Early Childhood (Birth-5)

Watching your child grow and learn is one of the most exciting parts of being a parent. Understanding what milestones they should be reaching and at what time can be a fun way to track your child’s progress and feel confident in knowing when to ask questions.

Early Childhood Development

A child grows and develops the most between birth and the age of 5 years old. By the age of 3, a child has reach 80 percent of their adult brain volume.

During the 0 to 5 age range, children learn about their world though sounds and exploration. Reading to your baby will help them develop thinking skills, increase understanding of language, and develop social-emotional skills. Reading to your child will also positively impact their self-esteem and imagination development, as well as improve their sleeping pattern.
Here are some places to start, Baby’s Busy Day book and get started with ASQ.

Establishing routines and patterns with your child during the 0 to 5 years plays a key role in their healthy development. Routines and patterns create confidence and security in a child’s surroundings. What does a developmentally appropriate routine for this age look like? Try to stick to the same bedtime, mealtime and wake up time every day. The whole day does not have to be planned and scheduled. Uncertainty is scary for a child. Keeping consistency in these areas will lead to easier transitions and less tears, for everyone!  
Parents as Teachers Program Locator and Early Childhood and Infant Learning Programs Statewide

Parenting is hard work! During these early years, taking care of yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally is just as important as the care of your child. From 0 to 5 years of age, children learn through observing their parents and caregiver’s behaviors. Caring for yourself and modeling healthy habits for your child will teach children to do the same for themselves. Modeling healthy behaviors for your child establishes boundaries and sets the framework on teaching your child the importance of them. 

Help Me Grow Alaska can help your get connected to parenting support groups, parenting classes or establish care with a mental health provider.

Screening and Monitoring

Track how your child is doing through both developmental monitoring (sometimes called developmental surveillance) and through development screening.

Developmental monitoring is the process of being aware of developmental milestones and observing your child over time to see if they reach age-appropriate milestones. Developmental monitoring is a great way to see your child grow as well as to be able to answer questions from your child’s health care provider about how they are doing, as well as a way to address your concerns if you think your child is not meeting an expected milestone. Always speak with your child’s health care provider if you have a concern about your child’s development.

Developmental screening is a standardized set of questions about different aspects of a child’s abilities, including language, movement, thinking, behavior, and emotions. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends every child be screened at 9, 18, and 24-30 months or whenever a caregiver has a concern. Going through the process of a developmental screen can be both fun and educational for you and for your child. Many tools used to assess development are ones children already engage in or view as games. When done with a caregiver, it can give ideas for new activities to try with your child as well as help you understand the types of skills your child may be developing at each new stage of their life.

It is important to ensure your child receives screening so you as a caregiver can help encourage healthy development, and also to identify potential areas of concern early. Many potential delays, if caught early, can be monitored or addressed so children do not experience long-term effects.

Learn more about your child’s developmental milestones.

Watching your child grow and learn is one of the most exciting parts of being a parent. Understanding what milestones they should be reaching and at what time can be a fun way to track your child’s progress and feel confident in knowing when to ask questions.

Tools and Resources

Some medical and childcare providers offer screenings on a regular basis as a part of well-child checks or through their programmatic curriculum. If your child has not been screened, you can access screening for free through Help Me Grow Alaska.

There are many validated tools for developmental screening. Help Me Grow Alaska uses the Ages and Stages Questionnaire® version 3 (ASQ 3®) both on paper and online. Click on the buttons on this page to access an online screening or call one of our Family Support Specialists to be mailed a paper copy.

ASQ/Developmental Screening

The Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) provides developmental and social-emotional screening for children between birth and age 6. The ASQ serves as a method for professionals to evaluate a child’s progress, assist parents in recognizing and celebrating their child’s achievements, provide guidance on what developmental milestones to anticipate, and assess whether further actions or interventions are necessary. Additionally, it plays an important role as the initial measure in identifying potential delays or disorders in the crucial early years before a child embarks on their formal education journey.

Family Support Specialists from Help Me Grow Alaska are available and ready to help! Contact a Family Support Specialist now to ask questions or get started.

Contact a Family Support Specialist


Is your child showing signs of autism? Do you need assistance in obtaining an autism diagnosis for your child? Are you looking for resources and services to support children diagnosed with autism?

If you suspect that your child may have autism, it’s important to consult with healthcare professionals, such as pediatricians or child psychologists, for a comprehensive diagnostic assessment. Early intervention programs, educational support, behavioral therapy, speech and language therapy, and occupational therapy are among the resources available for children diagnosed with autism. Connect with local or online support groups, explore community resources, and check with autism organizations for additional information and assistance. Investigate government programs and insurance coverage to ensure that your child receives the necessary support and services. Remember that resources may vary based on your location, Help Me Grow Alaska Family Support Specialists can tailor support to your child’s specific needs, in the state of Alaska.