The speedy physical and psychological changes that children undergo from birth through adolescence often leave parents and caregivers wondering how best to engage and help them. The process of child development includes everything from sensory awareness and fine motor skills to language and socialization. The progress of development is strongly influenced by a child's genetic makeup, environment, and cognitive skills.
Parents and medical professionals frequently use developmental milestones, such as when a child learns to speak or read, to track that child’s growth relative to their peers. These milestones can in some cases help identify any learning disabilities or behavioral problems a child may have, so that they can be addressed early, but it is important to note that these benchmarks may have no bearing on a child's ultimate capabilities.