As a parent or educator to children between the ages of 0-5years, what do you think they should be doing, what should they know and how should they be engaged to help them achieve their milestones. You need to read to the end so you know the answers to all these questions and more.
The first 5 years of a child’s life are the most important period of development: physically, mentally, socially, cognitively and morally. For instance, their communication skills develop rapidly during the first 5 years. Children develop quickly in the Early Years, and early years practitioners aim to do all they can to help them have the best possible start in life. According to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, children have a right to provision which enables them develop their personalities, talents and abilities irrespective of ethnicity, culture or religion, home language, family background, learning difficulties, disabilities or gender
Oftentimes, parents and educators put their little ones under a lot of pressure to speak, walk, write, read and play without fully understanding the appropriate developmental stages and milestones.
When we say ‘Milestones’, what do we really mean? According to the Oxford Dictionary, ‘a Milestone is a significant stage or event in the development of something’. Thus, Developmental milestones are specific skills and abilities that children typically acquire during a specific time frame as they grow and develop. These milestones are divided into different domains, including physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development. Children reach milestones in how they play, learn, speak, act and move.
The importance of creating an enabling environment and providing resources to ensure children get the best in achieving all milestones can not be overemphasized. Parents and practitioners must be equipped with the knowledge of what is attainable per time. It should never be ‘ONE
SIZE FITS ALL’
In this article are just a few developmental milestones to look out for as your little ones grow and develop. Remember to celebrate every milestone and put it down in a journal.
Lifts head and chest when lying on stomach
Rolls over from stomach to back and back to stomach
Reaches for and grasps objects
Begins to crawl or scoot
Babbles and imitates sounds
Toddlers (1-3 years)
Begins to run and climb stairs
Begins to use utensils and cups
Speaks words and short phrases
Shows independence and defiance
Pre-Schoolers (3-5 years)
Uses scissors and pencils
Draws basic shapes and letters
Follows two-step directions
Engages in imaginative play
Begins to form friendships and play cooperatively
It is important to note that every child develops at their own pace, and these milestones are just general guidelines. If you have concerns about your child’s development, it is always best to consult with a pediatrician or other healthcare providers.
“Earlier is not better, all children accomplish milestones in their own way, in their own time”
– Magda Gerber