Developmental Milestone Checklists

A couple weeks ago, I recommended reading about “what gross motor and fine motor skills a typical baby, toddler, or preschooler is likely to have mastered” in order to prepare better storytimes. A reader asked if there was a book or resource I would recommend on this topic.

You can certainly check out any of the general parenting advice books for this type of information! Classics include the What to Expect books, or any of the books by Dr Brazelton, Dr Sears, Dr Leach, or the American Academy of Pediatrics.

But for library staff I also like to recommend the milestone resources available online from various health & child development organizations. These are handouts or webpages with readable, short overviews of what children are typically capable of at different stages. They are list-based and easy to glance through while you’re planning storytime, if you have a question about what might be an appropriate activity.

For instance, think about “Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes.” Well, “bends over easily without falling” is a milestone sometimes placed at 36 months. When I learned that, I realized that I could either save “Head and Shoulders” for my preschool groups, OR, if I still wanted to sing it with my toddlers, I wouldn’t expect that my 2s would be able to follow along (and I should be prepared to be the only one acting it out), OR I could sing it super slowly, OR I could sing it while we were all sitting down (no bending required!).

Paying attention to the milestones, then, doesn’t mean necessarily that I can’t do certain activities with different ages, but that I can adjust my expectations to what a group is likely to be able to do, and I can adjust my presentation so that I’m able to help as many kids be successful as possible.

Here are some of the resources I’ve used in the past. What resources do you like to use?

How Kids Develop
A readable site geared for parents answering these questions: What is child development? What are developmental delays? How can I help my child get ready for kindergarten? Checklists are here.

Important Milestones

Checklists from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website; information from Caring For Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5, by Steven Shelov and Robert E Hannermann (American Academy of Pediatrics)

Ages & Stages for Caregivers
Handouts from the University of Ohio Extension website; written by Kathy L Reschke, Mary F. Longo, and Cheryl Barber

Heathy Minds: Nurturing Your Child’s Development
Handouts produced by the Zero to Three organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics

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3 Responses to Developmental Milestone Checklists

  1. Julie says:

    Questions such as these are exactly why I wish library school programs included a child development course for children and teen librarians. Not just a brief overview as part of children’s materials or programming, but an entire class of just child development. How else are we supposed to know what children can and should be doing?

    Other than these great resources, of course. But I still believe that we need to be learning these things as part of our major degree, with these resources available as refreshers or reminders.

  2. Melissa says:

    I agree! I didn’t have anything like this at school either. Then I learned a lot by having two kids of my own, and then learned another chunk of it alongside the early literacy content I studied. I have the good fortune to help mentor the LIS students in the new Early Childhood Librarian Fellowship at the University of Denver–their LIS coursework includes development classes from the school of education. We also created a class for them called Early Childhood Materials & Services–your basic children’s services course but focused on the 0-5 age range. It’s very cool, and I wish more library schools could accommodate this direction!

  3. Anna says:

    Thanks for posting this! Very helpful information 🙂

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