Play Guide

Promoting and Encouraging Development Through Play

Posted by Kaili Ets
Little boy playing on the floor with wooden toy

Welcome, from Peeka & Co.

Parenthood. It’s quite a trip, isn’t it? Every experience is different; every child is one-of-a-kind.

We know this because, at Peeka & Co., we are parents too. The moms, the dads, and the caregivers. We are our children’s soft place to land (and sometimes, their fun place to climb). In this role, and through this journey, we can feel pulled in too many directions. Because at the end of the day, above all else, we want our children to know they are loved.

Every family is unique and cherished in its own way. Every child will march to the beat of their own drum (ours certainly do). And just like you, we want to feel seen, heard, and understood.

There’s no handbook to parenting, but there are a lot of opinions. Navigating what is best in the world of parenting can often cause guilt and confusion. As parents who have been there, we want to change your experience for the better.

One that helps you make the best choice for your family and your family alone. This comes without compromise - not when it comes to safety, not when it comes to inclusivity, not on the credibility of the information we share, and not on how best to help your child learn and grow through play.

Our professional advisory board and our team have carefully vetted and selected every product we carry. And each product is here for a very specific reason. We are here to support you and help you explore the wonderful world of learning and play.

Our first line of support is this stage-based guide to child learning, carefully curated by Pediatric Occupational Therapist Kaili Ets.

We can’t wait to watch your baby learn, develop, and grow.

But most importantly, we can’t wait to be your soft place to land.

You got this. We got this, Peeka & Co.

Want to learn more from Kaili? Check out


Here’s the thing - very few babies arrive on their due date (only around 5%). While most first pregnancies typically go past full-term (or 40-weeks gestation), there are some babies that arrive pre-term. The belief used to be that 37-weeks was considered a full-term pregnancy, but now doctors and midwives use 39 weeks as the benchmark. This means if your baby is born before 39 weeks of gestation, they are technically considered “premature”.

Much of your baby's development is tied to time in uteruo, so, their development may be affected if they are born prematurely. This is important to consider when you’re comparing the milestones of a full-term birth to that of a premature baby. Adjusted (or corrected age) is when you consider not only the date your baby was born but the date they were expected to be born at 40-weeks.

During the first two years of your baby’s life, considering your baby’s adjusted age will give you a better idea of where they are in terms of reaching developmental goals and milestones. The easiest way to calculate your baby’s adjusted age is to take their gestational age at birth (ie. 36 weeks) and subtract that from 40 weeks of gestation. This example would make your baby four weeks premature. During the first two years of their life, you will be looking at and comparing your baby’s development as if they were four weeks younger than their chronological age (ie. the day they were born). Using the example above, if your baby was born at 36 weeks gestation and is four weeks premature, at five months old you would be measuring their skills at a four-month level. The adjusted age is used up until the age of two years.

The information in this guide is meant to provide a general scope of development during your child’s first four years. While much of this guide highlights typical development, it will also help you identify certain areas where your child may require additional support. No two children are alike and many develop at their own pace. Comparing your child to another in terms of development can feel heavy at times. We hope this guide will help you navigate each milestone while feeling supported.

With that being said, there are a few things we want to draw your attention to before we jump into the ages and stages:

  • 1 Babies (and kids) develop at their own pace.
  • 2 Developmental milestones are the markers to help us know that our babies are progressing and growing, adapting and changing. Physical development is a sequence of events, one milestone enabling the next. For example, before a baby can crawl, they have to strengthen muscles in their necks, their shoulders, their arms, their backs, and stomachs.
  • 3 Each milestone has an age range attached, which is used as a guide. Some babies develop before or after the age range listed, and that is okay, within a month or so. If there is a large discrepancy, then that would warrant further investigation.

First Year

Zero to Three Months (Fourth Trimester)

Hi! You’re here! And we know getting here isn’t always simple. Figuring out your baby can come with a few curveballs, too. Use this guide as you prepare for your new role – though nothing can prepare you for those first gummy smiles (or stinky blowouts). We encourage you just to embrace those moments as they come.

Ah, those fresh baby days. It may not seem like a lot is going on with regard to your baby’s development during the fourth trimester, but it really is a time of transition (for the both of you). You and your baby are taking on new roles and discovering a new way of being (and what it means to be exhausted).

As a parent, this fourth trimester asks a lot of you. It’s a time of great physical and emotional change. Your baby will mostly eat, sleep, and poop, and in turn, you’ll soak in some very cherished and sweet snuggles. Here are a few other things you can expect:

  • Skin-to-skin plays an important role. Being held close to you can regulate your baby’s heart rate, temperature, and breathing.
  • Primitive reflexes kick in, rooting and sucking, grasping, swimming (when placed in water), stepping reflex, asymmetric tonic neck reflex (looks like the fencing position), and the startle response.
  • At this age, baby’s can only see and follow things within 15-20cm from their face and prefer high contrast colors (like black, white, and red). Your baby will love looking at their hands and will already try to stick them in their mouth.
  • Beginning to grasp objects if put into their palm.

Four to Six Months

Parenting achievement unlocked! You made it through the newborn period (and those ‘round the clock feeds) – that deserves to be celebrated! Now, you’re entering a new stage with your baby, one where they are more alert, more interested in their environment, and more awake during the day.

As your baby becomes more alert and mobile, each day will bring new adventure – and it’s recommended those days start with *drum roll*…. tummy time

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics says a baby can start tummy time as early as their first day home from the hospital.
  • Tummy time is a great way to help your baby strengthen their muscles and gain more confidence on their belly (which is important once they start rolling).

Some babies hate tummy time which can feel discouraging. We get it! If your baby is still fussing in tummy time, practice is key. Even a minute or two a few times a day can help strengthen their neck muscles.

  • Remember: all babies develop at their own pace.
  • If your baby isn’t rolling yet, rolling them in and out of tummy time is a great way to encourage them to start.
  • Often babies will roll from their tummy to their back first (usually by accident because of their heavy head).
  • Moving from their back to their tummy comes second, but don’t worry if you initially see one and not the other.

When your baby is propped over your shoulder, you may notice their head is a bit more stable. (This is thanks to tummy time!) You may also see they’re starting to grab at things like your earrings or your hair – this is because they’ve just realized they have hands (and they’ll begin to use them with purpose).

  • Your baby will stick their hands in their mouth, use them to grab their feet, or reach for toys.
  • Your baby will use their mouth to discover the taste and texture of objects. It helps strengthen their tongue and other muscles needed to manipulate solid food and talk later on.

While it may feel like you need to engage with your baby around the clock, it’s actually healthy for them to explore some independence (here is where you can sneak in a hot coffee).

  • Use toys and activities that allow your baby to explore, move, and learn.
  • Your baby’s best play space is unrestricted and on the floor, inviting them to discover their bodies.

Around this age, your baby will start to recognize familiar faces, voices, and smells. It’s also when their personality starts to show. You’ll begin to see your baby express basic emotions such as happiness, anger, sadness, distress, and surprise. And you’ll notice your voice and touch bring them comfort. This is not manipulation! Soothing and snuggling your crying baby is entirely okay – it will not cause any bad habits. Another great perk of this age is the giggles! Your baby will start to anticipate familiar games (for example, become excited when tickled) and will laugh and smile when socially engaged. You may also hear babble closer to the end of this range.

There are many toys great for this period of development.

  • Various teething toys are popular, especially ones your baby can get into their mouth and explore with their tongue.
  • Different sensory balls and rings that move are fun, too!
  • To encourage reaching, try wobble toys. Babies love to bat at them and watch them wobble in place.
  • Rattles are also fun, as your baby can hold them, shake them, and put them into their mouth.
  • Another fun favorite is using a mirror. Babies love to look at themselves and are very interested in the “baby” looking back.

Seven to Nine Months

Look at this little person in front of you! A personality, a giggle, a one-of-a-kind smile…they quickly weave their way into your heart, don’t they? While you may be comparing your baby to those of friends and family, be mindful that many babies develop at their own pace, and this age is where you may see some of those gaps. Remember the three Ps: practice, patience, and babyproofing. Before we hop into this section, this is a gentle reminder to put a child lock on your toilet. You’ll thank us later.

It’s incredible how much can change in such a short period. Many babies are consistently rolling now, ideally rolling to both sides (if not, some baby bodywork can do wonders). Tummy time will (hopefully) be second nature at this age, and your baby will enjoy pushing up into their arms and lifting their head high. For yoga fanatics, think cobra pose.

With a whole world to explore, tummy time will get old quickly, and your baby will likely hit some “mini-milestones” around now.

  • They may begin to push themselves backward with their hands, rotate 360 degrees with their body, attempt an army crawl (pull themselves forward with their hands while pushing on their feet), and finally, a more fluid crawl.
  • Sitting is another milestone you may see at this stage! While some babies take a little bit longer to sit independently, many can get in and out of sitting and play while seated for some time.
  • You may notice your baby pulling themselves up to a standing position. To encourage these new developmental skills, you can put toys in different places and at different heights.

Is your baby eyeing your sandwich? Their interest in food is growing…and exploring food, whether purees or solids, is a ton of fun! Your baby may be interested in feeding themselves with a spoon or their hands; this is part of learning and exploration. Yes, it might be messy…but there’s nothing cuter than a baby with spaghetti on its head.

  • Food introduction is less about the calories and more about exploring different tastes, smells, textures, sizes, and working to move the muscles of the mouth, cheeks, jaw, and tongue.
  • As with every new skill, your baby needs lots of practice to get proficient in managing different foods, so make sure to offer a variety of nutritious options.

The seven to nine-month age range is also when imitation becomes a big part of play and development.

  • Your baby will enjoy imitating motor play (i.e., clapping or drumming) and even sounds.
  • A fun game at this age is peek-a-boo.
  • Your baby is starting to develop object/person permanence and will begin to search for a missing object/person.

Now that your baby knows you exist, they may grow anxious when you disappear. Separation anxiety is part of development and may cause clinginess, night waking, difficulty settling to sleep, and even crying when you’re not in sight.

  • Practicing safe separation during the day can help your baby learn people, and things do come back! For example, try placing your baby in their crib with some toys and then “pop out” to grab a laundry bin.
  • Coming right back teaches your baby that you will return, and they are still safe when you are gone.

Another thing you may notice around this age is your baby becoming more proficient with their hands and smaller toys. They are beginning to demonstrate the pincer grasp (i.e., using thumb and index finger together), transferring objects between their hands, banging toys together, throwing toys (especially off the high chair), and touching toys or an adult’s hand to restart an activity.

  • Cause and effect toys are wonderful at this age, and mirrors are still a big hit.
  • Anything that can be easily grasped, held, and thrown is ideal (egg shakers, rattles, smaller balls), and bubbles can be magical and mesmerizing.
  • Your baby will still only focus on any one activity for a minute or two before losing interest or getting distracted. This will gradually lengthen as they get older.
  • Everything will still go into their mouth at this age.
  • You will notice more babbling with consonant/vowel sounds (da, dee, ba, ma) and perhaps some “shouting” for attention.

Ten to Twelve Months

It probably seems like just yesterday you were preparing for your baby’s arrival – and now they’re turning one. It’s incredible how much has changed for you both this year. While your baby has grown and developed in leaps and bounds, don’t forget to pat yourself on the back for all of the love, support, and guidance you offered that got them there.

Your baby is on the move (this means you are, too)! From tummy to sitting to rolling, crawling on hands and knees, pulling to stand, and maybe even cruising along the furniture – they sure are busy. You may even see your baby let go when they stand and take some unassisted steps for a few seconds. Expect to release a celebratory screech like you’ve never heard before when this happens.

Your baby may actively explore their environment and move through positions with ease.

  • To encourage increased movement, you can start to make some simple obstacle courses at home by placing toys at various heights or in tunnels. Place some cushions on the ground and entice your baby to crawl over them.
  • They can practice picking things up from the floor (usually through a squat) and putting them into a bucket at a slightly higher surface.
  • Make use of push and pull toys.
  • Standing and playing on the outside of an exersaucer is another excellent way to build strength while having fun!
  • Babies often love to bounce and move as they dance to music, so turn up the tunes and have a dance party

Mealtime will hit a new level of excitement as well!

  • Your baby will be interested in various foods and want to use a spoon, fork, and even an open cup on their own (they will still need help initially).
  • They will start to help with dressing by pushing their arms or legs through clothing, and they love to take off their own socks and shoes!

Your baby’s pincer grasp will become more refined, and they may start to pick up smaller objects (watch out for choking hazards) or poke things using their index finger.

  • Toys that promote pushing buttons to pop up a toy, putting balls into a chute, putting pegs into a board, and even putting some simple shapes into a shape sorter.
  • Ring stacks, stacking cups, or small wooden blocks can provide lots of opportunities for laughter and fun (the best part is knocking them over!)

By ten to twelve months, your baby will begin clapping and waving more consistently and will start to enjoy turning thicker pages in a board book. They may even point to pictures in the book, so reading becomes more of a two-sided activity. Peek-a-boo is still very engaging, and babies love to search for hidden objects at this age.

Separation anxiety is still at play because of your baby’s increased independence, and they may show a clear preference for one or two adults.

13-18 Months

Que the waterworks – your baby is officially a toddler. How did this happen so fast? And speaking of fast, they’re starting to pick up speed. Welcome to the busy season (it’s face-paced but tons of fun).

By this age, you may have a walker! Your toddler is now quickly cruising along furniture, and many have taken their first independent steps. Please don’t be concerned if your toddler is not walking until 18-months. Remember, some babies meet their milestones at the early end of the range, while others follow a bit more slowly.

Your baby may actively explore their environment and move through positions with ease.

  • Most toddlers typically walk between 12-18 months (any time in this range is totally fine, but if your toddler isn’t showing signs of walking by 18 months, it is worth getting some additional support to help them along).
  • Your toddler will enjoy exploring, including walking up and down the stairs (with support).
  • If they haven’t started climbing the furniture (count yourself lucky), you might see that too!
  • Pushing and pulling wheeled toys and throwing and kicking a ball are fun activities at this stage. toddlers typically walk between 12-18 months (any time in this range is totally fine, but if your toddler isn’t showing signs of walking by 18 months, it is worth getting some additional support to help them along).

To help your toddler channel their energy, it’s good to get to know your local playground and indoor play gyms.

  • Simple indoor climbing sets are a great first-birthday gift (if you have the space).
  • Making obstacle courses at home is a great way to encourage development while allowing your toddler the physical activity they need.
  • Most toddlers will be able to squat efficiently or bend over to pick up toys without falling.

Mealtime will still be messy! But, your toddler will be eating and drinking more independently now. Mess is a good thing – it means they’re learning

  • allow them independence.
  • A child-size table and chair are an excellent alternative for snack and meal times, especially if your toddler starts to resist sitting in their highchair.
  • The grow-with-me toddler chairs are an excellent investment and will take you through the elementary school age.
  • Your toddler will start being more involved in washing their hands, wiping their face, and brushing teeth.

Toddlers learn through experience, and allowing them the opportunity to do it themselves may reduce some resistance to having things done for them. You may also notice that your toddler enjoys pretend play and likes to feed, dress, and care for their dolls.

Toddlers at this age still enjoy the hiding aspects of peek-a-boo, but they’re ready to expand to hide-and-seek. You’ll hear them giggle up a storm as you search endlessly for them (in the silliest of places). Toddlers also enjoy quiet activities such as scribbling with crayons, playing with cars, building with blocks, and simple puzzles. Sensory and messy play can offer hours of fun, too. Think Play-Doh, paints, shaving cream, sensory bins, and more. Your toddler may also start to enjoy more complex cause and effect toys like wind-up toys (expect to wind them up over and over again). Their attention span is a bit longer, and they can usually play on their own for about five to ten minutes.

Toddlers start to become more social at this age and enjoy being around other children – but don’t expect them to “play” or interact just yet. This is the age of parallel (side-by-side) play. Your toddler may also begin matching colors and simple objects, turn thinner pages in a book, point to a body part or specific objects, and also follow simple commands (i.e., “come here,” “sit on the chair,” “put in,” etc.). Though they are developing more language and sounds at this age, their words are likely approximations and often point to things they want.

19-24 Months

Your toddler is picking up speed (and never seems to slow down). Grab your running shoes as they explore just how fast those little legs can go.

Your toddler is growing their special awareness and can navigate obstacles more effectively – unfortunately, this doesn’t mean fewer bumps and bruises. They will also explore their body and may try walking on their tiptoes or heels. Want to make them laugh? Try walking backward; they may even follow suit.

Around this age, toddlers become more skilled in using the smaller muscles of their hands. You may notice a greater ability to interact with toys requiring fine motor skills such as unscrewing caps or knobs, nesting cups, more extensive puzzles, and placing the correct shape into the shape sorter.

  • Your toddler will likely still hold their crayon with a fisted grasp instead of the more mature tripod grasp we have as adults.
  • Shorter and thicker crayons and markers will be the easiest for your toddler to use at this age.
  • Messy play is still a fan favorite, including Play-Doh, sand, Jell-O, and other sensory items.

Pretend play continues to mature during this age, especially around everyday activities like caring for a doll, cooking in the kitchen and playing house, cleaning, and grocery shopping. Puppet play can be a fun way to mix things up. Being just like you is the most fun! And your child will likely want to help you do daily activities like cooking, cleaning, and the laundry – allow them to participate. Not only are you spending some quality time together while getting necessary chores done, but you are also encouraging their development and learning of those things, too!

Reading is a great developmental activity for toddlers, but don’t expect them to sit still for an entire book. You can read to them while they climb all over you or on the couch. Be flexible in where you start the book and how much you read (they may want to start in the middle and not sit through it from start to finish). Let them guide you, even if you’re only reading one to two pages at a time.

This is also the age when your toddler will start to test boundaries and want to experiment more with their newfound independence. You will often hear them say, “me do” - go ahead and let them try. Make sure to plan some extra time into your day to allow the many, many attempts.

Two to three years old (24-36 months)

Your active toddler is getting busier and busier. They’re also getting more vocal about their growing independence! While this is often a challenge for parents – it’s a challenge for your toddler, too – everything is new! Is there such thing as a toddler support group? We think there should be.

Your toddler is becoming more proficient on the playground jungle gym at this age - climbing up and down the ladders, going down a small slide (and likely trying to climb up it as well).

  • They’ll find tremendous joy in jumping (especially in puddles) off small steps or balancing along sidewalks or wooden garden edges like a balance beam.
  • Will enjoy throwing and kicking a ball and may try to do this while running.
  • This is the perfect age to try a tricycle or balance bike.

Are you raising a future engineer? Many toddlers love to build at this age. Whether it’s train tracks, towers, or Duplo – building and taking things apart will keep your toddler’s interest.

  • They will enjoy placing rings onto a toy and be able to do them in order of size or even color.
  • Their curiosity for books and stories will grow, especially books that have tactile components or flaps.
  • Pretend play will still be a significant component of play, and they will still love helping around the house.

Scribbles are starting to look more like lines and shapes, and your toddler may be able to copy a vertical or horizontal line or a circle. This is also the age when they start to show interest in zipping zippers and buttoning/unbuttoning (just make sure buttons are on the larger size as their little hands are still learning to work intricately).

Three to Four Years

Three years

Just like the first year of your baby’s life, the toddler years come with a lot of growth and learning (both for you and your kiddo). While you’re nearing the end of the toddler years, there is so much fun ahead and much to look forward to.

The only real way to start this section on development is by asking one simple question: why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? At three years old, your child’s brain works hard to connect the dots in their new and fascinating world. They’re curious and seeking to understand the big world around them…this comes with many questions, the big one being “why.” This is a good thing! Brain development is rapid at this age, and asking “why” questions can help increase security and confidence.

Speaking of confidence…your kiddo will be testing the limits of their body and its movements.

  • Skills such as throwing, catching, kicking, running, jumping, and even galloping or skipping will become more coordinated.
  • They’ll reach new heights at the playground – climbing everything within reach: ladders, stairs, and even slides.
  • Swinging high in the sky will thrill them, as will playing in the sandbox with their peers.
  • You may even notice a new (and sometimes fierce) determination for independence.
  • Three-year-olds require less hands-on support, so feel free to let them explore!

Your kiddo is ready to put that peddle to the metal with new coordination skills!

  • Tricycles, balance bikes, and other ride-on/in toys are great fun and a wonderful way to incorporate activity into their day.
  • Children often enjoy pushing/pulling wagons, carts, or strollers.

Another thing you may notice is that their fine motor skills are becoming more refined and precise.

  • Your child’s pencil grasp may still be immature, but they will start to show more control of the pencil and even demonstrate more of a tripod grasp at times.
  • Scribbles will have more definition, and their drawings will resemble shapes and forms.
  • Most children can draw vertical and horizontal lines at this age, along with simple shapes, such as a circle.
  • Some children explore tracing and copying the letters of their name.

Craft time will also hit a new level! Depending on their opportunities for practice, your child may be able to open and close scissors and start to cut simple straight lines across the paper. They’ll love creating at this age and will have lots of fun playing with glue, pom poms, sparkles, and more! Hand preference (i.e., using the same hand for one activity and perhaps a different hand for another activity) is usually formed by about two to three years of age. It is pretty standard for children at this age to use different hands for different activities (i.e., right hand for cutting, left hand for coloring, left or right for eating). Hand dominance (using the same hand for most activities) doesn’t start until four to six years.

As for other activities, there are many options for exploration and play!

  • Your kiddo will likely be ready to interlock larger puzzles (six to12 pieces is a good number to aim for).
  • Stringing beads and lacing shapes are another great way to practice those fine motor skills and keep your child busy.
  • You may also notice more creativity while playing with modeling clay or Play-Doh.

Children this age also love sorting and organizing! While I’m sure we’d love their help with the laundry – organizing a small pile of toys (such as cars) into color, size, and category is much more fun.

  • Make the most of clean-up time and encourage your child to sort their toys into appropriate bins and buckets.
  • Your three-year-old will also enjoy pouring from one container to another, so allow them to practice this in the kitchen while baking or cooking together.

At three years, your child will likely be able to take their clothes off independently and start putting them on alone, but don’t be surprised if they still ask for your help at times. It is 100% okay to help them when they need it. They will still need help with clothing fasteners, but let them experiment in trying some or all of them on their own. Your child will also enjoy some autonomy in choosing their own clothes. Giving them a choice of two options is best, as more will likely overwhelm them and make a choice more difficult (and time-consuming).

Four years

Four years old – wow. It feels like you blinked, didn’t it? It’s true what they say. The days are long, but the years are short. With the baby and toddler days officially behind you, you’re entering a new season of parenting. Your child is entering a new season, too. You’ll begin to see their personality shine in an entirely new way. Conversations will expand, and you’ll learn more about their thoughts, opinions, and desires. It’s okay to mourn those baby days, but something extraordinary is on the horizon.

While age three was about learning new skills, age four is about putting them to the test! Many of the skills your child developed over the last year will become more refined and coordinated – they’ll also get faster at doing them, too! You’ll want to prepare your nerves as they begin to experiment with jumping from higher surfaces, hopping on one foot, and pumping their legs on the swing. This age is all about keeping up with the “big kids,”– and it’s okay to let them try! Physical activity continues to be important and will come with new challenges. Climbing equipment, whether indoors or outdoors, is crucial for developing balance, coordination, and core strength.

Their artistic skills will continue to expand in terms of fine motor skills!

  • Painting and arts and crafts are a wonderful way to encourage creativity and develop those fine motor skills.
  • Scissor skills are also getting more refined. Folding paper and cutting with scissors can be a time-consuming yet straightforward activity. Don’t expect your child to be able to cut along a straight line just yet – but you may notice they can cut some shapes. you can also start to introduce new games and activities into their play! Board games, cards, and more intricate puzzles (12–24-pieces) are great examples of this.

Dressing and undressing have come a long way, but things like zippers and fasteners still require practice.

  • Allow your children to try it themselves.
  • Set aside time for practice when the clothes are off their body

Something you may struggle with during this period of parenting is your expectations. While your child is four-years-old and appears to be a “big kid,” they’re not always ready for “big kid” expectations. Their brain is still developing and very immature.

  • Meltdowns, throwing toys, hitting siblings, and even biting kids at school can still happen.
  • Your preschooler may still show impulsive behaviors and continue to hit and scream occasionally.
  • They can still only focus on one thing at a time and even get so caught up in their play that they won’t hear you call them for dinner.

You might also notice some bossiness at this age, but your child is just trying to exert independence while navigating their increased cognitive abilities.

Here’s the good news! Some strategies and resources can help you navigate their budding minds (and stubborn ways).

  • Routines around bedtime, dinner, clean-up time, and so on can benefit both parents and their children.
  • Singing songs while you do parts of the routine (i.e., the clean-up song) can be helpful to guide the transitions between activities as well.

“It’s not about the toys, the stimulation, and the entertainment. The type of play children need is where expression and exploration are coming from within them to construct, build, create – it is not a passive activity….[this type of play] does not typically unfold from activities with a lot of structure and rules, as this tends to confine and take the lead in terms of play. - Deborah MacNamara

You made it! You have officially reached the end of this guide and now you know a little bit more about what to expect at each age and stage of your child’s development in the first four years.

Perhaps you have some questions. Maybe you have a gut feeling there might be something going on with your little one. Perhaps they are not meeting some of these skills you have read about. You might be wondering when to seek additional support or guidance.

The best way to know when to seek additional support is to trust your parental instincts. If you suspect that your baby or young child might have some delays in certain areas, then I encourage you to trust those instincts. You’ll want to find someone trained in the particular area of concern, and usually someone with expertise with the pediatric population.

This could be a pediatric speech and language therapist for language or feeding concerns, an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) for breastfeeding or bottle feeding questions, or a physical or occupational therapist for concerns around motor milestones. Occupational therapists can also help with fine motor, play skills, sensory processing differences, and feeding or picky eating. You may also need an assessment done by a Developmental Pediatrician if you feel like there is something more going on such as ADHD or Autism. Again, you will want to reach out to the professionals, be specific about your concerns and ask the respective provider if they can help with those specific concerns before you commit to the appointment or assessment.


Advance for Occupational Therapy Practitioners. Developmental Milestones: When It’s Time to Be Concerned. Patient Handout

M. Rhonda Folio and Rebecca R. Fewell. Peabody Developmental Motor Scales | Second Edition. 2000

Revised HELP (Hawaii Early Learning Profile) Checklist by Furuno et al. and the HELP Strands by Stephanie Parks. Vort Corporation. 1994