For growing children, reaching developmental milestones that are appropriate to their age is critical. While every child develops at their own rate, staying on track with general developmental milestones is important to make sure they do not fall behind or miss crucial marking points in their growth.
As parents, it is vital to know what is considered normal and expected at your child’s age. With these general timeframes in mind, you can address issues right away. Early intervention offers great outcomes for children struggling to meet developmental milestones.
If your child is not meeting developmental milestones, don’t panic! Developmental milestones occupational therapy can help. Below, we’ll explore guidelines for developmental milestones and what to do if you’re worried your child is falling behind.
Fine Motor Skills: What Should My Child Be Up to In Fine Motor Skills?
Fine motor skills involve the use of small muscles in the hands and wrists. We use our fine motor skills for a variety of different tasks in everyday life, including at school or work. Some examples of fine motor skills include holding a pencil or scissors, buttoning clothing, tying shoelaces, and more. As your child ages, they should be advancing in their fine motor skills at different ages.
Consider the following fine motor skills developmental milestone examples as a guideline:
By age 2: Child can build a tower of a few small blocks, scribbles, turns knobs, brings spoons to mouth, turns a few pages of a book at a time
By age 3: Stringing four large beads, snips with scissors, eats without assistance
By age 4: Rolls balls with clay, use the non-dominant hand to assist and stabilize the use of objects, can build a tower of 9 small blocks
By age 5: Writes name, copies letters, cuts on the line
By age 6: Draw basic pictures, colors within lines, cuts out simple shapes
By age 7: Learns to tie shoes, writes on the line, builds with legos
Gross Motor Skills: What Should My Child Be Up to In Gross Motor Skills?
Gross motor skills, also known as physical skills, require whole-body movement and involve the core muscles to stabilize the body. Gross motor skills encompass many everyday functions such as standing, walking, sitting upright, and more. In addition, gross motor skills involve hand-eye coordination (catching, kicking, etc).
Consider the following gross motor skills developmental milestone examples as a guideline:
By age 2: Begins to run, walks up and down steps withs support, picks up toys from the floor without falling over, pulls or carries toys
By age 3: Pedals a tricycle, able to walk on tip toes, climbs jungle gym and ladders
By age 4: Able to walk on a line, hop on one foot, kicks a ball forwards, runs around obstacles
By age 5: Catches a small ball using hands, walks backward toe-heel, able to walk up stairs while holding an object
By age 6: Runs lightly on toes, skipping and balancing, matured (refined) jumping skills
By age 7: Runs in a straight line, hops on both legs
Self-Care and Self-Regulation
Self-regulation involves a child’s ability to manage their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in a way that enables goal-directed actions. This skill is important to help children understand and manage their behavior and reactions. During the toddle phase and preschool years, children begin to develop self-regulation skills. In addition, self-care skills involves tasks for children to participate in everyday activities (dressing, eating, bathing, etc).
Consider the following self-care and self-regulation developmental milestone examples as a guideline:
By age 2 to 3: Using toilet with assistance, attempting to brush teeth, using a napkin to wipe off face or hands
By age 3 to 4: Taking socks or shoes off, feeding self without difficulty, independently packing items away
By age 4 to 5: Taking turns, expressing emotions, dressing self independently
By age 5 to 6: Packing a bag for school, opening lunch boxes, settling independently for sleep
By age 6 to 7: Telling the time, playing with 4 to 5 children in a group, showering independently
How Occupational Therapy Can Help
As a parent, it can be difficult to acknowledge when your child is struggling to meet developmental milestones. However, early intervention can help your child to thrive!
Occupational Therapy can be especially helpful for children struggling to meet common developmental milestones. The Therapy Place takes an individualized approach to helping children improve gross and fine motor skills, sensory processing, coordination, and other important skills to help them develop the skills they need for everyday life.
Resources for Parents and Educators
If you’ve noticed your child lagging behind or struggling to achieve developmental milestones, we can help! The Therapy Place offers therapy services for children that need help meeting milestones. Call us today for a free evaluation. Our highly experienced staff will perform an assessment of your child to identify where we can help.
Medically Reviewed by: Leah Gross OTR/L