As a parent, you’re the best judge of your child’s development.
These identified milestones offer an estimated guide, as all babies develop differently. You should only feel concerned if you notice delays in a few of these areas, over the course of several months.
Try to resist comparing your baby to others. All babies are unique in their development, appearance and personality.
Things to know about toddlers:
- They’re still finding out how exciting the world is and how everything works
- They’re inquisitive and curious
- They can’t see the effects of their actions yet
- They’re learning to regulate their emotions
- They’re striving for independence
- They want to try and test everything
- They have rapid mood swings
- They have short attention spans
- They’ll test their limits and capabilities
A common response you may hear from your toddler is ‘no’. Though this gives the impression they won’t cooperate, it’s actually a very normal part of life. (Think negotiation, discipline, safety and rules.)
Frequently Asked Questions
What about their brain development?
The area of our brain that regulates emotions and comprehends the effect of our behaviour continues to develop until we’re about 25. Your toddler is at the very beginning of this growth – which is why tantrums, aggression, inability to share, and sibling rivalries are so common.
Where can I find official information on development milestones?
Across Australia, all parents are provided with a Child Personal Health Record, which will be unique to the state you live in. In NSW it is also known as a Blue Book. The Child Personal Health Record is a terrific resource for you to bring to appointments with all the varied health services your baby may need. It’s also a great way to keep up to date with your child’s developmental milestones.
There are development checks in your book that you can discuss with your GP and/or child and family health nurse. You’ll also find easy to read information on promoting your child’s growth and development, as well as useful tips on local support and health services.
Another helpful NSW Health parent resource is the Learn the Signs, Act Early website. This site offers short videos on each age group – a guide that may help your confidence in supporting your baby’s development. You’ll also find downloadable information and brochures.
When should I seek professional help?
As a general guide, seek professional help if you notice your baby:
- Doesn’t respond to sounds consistently
- Doesn’t seem to see things or look at you
- Has white or cloudy pupils, or something about their eyes that’s not quite right
- Isn’t interested in what’s going on around them
- Doesn’t move or use both arms and/or legs
- Has an usual cry
- Cries persistently for more than three hours a day
- Can’t hold their head up at 3-4 months
- Isn’t sitting well by 10 months
- Is not able to pull to stand by one year
How can I monitor my child's development?
Your child’s growth and development is monitored in a number of ways. These include:
- Checking your child’s milestones
- Filling in health check questionnaires
- Professional health examinations
Children should be examined by a healthcare professional at:
- 1-4 weeks
- 6-8 weeks
- 6 months
- 12 months
- 18 months
- 2 years
- 3 years
- 4 years
Karitane Tip: This is the minimum number of recommended visits. Make sure you take your child to visit your doctor or child and family health nurse at these stages. If you have any additional concerns about your baby’s growth and development, consult your healthcare professional.
Watch the videos below as they take you through the key developmental stages your child will experience. They also offer fun play ideas designed to boost your child’s learning at every age (sourced from Raising Children).
Health checks at child and family health centres
Your local child and family health centre is an ideal place to receive free check-ups from a qualified child and family health nurse. To identify your nearest centre, contact Health Direct Australia on 1800 022 222.
Karitane Tip: If you have any concerns about your child’s development, make an appointment to speak with your family doctor or child and family health nurse.
Toddler Clinic - PCIT
Our team of Registered Nurses, Clinical Psychologists and Social Workers work with families using a model called Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT). PCIT is based on play and aims to increase positive behaviours and reduce the negative behaviours of your toddler by strengthening the parent-child relationship and giving you some strategies to better manage your child.Learn More