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.
6 weeks - 3 months
You and your baby are slowly settling into a routine of nap-time and awake-time. By three months, your baby should be awake for a good part of the day, and sleeping most of the night. Your baby is ready to learn about the world when he or she is awake. Now is a good time to slowly introduce new experiences to your baby, since this will help your baby's brain develop.
What your child can see, hear and feel:
At such a young age, your child is still learning how to use their basic senses and understand them. Their eyesight is improving, they are hearing sounds better, and they recognize certain feelings of touch now. Around this time, your baby can see you smiling, and will learn to smile back. If objects are moving around, your baby should be able to follow them with their eyes.
At this point in time, everything is very interesting to your baby. They are learning everything all of the time. They will discover their hands and may spend time just looking at them. Your baby will also watch your face and other peoples' faces with interest. They may even recognize you and other familiar people from a distance. All of this is very exciting because your baby should start using their hands and eye in coordination!
You might notice that your baby enjoys listening to music. Music can calm your baby, and make him or her smile and move their arms and legs. Your baby loves to hear your voice, and will smile when they hear you speak. Because your baby is so curious, you should describe what is going on around him or her so that they will become familiar with what is going on in your home and neighborhood.
Your baby is also learning about touch at this point in their development. Your baby's hands are opening up more, and he or she may close around objects in the palm or his or her hand. If you rub different materials or toys against their fingers, your baby will move their fingers against the material or object to determine what it feels like.
Social and emotional developments:
Your baby is learning so much at this point of his or her life! They are learning how to do things for themselves, but also how to interact with others. Your interactions with your child will help them develop many new relationships. By the age of 6 weeks, your baby will have learned how to smile, and it will mean that he or she wants to play with you. They will develop a more social smile, and will enjoy playing with other people. Sometimes, your baby might start to cry when playtime over – this is normal. They are expressing their enjoyment and also learning how to express themselves with their faces and bodies. By imitating you and using the movements and facial expressions you make, your child is starting to develop body language.
Gross motor skills:
As your baby develops, they are also learning to become stronger and how to use their body to get around. At this young age, that aren't yet mobile, but they are strengthening their necks so they will soon be able to hold their own heads up. Their necks still need careful, gentle support, so that they will be able to achieve this without hurting themselves. If you lay your baby on his or her tummy, your baby should be able to hold his or her head up on their own. He or she should also raise their chest at the same time, by supporting the upper body with his or her arms.
Your baby is also learning how to control the muscles in their arms and legs by grabbing or kicking at toys or people. Whether on their front or back, your baby should be stretching out their legs and kicking. Your baby should also be able to open and shut their hands, and bring their hands to their mouth.
When your baby's feet are placed on the floor, they should push down on their legs. Most babies will enjoy the sensation of walking, and you can help your baby understand the mechanics of walking from this age.
If your baby sees dangling objects, it is normal for him or her to take swipes at these things in an attempt to touch them. Your baby should be very curious and want to touch many things. When he or she is given hand toys, your baby should take hold of it and shake it.
Fine motor skills:
There is not much going on in terms of fine motor skills and your baby, yet. They are still earning the basics of their movements and how to function. Your baby's hand curls instinctively around objects. After about two months, your baby will grasp objects with more control, and by three months your baby can start to open his or her hand.
Speech and language development:
Your baby can't communicate with real words yet, but he or she should be trying to differentiate the types of sounds they make in different situations. Your baby should enjoy making cooing sounds, and when you hear him or her cooing, it's a good idea to coo, sing or talk to them. This helps him or her understand making sounds is a good way to get your attention, and they will probably coo even more when you respond to them.
Your baby's cries should be getting easier to identify. Your baby should be using his or her sounds to tell you if he or she is hungry, wet, tired or wants a change of position. You baby will also use body language to tell you how he or she feels about what is going on. He or she may bring their hand to their head to show that they want a break, suck her fingers or hand, or turn their head away from you. Your baby will begin to babble, and imitate sounds, to try and learn how to speak. Your baby will also turn his or her head toward the direction of sounds.
6 weeks - 3 months
- Lifts head for short periods of time
- Moves head from side to side
- Prefers the human face to other shapes
- Makes jerky, arm movements
- Brings hands to face
- Has strong reflex movements
- Can focus on items 8 to 12 inches away
- May turn towards familiar sounds or voices
- Responds to loud sounds
- Blinks at bright lights
- Tracks objects with his eyes
- Makes noises other than crying
- May repeat vowel noises, such as "ah" or "oh"
- Hold their head up (bobbing when supported in sitting position)
- Closure of soft spot at the back of the head
- Sometimes copy or respond to a smiling person
- Roll part way to side
- Stepping reflex (baby appears to dance or step when placed upright on solid surface) and grasp reflex (grasping a finger), disappear
- Beginning to look at close objects
- When on stomach, able to lift head almost 45 degrees
- Crying becomes differentiated (different cries means different things)
- Head turns from side to side with sound at the level of the ear
- Make sounds of discomfort
- Vocal response to familiar voices
- Lift head and chest when lying on stomach
- Recognize bottle or breast
- Smile when talked to
- Show active body movement
- Follow moving things with their eyes
- By the end of month three a baby typically:
- Raises head and chest when put on tummy
- Lifts head up 45 degrees
- Kicks and straightens legs when on back
- Open and shuts hands
- Pushes down with legs when placed on a hard surface
- Reaches for dangling objects
- Grasps and shakes hand toys
- Tracks moving objects
- Begins to imitate sounds
- Recognizes familiar objects and people, even at a distance
- Begins to develop a social smile
- Begins to develop hand-eye coordination
- Brings both hands together
- Interested in circular and spiral patterns
- Kicks legs energetically
- Holds head up with control
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!
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