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Key Milestones in Childhood Development [Infographic]

Very young children do not have the ability to express themselves in the ways pre-teens and older children can. Because of this, social workers need to know the expected development of babies and toddlers.

Master of Social Work degree helps people who want a career in the field to understand development stages, from first movements to noises and cognizant behaviors. If any of these are lagging substantially it’s a signal for social workers to look a little deeper to see what’s going on.

Social workers can reassure parents how developed their sons and daughters are, with their cognitive, social, speech and motor skills. These different skills are part of the infographic. This approach complements a doctor’s examination of where the child is physically.

Key Milestones in Childhood Development

Social workers who work with children understand the key milestones in their development.

  • Cognitive: Learning and problem solving
  • Social and Emotional: Interacting with others
  • Speech and Language: Comprehending language and speaking
  • Fine Motor Skills: Using small muscles to pick up and hold
  • Gross Motor Skills: Using large muscles to sit, walk, and move

0-6 Weeks

  • See objects 8 to 12 inches away and enjoy bright colors or black and white
  • Change facial expressions and movements when hearing familiar sounds
  • Cry to communicate needs

1.5-3 Months

  • Follow moving objects
  • Open hands and close them around objects
  • Make cooing noises

3-6 Months

  • Focus on objects 3 feet away
  • Teeth come on
  • Hold up head on their own

9-12 Months

  • Bang and throw toys
  • Crawl and pull self-up
  • Recognize words like “bye” or “hi”

1-2 Years

  • Imitate actions and words of adults
  • Interested in stacking and knocking things down
  • Ability to match similar objects

2-3 Years

  • Respond to commands
  • Speak in short sentences, and 75 percent of speech is clear
  • Start counting

3-5 Years

  • Plays with word pronunciation
  • Pedal a tricycle
  • Draws, names, and describes recognizable pictures

5-7 Years

  • Can sort objects by similar characteristics
  • Use pencil, tie shoes
  • Learns through adult instruction

Disclaimer: Statistics above are averages and results may vary by child.

Children develop faster in their first few years than throughout the rest of their lives. Social workers must understand these key childhood development stages to better serve and protect their clients.