Child Development by Ages
Here are some guidelines for each age group, which help you understand your child's potential. Everyone develops differently, but most children reach these milestones by a certain age. Click on the bar below to find out more about each age.
4 - 6 months
Your baby is becoming more social these days. Your baby will smile more often, and begin to laugh. Your baby will enjoy playing simple games with you. In these games, you and your baby will take turns doing something that delights the other. Your baby learns that her actions can cause a reaction in her surroundings. As your baby gains better muscle control, she is able to really explore her world around her. When your baby is asleep, make sure he lying on his back.
What your child can see, hear and feel:
Your baby's vision is still improving and he or she should be able to focus on objects as far away as three feet! Your baby can follow objects up-and-down as well as side-to-side. He or she is beginning to differentiate between objects that are closer and farther away. Your baby also likes to look at his or her hands and feet, and can look back and forth at two different things.
Social and emotional development:
As your baby understands his or her relationship to you better, your baby will become more active in getting your attention. Your baby may respond differently to the voice of a stranger, than to your voice or the voice of someone familiar to them. This is great because this also means they are recognizing people that they usually see on a regular basis. Your baby will also learn to recognize him- or herself, and will smile at their self in the mirror.
Gross motor skills:
At this point in time, your baby should learn how to hold his or her head up by him- or herself. He or she should also be learning how to push up on his or her hands when you place him or her on their belly. Your baby may also start to roll over during these months. If this is the case, you should make sure that you leave your baby in a safe place, like a crib, or on the floor. If you prop your baby up with pillows, he or she will enjoy sitting up, but your baby probably can't sit up on his or her own without support.
Fine motor skills:
By now, your baby can reach for objects and grab them. He or she can play with both of their hands, and enjoys reaching for their toes. Your baby puts all kinds of things in his or her mouth. This is normal behavior, as it's another way for your baby to explore toys. Since your baby is putting all sorts of things in his or her mouth, keep small objects that he or she could swallow and choke out of reach.
Speech and language development:
At this point, your baby is probably also imitating facial expressions in addition to the way you speak. Your baby will begin using many different vowel sounds, like "ah," "eh" or "oh." He or she will even continue to make sounds when playing by him- or herself. During this time your baby might start squealing or experimenting with making high and low pitched sounds. You might also hear your baby growling or gurgling, and you can encourage your baby to continue these sounds by having a 'conversation' with him or her, by copying their sounds and taking turns'talking.'
4 - 6 months
- Holds head up for a long time without bobbing
- Laughs out loud
- Rolls from front to back
- Likes to play
- Grabs an object held near their hand
- Makes sounds when talked to
- May sleep about six hours at night before waking (total sleep typically 14 to 17 hours)
- Rolls over (usually stomach to back is first)
- Sits with support
- Lifts head up 90 degrees
- Can follow a moving object for a 180-degree arc
- Babbles and amuses self with new noises
- Responds to all colors and shades
- Explores objects with his or her mouth
- Recognizes a bottle or breast
- Communicates pain, fear, loneliness and discomfort through crying
- Responds to a rattle or bell
- Pays attention to small objects.
- Experiments with the concept of cause and effect.
- Can see across the room.
- Begins to use hands in a raking fashion to bring toys near.
- Begins teething process.
- He or she is now capable of drawing one leg underneath him or her while they lay on their stomach. This allows for them to be able to pull both legs under them so that they can crawl. While she may be able to get both legs underneath her, as of yet, they are unable to support their body weight.
- He or she may rock back and forth while on hands and knees or roll from front to back or back to front.
- His or her back is strong enough to hold up the chest and head and to reach out to grasp an object placed in front of their face.
- His or her back is also strong enough to straighten and to stretch out arms and legs when he or she is lying on their stomach. This airplane-type of movement is important because it is part of the preparation to strengthen their core muscles utilized in crawling, sitting up, rolling over and walking.
- He or she can move the head closer to objects when they are on their backs by moving it forward so that his or her chin rests on his or her chest.
- His or her ability to reach and grasp her toys has improved dramatically. Whenever he or she sees an object they want, they will reach for it with fingers outstretched and ready to grasp the target.
- His or her hands now accommodate for the various shapes that he or she reaches for so that he or she can grab them with both hands and maneuver them towards the face.
- He or she uses their dexterity by turning objects over, transferring them from one hand to the other and by dropping them and picking them up. Those games may seem like accidents, but they are actually important hidden exercises that teach about object permanence. He or she is beginning to know the pleasure of teaching and learning from their own experiences.
- He or she will greet you with squeals of joy.
- He or she will demonstrate burst-pause dialogue through mumbles, humming, razzes, humming and vowels sounds.
- He or she is capable of giving different responses to people based upon the level of comfort established with that person.
- He or she has found out how wonderful they look, and loves to watch him- or herself in the mirror. Your baby reaches for and makes wonderful sounds as they try to communicate with their reflection.
- He or she is capable of sitting upright for up to 30 minutes. They may need support, such as a pillow, around the waist. Make sure you are always with your baby as he or she sits up and plays, in case he or she gets tired and falls forward or backward.
- He or she will now lean over to watch a fallen object. When a toy falls off the high chair tray, he or she will lean over the side and watch it. He or she may also return to an upright position and then a few seconds later look over the side again to the spot where it landed.
- He or she may watch fast-moving objects passing by such as cars or a jogger running past the stroller.
- Able to sit with little support
- Responds to a friendly voice with a smile or coo
- Can roll from back to stomach
- Turns and looks at sounds
- Changes object from hand to hand and from hand to mouth
- Able to hold almost all weight when supported in a standing position
- Able to sit in a high chair with a straight back
- Able to sit on the floor with lower back support
- Increased drooling
- Should be able to sleep 6 - 8 hour stretches at night
- Should have doubled birth weight (birth weight often doubles by 4 months, and it would be cause for concern if this hasn't happened by 6 months)
- Begins to fear strangers
- Begins to imitate actions
- Begins to realize that if an object is dropped, it is still there and just needs to be picked up
- Can locate sounds not made directly at the ear level
- Enjoys hearing own voice
- Makes sounds resembling one-syllable words (example: da-da, ba-ba)
- Prefers more complex sounds
- Recognizes parents
- Starts to imitate sounds
- Vision is between 20/60 and 20/40
- Opens mouth for spoon
- Drinks from a cup with help
- Can hold bottle
Want to raise a well-rounded child? Discover the different kinds of developmental benefits to see how you can help your child grow into an intelligent and healthy individual! Click an image to find out more!
Try These Play and Learn Activities
- When your baby is lying on his or her back, put a brightly block near one foot and lightly grasp the toes of...
Three Blocks, Two Hands
- Put your baby on the floor or in his or her highchair.
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