Understanding the Basics

Seeing your child thrive and grow is a rewarding experience, and there are things we can do as parents to help encourage their development. It all starts with understanding the basics of child development.

It's important to remember:

  • Children are born ready to learn.
  • Children learn best in safe and caring environments with plenty of opportunity to play and explore.
  • All children grow and develop at their own pace.
  • Skills such as pointing, taking a first step and saying a first word are examples of developmental milestones that develop in a predictable sequence during specific stages or around certain ages.
  • Nutrition, physical activity and sleep all impact a child’s development.
  • Positive relationships with families and other important caregivers are essential to healthy development.

Using Positive Parenting

Families directly support children’s growth and learning. They are often the first to notice a concern in development. Families can support all areas of their child’s development through daily routines and interactions.

Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Positive Parenting page for more information and resources about positive parenting.

Monitoring Your Child's Development

There are steps you can take to ensure your child continues to learn and grow.

Parents, grandparents and other caregivers should look for developmental milestones from your child’s birth to the age of five.

This will help you:

  • celebrate your child’s development
  • talk about your child’s progress with doctors and child care providers
  • learn what to expect next
  • identify any concerns early.

If you need help in recognizing the different stages of development, easy and free checklists are available through the CDC.  

When you have a concern, act early to get the right support at the right time. You should:

  1. Complete a Milestone Checklist.
  2. Talk to your child's doctor and ask about developmental screening.
  3. Ask for a referral, or contact your local early intervention program.


  Download our brochure

Our brochure provides helpful information about monitoring your child's development.

Developmental Monitoring and Screening brochure (PDF)