone to the next. But each child grows and gains skills at their own pace. Some children may be advanced in one area, such as language. But they may be behind in another area, such as sensory and motor development.

If your child is meeting the milestones, their development is on track. If your child keeps missing milestones or reaches a milestone but then loses that new ability, they may need extra help from your doctor or a specialist.

When should you call your doctor?

Call your doctor if you are concerned that your child or teen isn't growing adequately or isn't reaching major milestones in any area.

It's also a good idea to call your doctor if your child or teen:

  • Shows delays in several developmental areas.
  • Reaches a milestone but then loses the new ability.

Sometimes there's a reason that a child isn't meeting a milestone. Things like having a health problem, trouble hearing, or an emotional life change may cause a mild and temporary delay. For example, a young child may have a language delay because of trouble hearing or because of a developmental disorder such as autism.

Although children grow at their own pace, be aware of signs of a developmental delay. The sooner you notice a delay, the better chance your child has to get the right treatment. Treatment can help your child's future development.

Learn more


Current as of: October 24, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review Board
All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.

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