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Child developmental milestones

Children develop in lots of different ways. Through interacting and exploring their world, over time they develop skills such as walking, talking and getting dressed. These skills are called developmental milestones.

Baby crawling on their hands and knees across the floor. Girl toddler dancing with her hands up in the air, with her dad smiling and clapping behind her. Boy toddler sitting on the floor holding a book and turning the page Toddler sitting at a child's table holding a football. A smiling adult is also sitting at the table and playing with the other soft toys on the table. Young girl with glasses painting, sitting at a table dipping a paintbrush into a paint pot and smiling.

Developmental milestones by age

Understanding the different developmental milestones will help you support your child as they grow. Milestones should be treated as a rough guide, as each child is unique and will develop at their own pace. It is often unhelpful to compare a child with their siblings or peer group.

Concerns about developmental delay

All children develop at their own pace which means it can be hard to compare children to one another. But some children may take longer to reach their development milestones, or they may not meet them at all.

Developmental delay is a term used for children who are slow at meeting their milestones. If a child is delayed in all areas of development this is defined as global developmental delay. By the age of 5, a developmental delay is more likely described as a long term learning difficulty/disability or intellectual disability. Your child may need some additional support in school or even an Education Health Care Plan.

Things to look out for

There are some key things to look out for, whatever age your child is, including:

  • significant loss of skills
  • lack of response to sounds or something they can see
  • poor interaction with adults or other children
  • lack of, or limited eye contact
  • differences between right and left sides of body in strength, movement or muscle tone
  • unable to transition from one position to the other
  • marked low tone (floppy) or high tone (stiff and tense) and significantly impacting on development and functional motor skills


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is separate to developmental delay. ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder with symptoms seen from early childhood. Symptoms include:

  • poor attention
  • hyperactivity
  • restlessness
  • impulsivity

Diagnosis is not made before the age of 5. This is because many children, especially those under 5, are inattentive and restless. Read more about ADHD.


Who can help

If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s development, a health professional in our team will be able to offer advice and support.

You can Call Us on 0300 029 50 50 or Text Us on 07520 649887 to start a conversation.

Open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm (excluding bank holidays).

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