Major Milestones: 10 That Kids Need To Meet On Time (And 10 That Don't Matter As Much)

Milestones are known as an action or event that marks a significant change or stage in development. These are devised by specialists who know where a child should be at certain stages in their lives. Milestones are treated as guidelines for parents to know where their child should be at a certain age.

If they are meeting their guidelines, then they are perfectly fine, but if they are not meeting them than parent intervention needs to happen. For example, if a child isn’t gaining weight correctly after birth, the baby might not be getting enough food, and the feeding regimen for mom and baby might need to change. Now, it’s important to note that some milestones are okay for a child not to meet right away because they do not hurt their growth and development in any way.

But on the other hand, there are quite a few milestones that pose a problem if the child is not meeting them. Many landmarks—if they are not met on time—can cause a problem because the child might not move on correctly to other milestones, and due to this, their development can be halted or altered in negative ways. This should be met with intervention immediately.

20 Gaining Appropriately

The first super important milestone that a brand-new baby needs to meet is doubling their birth size soon after they are born. After they have reached that size, it is critical that they are packing on the pounds as they age.

For them to grow physically and developmentally, a child needs to be at the correct size for their age at all times. According to Mayo Clinic, a child should be gaining at least 5-7 ounces until six months of age. Once they reach six months and beyond the gain should be dropping a little from 3-5 ounces a month. A baby should be tripling their birth size by the age of one.

19 Eye Contact Matters

This is a milestone that should be happening around 6-8 weeks of age. The reason why this is so important is that if children make eye contact on time, it means that their neurological functions and growth are working normally, according to Parenting.

On the other spectrum, eye contact says that your child is recognizing you and showing you that you are familiar to them, which is huge in their development. No eye contact is a prevalent symptom of Down syndrome, which is why it is critical to have this checked if your child is not looking you in the eye around a month old or a little after.

18 Hold Up That Head

CanDo Kiddo

For the first two months of life, an infant usually cannot hold their head up nor do they have any neck muscles developed. Around one month, parents should start to see their child trying to lift their head and moving it from side to side, but they will not be able to hold it up completely.

At around 5-6 months old, your child should be holding their head up steadily with no problem. It’s important to note that a premature child may hit a milestone such as this a little later than others. But if a child who was born at the full 40-week point is not lifting their head by six months, a doctor’s appointment should be made, according to Baby Center.

17 Standing For Something

Deviant Art

Putting pressure on the legs doesn’t necessarily mean your child is walking. This could mean they are crawling and just beginning to stand by holding onto furniture. For them to have the ability to stand and eventually walk, they need to have strength in their legs and muscle coordination according to Baby Centre. Around five months old, your baby should be able to stand with your assistance.

If they are having trouble putting weight on their legs—or maybe just one or the other—a doctor visit is recommended to determine the possibility of muscular dystrophy. That disability should be diagnosed as soon as possible to get the correct treatment.

16 Look Who's Talking

The Bump

Delayed or limited speech can be a sign of many different disabilities, including major developmental disorders, which is why a child's talking skills should be closely monitored. It’s super important to know the difference between language delay and speech delay. Language delay is a problem putting words together to form a sentence, while speech delay is not being able to understand the child well.

Parents should be noticing babies using their voices around one year. This includes babbling and cooing, according to Kids Health. There are a few different milestones that they should be hitting each year and parents should be watching closely for them.

15 Getting Handsy

Today's Parent

Parents should notice that their child can grasp things quite early on as they will usually hold onto your fingers and or your hands. It won’t be until they are at least a year old that they can pick objects up. According to Baby Center, you should notice them beginning to try to pick up smaller objects around three months old, but they probably will have a hard time.

After that three-month mark, the child should be making huge strides toward being able to pick items up and hold them. If they are not meeting these marks, it might be a sign of a problem with hand-eye coordination.

14 Lip-Smacking Solids

Misadventures in Mommyhood

The ability to eat solids is essential for children because it allows them to begin to gain the nutrients they need aside from breast milk. For a baby, breast milk is pretty much all they need. Some parents start to give them solids around six months, although it is more common nowadays to provide them with solids later rather than earlier.

Many parents begin giving their child solids because it allows them to be fuller and helps them to sleep longer, according to the Mayo Clinic. If they are having problems keeping solids down after six months of age, it is essential to look for things such as acid reflux.

13 Reacting To Reflection


For a child, reacting to their reflection is a huge milestone. For a while, they will believe their reflection is another baby that they can play with. They probably won’t recognize their reflections until around 18 months old.

According to Momtastic, parents should be able to tell when their baby begins to understand their reflection because they will touch the mirror. Once they touch the mirror while sitting in front of it, it’s clear they have met the reflection milestone. The reason why they may be walking before they reach this milestone is that cognitive skills usually take the longest to develop.

12 Communication Station

Raising Children Network

Communication skills should realistically be there at birth. When a baby is tired, hungry or wet, they communicate by crying. During each group of ages, a child has different communication milestones that they need to meet.

According to VeryWell Mind, from birth to three months old a child should respond to sounds by looking. During the three to six month stage, they will begin to make eye contact with parents and make sounds when they want something or gesture with their hands. At six to nine months, babies should begin to babble and say simple words like bye.

11 It's Just Emotions


Emotional development is another one that should come in spurts. Joy, anger, sadness and fear are the first emotions that a child should develop. They will not generate more complicated emotions until they are older and they have more life experience, according to Kidsmatter.

Emotions can come along with physical responses—feelings like anger and sadness should be accompanied by actions such as fighting or crying. A child with Down Syndrome often doesn’t develop emotions correctly, for instance, which is why this should be watched.

10 Say Cheese


Smiling is one of those milestones that parents love, because who doesn't love when a baby smiles? But it is also one that doesn’t necessarily matter if it doesn’t happen right away. When a child smiles it can mean so many things—they have started to recognize your face, and its features and their cognitive skills are beginning to develop.

If their vision is good, they will see when you smile and eventually try to replicate that, according to Parents Magazine. Later on in life, they will put two and two together and realize that smiling is a way to connect with someone rather than just a reflex, and they will start lighting up our lives!

9 Anxiety Is Normal

Baby Sign Language

It is very common for a child to commit fearless acts at a young age because according to many researchers, they do not develop fear until age five or older. According to Kidshealth, a child will begin to exhibit fear slowly when they are just eight to nine months old when it comes to strangers.

It is common for babies to cry when someone other than mom or dad is holding them. When they are a little older, they may feel separation anxiety when mom or dad is not around, but actual fear of certain things won’t develop until later.

8 Curiosity Prevails


The ability to ask questions is based on a child’s cognitive development. This is indeed a milestone because they need to ask questions to learn throughout their lives. But this isn’t a milestone that is super important for them to meet right away, because other than how smart they turn out to be, it doesn’t affect anything that might cause an issue in the future.

Three and four years old are the question years. It is this time in a child’s development when they will be curious about everything that is happening around them which will lead to a lot of why questions. According to Web MD, this can be super annoying for parents but answering these questions is critical to their development.

7 Potty Pointers


Potty training occurs at different times for both genders. Girls find it easier to control their bladder a lot earlier while boys take a little longer. According to Pull-ups, some children begin to potty train around age two. But it is essential that parents never force potty training on a child because it can scare them.

Parents should be looking out for signs that their kids are ready. This can mean they are sleeping through the night without passing any bowel movements. There are a lot of tools for parents to help their child through this stage, but the vital thing to remember is that this comes at different times for everyone.

6 Reading Readiness

Delightful Children's Books

Reading is another one of those milestones that is important because it is required to move up in life, but it isn’t so important that it has to happen immediately. Some kids know how to read at a very young age, and others will have some trouble developing the skills that allow them to begin reading.

According to Healthy Children, it is typical for kids to start reading when they enter first grade, around 6 or 7. If a child isn’t reading by 7, they might need a little bit of help in that area. Their schools will be able to assist in this.

5 Writing Comes With Practice

The Conversation

Writing is similar to reading, but often it comes easier than reading, which is why most little ones learn to do it first. If they don’t learn to write immediately, this isn’t a huge deal because this is something they can learn based on practice. Parents should be aware, though, that writing does take some skills that should be tested if children have a hard time with writing after a while.

According to Web MD, a child needs fine-motor skills, the ability to understand letters that make up words and a few other things, so if they are having a hard time writing there could be problems.

4 Crawling Capers

Today's Parent

Crawling can happen at a plethora of different times for different children. Sometimes babies don’t even crawl at all; they begin to pull themselves up and start walking before anything else. But for those that do crawl, it usually starts around 7-10 months of age. According to Baby Center, the most interesting thing about crawling for a child is the multiple different ways they do it.

Sometimes they crawl on their knees, or sometimes they will scoot on their butt or do a half crawl, where their arms are crawling, but their legs are dragging. It’s important not to be worried about which crawl they do because all are normal.

3 In Touch With One's Selfie

Finest Moments

A huge milestone for children is when they begin to figure out which body parts are which. According to VeryWell Family, children begin to identify body parts as early as age 1-2 because they are so used to hearing their parents point out different parts.

It is good for a child to learn body parts early because once a child knows what a body part is, they will be able to communicate with mom or dad if anything is going on with that part or if it is in any pain. Just because a child isn’t talking doesn’t mean they can’t point to specific body parts when a parent or teacher asks them where one in particular is.

2 Sleeping Through The Night

Milk N Mamas Baby

This is another milestone that varies from child to child. Some parents are lucky, and their baby will begin sleeping through the entire night almost immediately, while others won’t start sleeping all night until later years. Babies sleep all the time, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they will be sleeping at night as we would want them to.

The problem is that newborn babies don’t know how to soothe themselves, so if they wake themselves up or if something wakes them up, they often cannot get back to sleep comfortably and are up through the night, according to Parents Magazine.

1 Making Friends


This is the kind of milestone that kids should meet eventually, but there is no rush. Often, younger children will make friends easier than older ones because there is a lot less judgment in younger kids. Everything is about playing, and anyone around who enjoys similar things becomes an immediate friend.

According to Raising Children, when a child turns four years old, they will begin to separate other kids who are friends from those who are just acquaintances. It’s entirely reasonable for some children to play by themselves, which is why parents shouldn’t worry if their child is not making many friends.

References: Mayo Clinic, Kids Health, Baby CenterKidsMatter, Parents Magazine,  Healthy Children, Raising Children, Momtastic

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