Your child rely on you from the first instance as a cell to all the way until he or she learns to use speech to communicate with you. Their first 3 years are essential as they have yet to acquire verbal skills. Their form of communication is much from their cries and behavior. As a parent, you need to rely on your observation (and parent’s instinct) to figure out your child’s needs. You would try out various ruling out techniques and eventually in tuned with each of your child’s cry – whether it is hunger, nappy change or restlessness. Their skills and development can be monitored and observed to ensure your child is growing the way you would like them to be.

Researchers and doctors have developed various tools to track and monitor’s a child’s development. With accessible information, parents can play an active role in tracking your child’s growth, too. Doctors rely on parent’s input before making decisions on the next course of action – should they continue to monitor or further checks are required on your child.

Developmental Checklist

This is a useful guide for parents to check off and monitor your child’s progress. Developed by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USA, it includes what your child should be able to do at the respective age, what to look out for and activities parents can do to support your child in their development.

The checklist covers child 2-, 4-, 6-, 9-months, 1 year, 18 months, 2, 3, 4 and 5 years. CDC has also developed a Milestone Tracker app that allows you to track from your mobile. It also allows adjustment to be made if your child is premature.

Check the link here.

Regular Doctor’s Visit

During your child’s regular doctor’s visit or during your child’s immunization appointment, your doctor (or nurse) would ask questions to check if your child has achieved certain milestones. During these visits, you can also ask your doctor on diet, exercise or sleep pattern expected of your child. Make notes during your daily observation and list down the questions you would like your doctor to clarify.

You can also ask for recommendation for resources, books or sites from your doctor to read up and learn more about your child.

Red flags and concerns

If your child is missing a milestone or you are concerned of certain behavior of your child, to secure a separate appointment with your child’s doctor. This may take several trips as your doctor would want to gather information on your concern. Your notes and observation will be helpful to your doctor on the next course of action.

Other red flags that you may observe could be

  • Not making sound
  • Does not respond to sound or name
  • Does not smile at people
  • Cannot lift head or hold head up during tummy time

Recommendation / Referrals

After the initial assessment, your doctor may refer you to child developmental specialist for further assessment or diagnosis. In Malaysia, there are only a handfuls of these doctors, thus, waiting time to secure an appointment can be long. Meanwhile, you can obtain your doctor’s initial assessment and check with him / her on what should you to while you wait for the specialist.

Depending on your doctor’s initial assessment on the area of development to look into for your child, you may seek external therapy services to start the intervention plan for your child while waiting for developmental specialist.

Each therapist will run their own assessment to identify gaps or areas to work on for your child. Then, they would be able to present and advise on plan to support your child.


Do keep a daily log of your child’s behavior or area of concern. Note the frequency and timing of behavior or event. Your child’s doctor will need input from you. The doctor is a good resource to go to for any concern regarding your child’s development.

If you need any further information, feel free to contact us for an information session.

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