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Every child is unique which is why they develop at their own individual pace. As parents, a part of our job is to make sure that our kids achieve certain developmental milestones because not only will these help us assess their health and well-being, but also because it can help us keep track of developmental delays which could entail the possibility of brain disease.

Here is a simple checklist to guide you through your child’s development during his first 5 years:

  • 1 year old
    • Gross Motor Skills
      • Stands unaided
    • Fine Motor Skills
      • Fine pincer grasp
    • Language Skills
      • Responds to name
      • Understands 1-step commands
      • Says one meaningful word
    • Social Skills
      • Points to indicate
      • Waves goodbye, claps hands
      • Feeds with fingers
  • 1.5 years old
    • Gross Motor Skills
      • Runs
      • Stoops to pick up toy
    • Fine Motor Skills
      • Scribbles with pencils or crayons
      • Has the ability to stack 4 cubes
    • Language
      • Can point to body parts
      • Can say meaningful words
    • Social
      • Imitates household activities
      • Does pretend play
  • 2 years old
    • Gross Motor Skills
      • Can jump on both feet
      • Can walk up and down the stairs without aid
    • Fine Motor Skills
      • Can stack 6 cubes
      • Can draw vertical lines
    • Language Skills
      • Follows 2-step commands
      • Speaks 2-word phrases
      • Can use the words, “I”, “me”, “you”, and other plurals
    • Social
      • Drinks from a cup and uses spoon to eat
      • Shows tantrums, pessimism, and possessiveness
  • 3 years old
    • Gross Motor Skills
      • Can kick a small ball forward
      • Can pedal a bicycle
      • Can climb up stairs on alternating feet
    • Fine Motor Skills
      • Can stack 9 cubes
      • Can draw a circle
    • Language
      • Can count to 3 and can follow 3-step commands
      • Speaks 3-word phrases
      • Knows his own name, gender, and age
      • Knows how to ask, “Why?”, “What?”, “When?”, and “Where?”
      • Has the ability to compare
    • Social Skills
      • Knows how to undress on his own
      • Knows how to potty train
      • Shows empathy and can share
      • Role playing
  • 4 years old
    • Gross Motor Skills
      • Can balance on one foot for one second
      • Can climb up the stairs on alternating feet
    • Fine Motor Skills
      • Can draw crosses and squares
      • Cuts different shapes with scissors
    • Language Skills
      • Can name common objects and animals
      • Knows his own name, age, and gender
    • Social Skills
      • Can make friends and remember their names
  • 5 years old
    • Gross Motor Skills
      • Balances on one foot for 10 seconds
      • Can fully ride a bicycle
    • Fine Motor Skills
      • Knows how to hold a pencil in tripod pen grip
      • Can draw a person in 3 to 6 parts
      • Has the ability to write names
    • Language Skills
      • Can count from 1 to 10
      • Know the function of different objects (Ex. Cup, pencil, chair, etc.)
      • Can name different colours
      • Can count and pick up blocks
    • Social Skills
      • Can brush his own teeth
      • Can dress up without help (except for tying his shoelaces and buttoning his clothes)


If you are worried that your child seems to be struggling to achieve these milestones “on time”, don’t fret. Always bear in mind that every child has their own developmental track, so it’s alright to be a little early or later than others. However, there are also other factors that can affect your little one’s physical and mental progress. Your genes and environment can have a direct impact on your child’s mental and physical growth so if you want to help keep your child on the right track of his development, you can start by:
 
  • Giving them as much love and attention as you can. Certain actions such as hugging, holding and listening helps show our children that they matter to us.
  • Get to know your child everyday. Interact with him, try to determine his interests and skills.
  • Read with him to help him increase his vocabulary.
  • Limit his television time to only 1 to 2 hours a day
  • Set rules and be consistent with it.
  • Reward their good behaviour and have consequences for the bad.


If you notice, however, that your child has been having a difficult time achieving these milestones for a long period of time and is showing the following points below, we recommend that you speak to a professional physician or your child’s pediatrician right away.
 
  • Regression of skills
  • Lack of response to sound or visual stimuli
  • Poor interaction
  • Different strength and movement on right and left sides
  • Poor to excessive muscle tone
 
  • Possible signs of Autism:
    • Poor eye contact
    • Cannot point
    • Always seems like he’s in his own world
    • Does not play well or doesn’t play with others at all
  • Possible signs of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder:
    • Unable to sit through
    • Unable to follow instructions
    • Shows impulsiveness and inability to take turns
 

Reference:
Dr. Eugene Han, Thomson Paediatric Centre

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