The most frightening thing that a parent can hear from a pediatrician is, “Your child is not meeting their developmental milestones.”
At It Takes A Village Baby Consultants, we are far too familiar with the effect it can have on you as a parent.
Relax! This news doesn’t have to be so scary.
Often your pediatrician will recommend a series of steps to take in order to discover the root of the issue and find the best possible solution for helping your child. From there, it is important that you remain calm and let the process take its course. The answer to your child’s delay in development is a usually simple one: be patient!
Developmental Milestones For Two-Year-Olds
By the end of the 24th month your baby should be able to:
- Match sounds to pictures of animals
- Point to pictures in a book (e.g. indicating where a picture of a dog is when you ask, “Where is the dog?”)
- Say at least 20 single words (at this point, your child may be attempting to string words together, such as “more juice” or “bye bye Daddy.” Don’t fret if they aren’t!)
- Imitate two word phrases
- Attempt to sing songs with some words
- Kick a ball forward
- Run fairly well
- Squat in play
- Imitate strokes on paper (i.e. lines, dots, circular scribbles)
- Show a variety of emotions
- Engage in pretend play with similar but not real props, (feeds a baby doll with a bottle).
- Chew food with a rotary chew similar to an adult
Things to look out for:
- Your baby is not saying 15-20 single words or beginning to put two words together to get his/her needs met (not just labeling objects in environment)
- Your baby is not pointing to an object or picture when you name it, such as “Where is your cup?”
- Your baby is not pointing to body parts when asked questions like, “Where is your nose?”
- Your baby is not becoming more interested in other children
- Your baby is not following a novel direction (e.g. instructing your child to “put the block on your head.” The question should be something you do not ask them on a regular basis, and should be done without modeling or gesturing.)
Your Child Is Not Like The Rest
The most important thing to remember is every child is different!
Skills come in a variety of ranges. Different children develop at different rates, and this is completely normal.
It does not mean that your child has “fallen behind” if they are only saying 15-20 words at two years old, while their best friend next door is forming complete sentences. The last thing you want to do is to stress yourself (and your little one!) out by comparing your child to his or her friends.
When children under the age of 3 are working on one area of development, they may slow down in another. It is a completely normal process.
Consider this: perhaps your child has only mastered the use of a handful of words. However, his motor skills far surpass that of the little boy next door. Right now, his developing brain is focusing on honing in on those motor skills. Language skills will just have to wait for now!
For all but a few children, these skills all eventually emerge without additional support. Continue to monitor your child’s development, and encourage them regardless of what phase they find themselves in.
When Should I Schedule The Initial Evaluation?
If you are concerned about your child’s ability to meet these milestones, consult your pediatrician. There is no harm in playing it safe, and if you are truly worried, your best bet is to talk to an expert.
The first thing that most pediatricians will recommend is an evaluation by your local county’s early intervention team.
(Remember, it is natural for your pediatrician to want to play it safe and recommend an initial evaluation for your child. Many times, children who complete an evaluation do not qualify for early intervention therapist solutions.)
The team will meet with you and your child and “play” with them, while assessing their skills.
By engaging your child in fun activities on par with their appropriate age & level of development, they can see how your child interacts, completes tasks, and processes the various activities.
If You Are Referred To An Early Intervention Specialist
During the initial evaluation, the early intervention team will determine if your child qualifies for an appointment with an early intervention therapist.
A specialist will come to your home and offer personalized training on how to help your child through their daily routines.
Developmental Milestones For All Ages
It Takes A Village Baby Consultants has compiled a rough outline of accepted developmental milestones during your little one’s first three years. Click on your child’s age group for more information:
Please do not let your questions go unanswered. As mentioned before, it is always better to be safe than sorry.
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