Baby’s Developmental Milestones

A few things to look for in your baby’s development, from 9 to 24 months of age.

The first thing that needs to be said is that milestones are guidelines. They’re not precise measurements, so if your nine month old is not doing everything on the list, it’s not time to panic! Parents tend to get a little competitive and sometimes overly concerned about these markers in their child’s development, but there is no need.

If you’re wondering: “So why have them at all, if they just cause parents to overreact?” Simply, they allow health practitioners, caregivers and parents to evaluate the development of a child on a scale of what is considered normal or average for a certain age group. If your child is doing most of the things on the nine month list, around the age of nine months old, they are probably progressing just fine. If they can only do one thing on the list and there is no sign of them doing the others, it might be worth checking in with your family doctor to make sure that there are no underlying causes for some of these missed milestones.

If you, as a parent or caregiver, is concerned about your child’s development, it is always best to speak to your doctor. The key is always awareness and early education: if a child is delayed, we want to be able to address those issues sooner rather than later.

Again, missing some items on a milestone is no reason to panic: it’s just another tool in your kit so that you can make sure that your child is developing normally. These guidelines are not exhaustive and there are physical milestones that you should also consider, but this list will give you a good start!

Some of the things your 9 month old may do:

  • Babble sounds like mama, baba
  • Cling to parents
  • Respond to simple commands
  • Respond to their own name
  • Understand the meaning of “no”
  • Imitate speech sounds
  • Play interactive games, such as peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake
  • Wave bye

Things to do to aid in your child’s development at this stage:

  • Sing songs together and model actions for them
  • Play social games such as peek-a-boo
  • Produce sounds associated with actions. Example, saying“choo choo” while playing with a train helps children to make associations.

Some of the things your 18 month old may do:

  • Look and listen to picture books
  • Speak 10-25 words
  • Point to self and at least 3 body parts
  • Understand and is able to point to and identify common objects
  • Often imitates others

Things to do to aid in your child’s development at this stage:

  • Pause during song singing and let your child fill in the missing word such as “Twinkle twinkle little…”
  • Say a fun phrase and pause letting your child fill in a word such as “ready, set….”
  • Play imitation games and encourage your child to copy your actions
  • Model single words when giving your child a snack or toy

Some of the things your 24 Month old may do:

  • Speak 50 or more words
  • Speak 2 to 3 word phrases
  • Follow 2-step instructions

Things to do to aid in your child’s development at this stage:

  • Model single words when giving your child a snack or toy
  • Give simple instructions and help your child follow them
  • Read books to your child and have them point things out: “Where’s the dog?”
  • Build with blocks and show your child how to stack them

All children develop at their own rate. Within the same family, with the the same upbringing, children will develop differently. That’s perfectly normal and, frankly, as it should be since they are individuals. Even identical twins can have different rates of development, so comparing children to one another is not helpful, nor is being disappointed when they don’t achieve something ‘on schedule’ or, worse, ‘ahead of schedule’. Putting undue pressure on yourself and your child is of no help to either of you.

What matters most is that your child is progressing and learning, achieving the stages of development at some point (versus never achieving them at all). With all of this in mind, it is most important not to forget to enjoy the moments you have with your child. While it might sometimes seem tedious to be saying ‘choo choo’ every time you read their favourite train book with them, the day won’t be far in the future when they won’t want to interact at that level. Don’t miss the train!