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Navigating Childhood Development: A Parent's Guide to CDC Milestones

Understanding your child's developmental milestones can often feel like deciphering a complex map

without a legend. Fortunately, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers a comprehensive checklist that can act as your guide. For parents seeking insights into their child's growth, the CDC's developmental milestones checklist is an invaluable resource.

In this blog, we'll explore how you can use the CDC's checklist to support and track your child's development through various stages.

The Significance of Developmental Milestones

Developmental milestones are behaviours and physical skills seen in infants and children as they grow and develop. Rolling over, crawling, walking, and talking are all considered milestones. The CDC milestones checklist helps parents and healthcare providers to understand and identify these milestones in children.

Birth to 2 Months: The Beginning

Your newborn is adapting to the world. According to the CDC checklist, you should observe early milestones such as:

  • Reacting to loud sounds

  • Gazing at faces

  • Coos and makes pleasure sounds

Encourage these developments through skin-to-skin contact and by talking gently to your baby to nurture their hearing and communication skills.

2 to 4 Months: Discovering Movement

Babies start moving more at this stage. The CDC milestones to look for include:

  • Holding their head up

  • Smiling spontaneously

  • Following things with their eyes

Help your child by providing colourful mobiles to track and by encouraging tummy time to strengthen neck muscles.

4 to 6 Months: Interaction and Exploration

This is when your baby becomes more interactive. Key milestones from the CDC include:

  • Laughing and showing joy

  • Reaching for and grasping objects

  • Rolling over in both directions

Play interactive games and offer a variety of objects for them to reach for to boost these skills.

6 to 9 Months: Sitting Up and Engaging

Sitting up and more deliberate movement are the highlights now. The CDC checklist mentions:

  • Sitting without support

  • Understanding "no"

  • Passing things between hands

Provide support as they learn to sit and use simple words repeatedly to help them understand their meanings.

9 to 12 Months: Fine-Tuning Skills

The first birthday is approaching, and your child is fine-tuning their skills. The CDC's checklist includes:

  • Standing with support

  • Using simple gestures like shaking head "no"

  • Saying "mama" and "dada"

Encourage standing by holding their hands or providing support, and converse with your baby to promote language development.

12 to 18 Months: Increasing Independence

Toddlers are starting to assert their independence. The CDC highlights milestones such as:

  • Walking alone

  • Drinking from a cup

  • Saying several single words

Foster independence with safe spaces to walk and explore, and offer utensils and cups designed for toddler hands.

18 to 24 Months: Language and Emotion

A burst of language skills and more complex emotional development occur here. Look for:

  • Pointing to objects when named

  • Following simple instructions

  • Showing a sense of ownership with "mine"

Use everyday situations to name objects, give simple tasks, and help them navigate emotions by talking about feelings.

2 to 3 Years: Complex Interactions

As they approach preschool age, children's abilities become more complex. The CDC checklist includes:

  • Playing make-believe

  • Showing affection for friends without prompting

  • Carrying on a conversation using two to three sentences

Engage in pretend play and encourage social interaction to develop these skills. Reading and asking about stories can also boost language use.

Utilizing the CDC Milestones Checklist

The CDC milestones checklist is more than a set of objectives; it's a map for developmental journeys. Here's how to use it effectively:

1. Track Progress:

Keep a diary or use the CDC’s Milestone Tracker App to record and reflect on your child's progress.

2. Educate Yourself:

Learn what each milestone means and how you can create an environment that encourages your child's growth.

3. Communicate with Professionals:

Share your findings with your health professional at each visit to ensure your child's development is on track.

Remember Every Child Is Unique

Not all children develop at the same rate, and the CDC milestones checklist is meant to provide a general framework rather than a rigid timetable. It's important to understand and appreciate your child's unique pace. If you have concerns, early intervention can be key to addressing developmental delays, so consult with your healthcare provider.

By familiarizing yourself with the CDC's milestones and actively engaging in your child's developmental journey, you become the most important observer and supporter of their growth. Stay informed, stay involved, and celebrate every step of your child's developmental adventure.

You can read the CDC's Developmental Milestone Article HERE.

During the months of December and January Dr Julie and Dr Mark are offering complimentary Spinal Health checks for children.

Call us on 9428 4033 to make a booking and please mention it’s for a Children’s Spinal Health Check at the time of booking.


Dr Mark has a special interest in helping recreational athletes of all ages perform better and prevent injury. Correct breathing and postural alignment are critical for top performance and injury prevention and is an integral part of “The Over 40 Athlete System” that Mark has developed.

Dr Julie has a special interest in helping mothers and “mothers to be”. Her Post Graduate qualifications in Paediatric Chiropractic and as an ex-midwife give her a unique ability to help pregnant women, new mums and their young children.

Yours in Health, Dr's Mark & Julie


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