Why it’s important

As children grow, they acquire new skills to explore and interact with their surroundings and the people they love.

While each child grows at his or her own pace, all children go through essentially the same stages at roughly the same age. Your child will achieve milestones on his own, but he needs your help and guidance to reach his full potential.

Having said that, children born preterm may develop at a slower pace than others because they were born “premature”. That is, their organs, including the brain, were not as developed as they should have been at birth (because they were born too early). Some babies struggle because they are in fragile health. Also, a hospital setting is not the most ideal place for a baby to be spend the first few days or months of his life.

So your child may hold his head, sit, crawl, or walk later than others at the same corrected age. You may have to wait a bit longer to hear his first words or sentences. However, many children born full-term under ordinary circumstances also walk or talk late.

There are a lot of things parents can do to overcome initial setbacks and help their child develop.

Top 5 things you can do:

  • Talk and play with your baby, provide suitable fun and games
  • Child-proof the house
  • Adapt the environment to baby’s needs
  • Make sure the baby is always well positioned, whether lying down in his crib or sitting in baby carrier or on your lap
  • Be aware of red flags

In this module, you will learn about the typical stages of development in the baby’s first 24 months and beyond. You’ll learn which red flags to look out for and when, so that you can call your doctor’s or nurse’s attention to them if need be.

Research and Development
Valérie Kempa, Master’s student, Occupational Therapy
Julie Gosselin, Professor, Occupational Therapy, University of Montreal
Thuy Mai Luu, Pediatrician, CHU Sainte-Justine

Claudine Amiel-Tison, Pediatrician, Professor, Faculty of Medicine, Cochin Port-Royal, France
Gloria Jeliu, Pediatrician, Professor, CHU Sainte-Justine
Perrine Peckre, Occupational Therapist, CHU Sainte-Justine

English Translation and Critical Revision

Danielle Buch, Medical Writer, Applied Clinical Research Unit, CHU Sainte-Justine Research Centre

Last Updated: 2015

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