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From the moment parents greet their newborn, they watch the baby's progress eagerly, anticipating every inch of growth and each new developmental milestone along the way. The first several years of a child's life is a time of amazing change, during which babies become toddlers and toddlers become little boys and little girls. Listed below are resources that will help your track your child’s development and provide support if you have questions.
 
Use the bulleted links below to quickly access the information you want.
  • Early Development (Ages & Stages)
  • Social and Emotional Development
  • Partnering with Your Child’s Pediatrician
  • Developmental milestones are skills, or age-specific tasks, that most children learn within a certain age range. Your pediatrician may ask you about milestones to help check how your child is developing. Although each milestone has an age level, the actual age when a “typically” developing child reaches that milestone can vary quite a bit. The following resources provide milestone checklists, and information that can help you track your child’s development, or find help if you have a question or concern.
    • Developmental Milestones for Babies -The March of Dimes’ Pregnancy & Newborn Health Education Center offers great developmental milestone information concerning your baby’s first year of life.  The milestones on this site are only guidelines.  Your baby’s health care provider will evaluate your baby’s development at each well-baby visit. Remember: Always talk to child’s health care professional if you think your baby is lagging behind. 
    • Developmental Milestones: The First Five Years - The Center for Disease and Control offers parents the tools they need for learning their child’s developmental markers for the first five years of life. Skills such as taking a first step, smiling for the first time, and waving "bye-bye" are called developmental milestones. Children reach milestones in how they play, learn, speak, behave, and move (crawling, walking, etc.). 
      -WEDU: Public Broadcasting System offers the ABC’s of Child Development. Children grow and develop at different rates.  The information presented in this site offers a map that can help you follow your child’s growing journey.
      -Birth to Five: Watch Me Thrive ~ Children & Families website to encourage healthy child development.
    • Developmental Stages: The First Five Years & Beyond - The American Academy of Pediatrics is a great resource for getting some of those frequently asked questions answered during your child’s developmental stages (from infancy to adolescence).
      -Healthy Children, supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics, helps parents learn about their child’s development from the prenatal period through young adulthood 
      -Kids Health will help prepare you on what to expect as your child grows.  Learn now to understand and deal with your child’s changing body and mind from infancy through the teen years.
    • Developmental Red Flags
      -First Signs - list red flags that may indicate a child is at risk for autism spectrum disorder, and is in need of an immediate evaluation.
    • Early Brain Development - Zero to Three: The first three years of life are a period of incredible growth in all areas of a baby's development. A newborn's brain is about 25 percent of its approximate adult weight. But by age 3, it has grown dramatically by producing billions of cells and hundreds of trillions of connections, or synapses, between these cells. Parents and caregivers can help children get off to a good start and establish healthy patterns for life-long learning.
    • Supporting Early Developmental Delays: Screening, Assessments and Services
      -Early Steps Children’s Medical Services through the Sarasota Memorial Health Care System assures that early intervention services and supports are available to children with developmental delays from birth to 36 months of age.
      -Florida Diagnostic Learning Resource System (FDLRS) accessed through the Sarasota County School District assists parents/caregivers in locating, identifying and obtaining services for children with disabilities or special needs.  In addition FDLRS screens children and youth to determine if they need to be formally evaluated and more.
      -The Florida Center for Early Childhood, Inc. Early Intervention Services provided by The Florida Center employ a comprehensive, family-centered team approach to support the development of infants, toddlers, and young children. Helping children achieve their highest potential requires time, patience, sensitivity and resources.

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    A child’s social-emotional skills drive her to learn to communicate, connect with others, resolve conflict, and cope with challenges. They give her the confidence she needs to reach goals, and the ability to persist in the face of difficulty. Like other important milestones babies and toddlers achieve in the first three years—such as walking and talking—developing social-emotional skills takes times, practice, and lots of patience from parents and caregivers. Unlike learning to walk and talk, however, social-emotional skills are not as easy to see. But when we learn to read our child’s cues in order to understand what she may be thinking and feeling, we are supporting her healthy development in all areas, including her social-emotional skills. Learning about healthy social-emotional development, spending unhurried time with your child, and providing opportunities to socialize with others, will all help build your child’s social-emotional skills and prepare them for success. The following resources help you learn what you can do to support social-emotional development in your child.
    • Becoming a Big Brother or Sister - Becoming a big brother or big sister is a big event in a small person's life.  To help make this transition as smooth as possible for child and family, Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) offers children who are "expecting" a new brother/sister.  To learn click on the SMH link above.
    • Developing Your Child Through Play - When your children play with you, they are also learning - that they are loved and important and that they are fun to be around. These social-emotional skills give them the self-esteem and self-confidence they need to continue building loving and supportive relationships all their lives.  To learn more visit Zero to Three
    • Parent/Child Socialization Play Groups - Sarasota County Library offers a variety of programs for parents/caregivers and their children, from story time to play groups.
      -Partners in Play by Forty Carrots is a class held at the library that follows an engaging curriculum that allows parents to share meaningful playtime with their children.
      -First Presbyterian Preschool presents Small Beginning classes that introduce babies and toddlers (up to 30 months) to a pre-school atmosphere with the comfort of mommy, daddy or caretaker present.
      -The Gan School offers a Mommy & Me program for parents and their toddlers that is designed to enhance your child's social, emotional, and intellectual development. - Sarasota Memorial Hospital's Mommies and Babies Get Together program brings moms, with their babies, together weekly to share joys, frustrations, tips and companionship.
    • Tips and Tools on Promoting Social Emotional Health - Zero to Three is a great resource for promoting your child's social emotional development.

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    Choosing your child’s primary health care provider is an important decision.  A trusting relationship between a child, a child’s family and the pediatric health care provider is a valuable support in keeping your child healthy.  Ensure that your doctor is up-to-date on the latest medical advances and supports your health choices. Check out the Keeping Children Healthy and Active section for more information.

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