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Milestones of Development: Overview

Milestones of development are major turning points in childhood that help organize or direct other aspects of a child's development. Milestones occur in every area of development: physical and motor, social and emotional, and cognitive. Almost everyone experiences these environmental (e.g., nutrition and culture) factors. Not reaching a milestone or an extreme variation in timing may have an influence on the child's later development. One example of a physical milestone is the development of the ability to walk. Walking, rather than crawling, opens up the toddler's physical and perceptual world. A major social-emotional milestone is the development of an attachment to a major caregiver during the infant's first year. Secure attachment has been found to promote the child's later social and cognitive development.


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Hay, Dale, and A. Angold. Precursors and Causes in Development and Psychopathology. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1993.

Lee, Kang. Childhood Cognitive Development: The Essential Readings. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2000.

Diane E. Wille

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Social Issues ReferenceChild Development Reference - Vol 5