Understanding Your Child’s Developmental Milestones

During the first five years of your child’s life, the optimal foundation for development and learning begins at home. As a parent, understanding typical growth and development for your child is essential. The Division of Early Learning encourages families to use the Florida Early Learning and Developmental Standards (FELDS) as a guide to follow and understand the developmental milestones your child should reach during each age range and in each of these eight developmental domains:

1. Physical Development – Development of body proportion, coordination, strength and the brain occur primarily during your child’s early years. Your child develops physical, motor and sensory capacities that enhance their exploration and mastery of their environment.

2. Approaches to Learning – Your child’s attitudes and how they engage in new environments, interactions, discoveries and their perception about learning influence how they learn.

3. Social Development – Your child’s ability to establish connections and relationships with peers influences how they respond to others.

4. Language and Literacy – Your child communicates by listening, speaking and eventually writing. Your child develops language and literacy skills through educational resources and opportunities at school and home as well as in daily interactions speaking with people.

5. Mathematical Thinking – Foundational math begins with number knowledge, number sense, size and shape awareness and the relationship between objects and space. Understanding of math concepts begins in the first months of life and continues to grow and expand as your child interacts with others and their environment.

6. Scientific Inquiry – Discovery and exploration are demonstrated when children use their senses and reflexes to observe and collect information from their surroundings.

7. Social Studies concepts – Your child uses these concepts when they explore their world and begin making sense of their environment. Your child begins to respond to people and objects, recognize the difference between wants and needs, respond to schedules and explore characteristics of self, such as eyes, nose and mouth.

8. Creative Expression Through the Arts – Your child has the ability to express feelings and opinions, use words and solve problems.

The Families section of the FELDS provides the appropriate skills by age for each developmental domain. Observe your child playing at home and note the age-appropriate milestones you see them achieve. Initiate conversation about their day and ask what they have learned.

Discuss concerns with your child’s pediatrician and teacher if you feel your child is not meeting a developmental milest one or if you feel they need extra support. Developmental screenings help identify any delays in your child’s development and can assist with getting the needed services to support your child’s learning.

If you are not sure where developmental screenings are offered, contact your local early learning coalition to learn more. You may also contact Help Me Grow Florida to learn about the importance of participation in the screening process and successful outcomes of early detection. Help Me Grow Florida has several developmentally appropriate activities to help you engage and have fun while supporting your child’s learning.