Al Soor Specialist Clinic

Milestones in the First Year of Life

Introduction:

  • Developmental milestones are key skills or abilities that most children achieve by a certain age range.
  • These milestones provide important indicators of a child’s growth and development across various domains, including physical, cognitive, language, social, and emotional areas.
  • Understanding these milestones can help monitor a child’s progress and identify potential developmental delays or concerns.
  • Below is a brief list of developmental milestones in the first year of life, classified by domain.

 

Domain/Timeline

Milestones

PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT

 

a) Gross Motor Skills

 

0-3 months

Lifts head briefly when lying on stomach.

Begins to make smoother, more coordinated movements with arms and legs.

4-6 months

Rolls over from front to back and back to front.

Sits with support and may begin to tripod sit.

7-9 months

Crawls on hands and knees or scoots.

 Pulls to standing position and may cruise along furniture.

10-12 months

Stands independently and may take first steps.

b) Fine Motor Skills

 

0-3 months

Grasps objects reflexively.

Begins to swipe at objects with hands.

4-6 months

Grasps objects voluntarily with whole hand.

Begins to transfer objects from one hand to another.

7-9 months

Picks up small objects with thumb and forefinger (pincer grasp).

Bangs objects together and explores with hands and fingers.

10-12 months

Starts to feed self with fingers.

Attempts to use a spoon, though with limited success.

 

Domain/Timeline

Milestones

COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT

 

a) Sensorimotor Skills:

 

0-3 months

Explores the world through senses, such as looking, listening, and touching.

Begins to recognize familiar faces and objects.

4-6 months

Begins to understand cause and effect (e.g., shaking a rattle produces sound).

Shows interest in objects that are out of reach and may try to reach for them.

7-9 months

Demonstrates object permanence (understanding that objects continue to exist even when out of sight).

Engages in simple problem-solving, such as finding a hidden object.

b) Language Development:

 

b1) Receptive Language:

 

0-3 months

Responds to familiar voices and sounds.

Shows interest in listening to language, even if not understanding words.

4-6 months

Recognizes familiar words and phrases.

Responds to simple verbal commands, such as “come here” or “no.”

7-9 months

Responds to own name and simple questions, such as “Where’s your toy?”

Understands basic vocabulary related to daily routines, such as “milk” or “bath.”

10-12 months

Understands simple instructions and requests, such as “give me the ball” or “point to the dog.”

b2) Expressive Language:

 

0-3 months

Cries to communicate needs and discomfort.

Makes cooing and gurgling sounds.

4-6 months

Babbling becomes more varied, incorporating consonant-vowel combinations.

Vocalizes to get attention and express pleasure or displeasure.

7-9 months

Begins to imitate simple sounds and gestures.

Says first recognizable words, such as “mama” or “dada,” though may not be consistently linked to specific people.

10-12 months

Vocabulary expands to include more words, with attempts to imitate familiar sounds and words.

 

SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT

 

a) Attachment and Bonding:

 

0-3 months

Forms attachments to primary caregivers, demonstrating preference for familiar faces and voices.

Responds to caregiver’s soothing and comforting behaviours.

4-6 months

Begins to show separation anxiety when apart from primary caregiver.

Engages in social interactions, such as smiling and cooing in response to caregiver’s interactions.

7-9 months

Demonstrates stranger anxiety and may become distressed in the presence of unfamiliar people.

Seeks comfort and reassurance from familiar caregivers in new or unfamiliar situations.

b) Social Skills and Interactions:

 

0-3 months

Prefers human faces and interactions over other stimuli.

Begins to respond to social cues, such as smiling or vocalizing in response to caregiver’s interactions.

4-6 months

Shows interest in watching other children and may attempt to engage in social play.

Engages in reciprocal interactions, such as taking turns in simple social games.

7-9 months

Demonstrates understanding of social norms and expectations.

Engages in parallel play alongside peers, though may not yet actively interact with them.

 

 

Conclusion:

  • The first year of life is a period of rapid and profound development, during which children achieve important milestones across multiple domains.
  • From the development of motor skills to the emergence of language and social abilities, each milestone represents a critical step in a child’s journey towards independence and autonomy.
  • Early intervention is key to addressing developmental delays or concerns and promoting optimal outcomes for children’s growth and well-being.