Category Archives: Child Development

CDC Milestones

The CDC and AAP have worked together to revise the developmental milestones included in the Learn the Signs. Act Early. program, which helps parents identify autism and developmental delays in their children. (Learn about the revision.)

You can use the online checklists or print PDF checklists or there is also a free CDC Milestone Tracker app. The new evidence-based milestones are written so that 75% of children in an age group should have reached that milestone. If you are concerned after doing a milestones checklist, check out:

Learn more about development: and developmental screenings:

Preschool Choice Time

choiceIf your child will be 3 this September, then January through March is a great time to look ahead and choose a preschool for next year. I have a whole collection of posts on things to think about – check out whichever ones apply to you!

First decide: Is preschool necessary? Is it something you want for your child?

If you decide you’re looking, the first thing to think about is logistics: What do you need in a preschool in terms of location, schedule, cost, and so on. What are your goals for preschool?

Then, research your options. Have you considered cooperative preschool? outdoor preschool? specialty preschools (e.g. bilingual or religious)? academic preschool or play-based learning? online preschool?  multi-age programs? What’s the difference between Montessori, Waldorf and Reggio?

Then visit, or attend an open house, and ask these questions to learn more.

After you’ve done all the research with your head, narrowing it down to the list of the best three options, then listen to your heart. Which school feels best to you? Where will your child be happiest? From the science of brain development, we know that we all learn best when we feel safe and happy – our brains have a high degree of neuroplasticity and we can absorb all the teacher has to teach. In the end, it’s that happiness and preserving the love of learning that will serve our child’s educational future the best.

FYI: I teach at co-op preschools sponsored by Bellevue College, so if you live on Seattle’s Eastside, check us out!

photo credit: JoshSchulz via photopin cc

Resources for Understanding Child Development

This is a collection of all my favorite resources for understanding developmental milestones, and enhancing your child’s development at any stage.

Checklists and Activities, Tailored to the Age of Your Child:

Just in Time Parenting from eXtension. 8 page newsletters, which include sections on milestones (how I talk, how I understand, how I move), activities parents can do to enhance development, and tips for managing the predictable challenges of each phase. Issues are available in 2 month intervals (e.g. 19 – 20 months; 21 – 22 months, etc. Up to 5 years.) You can subscribe to receive free automatic email updates every two months, or you can download any newsletter issue now at:

Pathways. Age groups are: 0-3 mo, 4-6 mo, 7-9, 10-12, 13-18, 19-24; 2-3 years, 4- 6 years. Each section includes an overview, articles on how to support learning, videos of key ideas, and abilities checklists for: play and social skills, coordination milestones, ability to manage daily activities, and self-expression.

Learn the Signs, Act Early from the Centers for Disease Control. Lists of milestones at each age, and suggested activities to support development. Guide to what to do if you’re concerned about development. Up to 5 years. In the past, they had handouts in English and Spanish, but the 2022 revision is currently only available in English. You could also download the CDC’s Milestone Tracker app, which is in English and Spanish.

Zero to Three. Healthy Minds, Nurturing Your Child’s Development: Each 2 page handout includes a summary of what your child is capable of, ideas for activities you can do to enhance development, and questions to ask yourself about your child. Toddler handouts for 12 – 18 months, 18 – 24 months, and 24 – 36 months.

Screening Tool

Ages and Stages Questionnaire: This questionnaire takes about 15 minutes to complete online. It will ask 6 questions in each of 5 areas of development: small motor skills, large motor, communication, problem-solving, and personal-social. If your child is developing normally, you will see that you will mark some of the skills as “yes, my child has mastered this”, some as “my child can sometimes do this” and some as “not yet.” After you complete the questionnaire, you will receive a brief summary of the results. Learn more about the ASQ and interpreting your results. Up to 6 years. (Note, this screening is also available at

In Seattle/King County, professional ASQ screenings are available free at Parent Trust for Washington Children.

Resources for activities to support development

Ideas for Activities to enhance all areas of development, and an overview of brain development:

Learning Opportunities in Everyday Activities (e.g. laundry!)

For each age, ideas to enhance learning in creative arts, language, literacy, math, science, emotional growth. Up to age 8.

Learn about Developmental Concerns

updated 2022

Books for SEL

I just stumbled across a great resource! The Book Nook on lists great children’s books for teaching social emotional skills, and then has accompanying activity ideas including art, dress-up, games, and more.

For example,

  • the guide for Llama Llama Misses Mama has tips on separation issues and a song “if you’re lonely and you know it…”
  • Or there’s Sometimes I’m Bombaloo on tantrums / meltdowns and making a classroom Feel Better book and getting big feelings out with playdough.
  • Or I Have a Little Problem with games to help you learn to be a good listener.