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Health & Baby

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Is Your Baby on Track?

Check WebMD's timeline of childhood milestones and learn the signs of developmental delays.

Early Intervention Is Key continued...

Language delays are of particular concern to a child's academic potential. "If children have significant language delays at age 2, there's a chance of learning problems later on," Bailey says. So how early should you take action? "Even at 12 months, if you have a child that's really quiet, that's not babbling or doesn't respond to your voice, get an evaluation."

Free developmental assessments are available through state agencies, and federal law mandates free and appropriate interventions for all children with disabilities. To find resources in your state, visit the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities.

How Parents Can Help

The experts we spoke with suggest the following tips for encouraging your child's development:

Gross Motor Skills

  • Place infants on their tummies while awake to develop neck and back muscles
  • Create a safe home environment and put babies on the floor to explore
  • Give older children time outside where they can run and jump

Fine Motor Skills

  • Provide toys with different textures that encourage babies to explore with their fingers
  • Provide age-appropriate puzzles, blocks, paper, and crayons
  • Encourage older babies to feed themselves

Language Skills

  • Play music for newborns to stimulate hearing
  • Talk to your child
  • Read to your child
  • Name objects as you point to pictures in a book

Social Interaction

  • Laugh and smile with your baby
  • Limit television and play with your child

"Social interaction is more important than we realized in the past," Yeargin-Allsopp tells WebMD. "Don't leave children off by themselves. Being engaged with your child on a daily basis is very important."

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Reviewed on May 12, 2008

Baby's First Year Newsletter

Because every week matters, get expert advice and facts on what to expect in your baby's first year.

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