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Early Childhood Development Guidelines Keep Parents and Kids on Track


This month, many organizations offer tips for caregivers and their children. From keeping kids active to feeding them properly, there are a variety of ideas on how to make sure our military children are happy and healthy. There is no one size fits all approach because each child is unique and develops at his or her own pace. There are benchmarks, however, to help you determine if your child is developing at a pace similar to their peers and it is important for parents to be aware of these markers to get help when they need it.

According to the National Institutes of Health, your child will have more pediatric well-child visits when they are younger and developing the fastest. Health care providers will record your child's height, weight, and in some visits, hearing, vision, and other screening tests. These “other” tests examine whether your child is meeting normal growth and developmental milestones for their age. Age groups are typically divided into five categories:

  • Infant/newborn
  • Toddler
  • Preschooler 
  • School-age child 
  • Adolescent

These visits are prime opportunities for communication with your child’s health care provider.  It is important to take an active role in the care of your child, especially if you believe he or she may have a developmental delay. Write down questions and bring them with you to your appointments.  Additionally, you can expect to be given information about normal development, nutrition, sleep, safety, diseases that are "going around," and other important topics such as what to expect as your child grows up.

TRICARE covers visits, immunizations and vision screenings for beneficiaries from birth to age six as part of well-child care. For more information about this benefit, visit For a list of developmental milestones, visit the NIH’s Developmental Milestone Record.

Last Updated 1/22/2016