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Our Blog: April 27, 2012

Fantastic Firsts – 5 Surprising Milestones To Celebrate

These Fantastic Firsts aren’t what you’re expecting. Sure, walking, talking, potty training, and the other usual milestones are impressive. But developmental experts really get excited about these lesser-known gems that display even more complex leaps in development:

  1.  First “Conversation” (3-6 months): Those lovely back-and-forth exchanges of “oohs,” “aahs,” and sweet glances prove that your baby – even at this tender, young age – is working hard to learn to communicate with you. Your little one is already a gifted conversationalist!
  2. First Point (8-10 months): This simple gesture proves your baby is cognitively more advanced than any other species on the planet. Humans are the only species that try to show others something interesting from a distance, sharing the experience in the process. The Powerful Point is also the precursor to abstract thinking and communication (think math, learning about new things, and about spatial relationships). All in one cute, pudgy little finger!
  3. First “No” (1-2 years): Not too excited about this one? You should be. Saying “no” proves your baby knows that he’s his own person – separate from his parents – and is comfortable asserting his opinions. Spunky, self-confident toddlers tackle learning wholeheartedly, and bounce back more easily from disappointments and frustrations. Say “yes” to “no”!
  4. First Dramatic Play (18-20 months): It’s not just a tea party. Your toddler is using her imagination, memory, and persistence to learn language, social skills, problem-solving, and self-control. Each playacted scene is a masterful display of creativity, storytelling, memory, and emotional regulation. Bravo!
  5. First Empathy (3-4 years): First signs of empathy peek out even earlier, but by 3 or 4 your preschooler is showing a full-fledged appreciation of the feelings of others. Understanding someone else’s perspective requires your little guy to set aside his own. It also calls upon him to imagine how others must think and feel, despite the fact that he might feel differently. This fantastic milestone is the first sign your tot is well on his way to becoming a caring, moral person. Great job, Mom and Dad!

That’s a lot of work for a little noggin – and now you have five more Fantastic Firsts to celebrate!


About the Author

Dr. Heather Wittenberg

Dr. Wittenberg is a psychologist specializing in the development of babies, toddlers, preschoolers — and parents. She offers no-hype, practical parenting advice on her blog BabyShrink — rooted in science, and road tested in her own home as the mother of four young children. She has helped thousands of parents over the years and knows that the most common problems with young children — sleep, feeding, potty training and behavior — can be the most difficult ones to solve.