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Understanding Developmental Milestones: A Guide for Parents with Children in Daycare


As a parent, watching your child grow and develop is one of the most rewarding experiences. In daycare settings, children are exposed to new environments, experiences, and interactions that play a crucial role in their development. Understanding the developmental milestones that children typically reach during their daycare years can help parents support their child's growth and development effectively. And if you are interested in learning more about it, visit our YouTube channel as we have a series of videos talking about developmental milestones.


Infants (0-12 months): During the first year of life, infants undergo rapid physical, cognitive, and social-emotional development. Some key milestones include:

  • Physical Development: Infants typically gain control over their neck muscles, and learn to roll over, sit up, crawl, and eventually walk. They also start to grasp objects and explore their surroundings using their hands and mouths.

  • Cognitive Development: Infants begin to recognize familiar faces and objects, respond to sounds and voices, and show curiosity about their environment. They may also imitate simple actions and gestures.

  • Social-Emotional Development: Infants start to develop attachments to primary caregivers, express emotions such as joy, sadness, and frustration, and begin to show interest in other children.


Toddlers (1-3 years): Toddlers experience significant growth and development in various areas. Some milestones include:

  • Physical Development: Toddlers become more mobile and independent. They learn to walk, run, climb, and explore their surroundings. They also start to develop fine motor skills, such as stacking blocks and scribbling.

  • Cognitive Development: Toddlers begin to understand simple instructions and follow routines. They also start to show an interest in pretend play and engage in simple problem-solving activities.

  • Social-Emotional Development: Toddlers start to assert their independence and may experience emotions more intensely. They also begin to show empathy towards others and engage in parallel play with other children.


Preschoolers (3-5 years): Preschoolers continue to grow and develop rapidly, preparing for the transition to school. Some milestones include:

  • Physical Development: Preschoolers refine their gross and fine motor skills. They become more coordinated in activities such as running, jumping, throwing, and catching. They also start to show an interest in more complex art and craft activities.

  • Cognitive Development: Preschoolers begin to develop pre-math and pre-literacy skills. They start to recognize letters and numbers, understand concepts like size and quantity, and engage in more complex problem-solving activities.

  • Social-Emotional Development: Preschoolers start to develop more complex social skills, such as taking turns, sharing, and cooperating with others. They also start to develop a sense of identity and self-esteem.


It's important to remember that every child is unique, and their developmental journey is their own. While developmental milestones provide a general guideline for what to expect, it's essential to recognize that children may reach these milestones at different times and in different ways.


Some children may reach certain milestones earlier or later than others, and that is perfectly normal.


As parents, the best way to support your child's development is to provide a nurturing and stimulating environment, engage in positive interactions, and celebrate their achievements, no matter how big or small. By understanding and respecting your child's unique developmental timeline, you can help them thrive and reach their full potential.

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