Marking the Milestones
During their first few years, children learn and grow so much that sometimes it’s hard to put into words. But whether you use expert terms like “early childhood development” or simply call it “growing up,” marking the milestones is important to you, and it’s imp-important to us too.
Now, as part of our partnership with the experts at Fisher Price, we’re making it even easier for you to stay on top of those all-important changes, with a simple guide to the developmental milestones that make every day with your child an adventure in learning something new.
Read on for our quick and easy list of all the ways your little one is learning and developing every time they play.
The 3 Areas of Development
Most of the key skills and abilities learned in early childhood fall into one of three main developmental areas: physical development, cognitive development, or social and emotional development. Here’s how each area stacks up:
Building busy little bodies
Mastering physical skills is such an important part of childhood — and it paves the way to all kinds of learning. Physical skills include:
Sensory: Hearing, seeing, touching, tasting — the senses are the very first windows to helping your child learn, “lighting up” areas of the brain.
Gross Motor: Huge physical milestones occur in the early years, and motor skills keep getting refined as your child grows
Fine Motor: From grasping a toy to holding a pencil, developing fine motor skills helps lead to success in school and beyond.
Balance & Coordination: Sitting up, walking, running — they’ll use a lot of energy building these skills.
Engaging curious minds
The best way to learn? Through play. You’ll be astounded at how much brain power they build in the early years. Cognitive skills include:
Curiosity: Encouraging curiosity, discovery, and that natural sense of wonder will help your child want to learn more — every day!
Problem Solving: How does it work? Figuring things out is one of the best parts of play — from simple challenges to more complex ones.
Imagination: Asking “what if?” Dreaming up new ways to see the world. Being able to imagine and create. They’re hallmarks of great thinkers.
Academics: From ABCs to actual reading, from reciting numbers to counting things, the early years of play set the foundation for success in school in beyond.
Social & Emotional
Nurturing confident personalities
Expressing ideas, sharing with friends, being a good listener… playing is a natural (and fun!) way to develop good social skills and enhance emotional well-being.
Listening: A child can hear even before birth — and will always benefit from being a good listener (and talker!)
Self Expression: Feeling good about yourself and communicating your thoughts are essential skills that develop naturally through play.
Sharing & Cooperation: Taking turns and getting along with others takes time and practice, but doing that while playing makes it easier and more fun.
Security & Happiness: Playful children are happy children. When all is said and done, you want your child to have emotional connections and feel happy and secure — now, and when they’re all grown up!