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.
At this point in your child's development, your child is now considered to be a toddler. Toddlers have high energy levels and they want to do things for themselves. Keep in mind that your child is experiencing all sorts of impulses, but does not yet have control over them. Tantrums are common. Patience is important.
What your child can see, hear and feel:
At this stage, your child will be able to understand simple stories, and his or her imagination will become much more vivid. He or she might even have imaginary friends and will play pretend with dolls and stuffed animals.
Your child will also learn to match familiar items to pictures of those items. If they are not already doing so, they may enjoy simple puzzles (puzzles with 3 or 4 pieces are great for 2-year-olds). Your child might also begin to play 'house,' and you will see that he or she knows what familiar items are used for. Your child will be able to name pictures of objects and point to pictures of people doing familiar activities in books.
At this point in his or her development, your child will learn how to count '1-2-3,' and understand what those numbers mean. This is very exciting because he or she is starting to learn about numbers and sequences!
Social and emotional development:
Socially, your child should be showing more interest in being with other children. He or she will be more cooperative in simple games with other children. He or she should like playing with other children. It's important to keep the games simple, so that your child understands the rules. He or she is starting to understand concepts like rules, and will follow them if they are consistently reinforced. It's a good idea to praise and/or reward methods when your child successfully follows rules. For example, in addition to telling your child that he or she has done a good job, include a treat or a favorite activity as a prize for having followed the rules properly.
During these months, the more you help your child with transitions from one activity to the next, the easier it will be for your child. For example, tell him or her about an upcoming visit to the doctor, or a stay with a babysitter. He or she will like having a daily routine. So when you know that he or she will do something new, it's a good idea to help him or her adjust to new experiences or persons by introducing him or her to the new person or situation slowly.
Your child is also becoming a more aware of his or her surroundings and concepts like ownership. "Mine" is a word often used by your child in this period. By the end of this year, he or she will also understand he is a boy, or that she is a girl and she can identify him- or herself in the mirror.
Gross motor skills:
At this stage, your child is still learning how to walk and run more gracefully. He or she should have mastered the basic mechanics of running, but over this year, your child will learn how to run without tripping too often. He or she will also learn how to jump on his or her own two feet, how to walk up and down the stairs on their own, and be able to balance his or her weight on one foot for a few seconds.
Fine motor skills:
Your child will become more interested in scribbling with crayons, and their ability to draw will improve. At first he or she will draw lines, and then circles. If you are comfortable with the idea of your child handling scissors, towards his or her third birthday he or she may enjoy learning how to cut with safety scissors.
Another great activity to do with your child is to string large beads on a thin rope. If you decide to do this, it's a good idea to make sure the beads are large enough that your child won't choke on those beads if he or she puts them in their mouth.
Speech and language development:
Over the course of this year, you will be surprised at how many words your child will learn! If you try writing down all of the words your child knows every three months, your list will become very long! Your child will learn how to speak in short sentences, and he or she will be able to talk about events that they remember happening in the near past, but will confuse words like yesterday or tomorrow.
Even though he or she might not follow all of your directions, your child does understand you better. He or she will be able to follow directions using the words 'on,' 'in' and 'under.' By the age of 3, 75% of his or her speech should be clear and much easier to understand. In fact most strangers will be able to understand up to 50% of what your child says.
- Walks up stairs holding railing
- Stands for a moment on one foot
- Talks of toilet needs
- Opens doors
- Stacks objects by size
- Asks and answers simple questions
- Speaks clearly and is understood by family members
- Can construct a block tower of more than nine cubes
- Can easily place small objects in a small opening
- Can copy a circle
- Can pedal a tricycle
- Makes up-and-down, side-to-side, and circular lines with pencil or crayon
- Turns book pages one at a time
- Holds a pencil in writing position
- Screws and unscrews jar lids, nuts, and bolts
- Turns rotating handles
- Has a vocabulary of many hundreds of words
- Composes sentences of three to four words
- Counts three objects
- Uses plurals and pronouns (he/she)
- Frequently asks questions
- Can dress self, only requiring assistance with laces, buttons, and other fasteners in awkward places
- Has longer attention span
- Feeds self without difficulty
- Acts out social encounters through play activities
- Has some decrease in separation anxiety for short periods of time
- Fears imaginary things
- Knows own name, age, and gender (boy/girl)
- Starts to share
- Has some cooperative play (building tower of blocks together)
- Understands concept of "mine" and "his/hers"
- Expresses affection openly
- Expresses a wide range of emotions
- Objects to major changes in routine
- Matches an object in her hand or room to a picture in a book
- Plays make-believe with dolls, animals, and people
- Follows a two- or three-part command
- Recognizes and identifies almost all common objects and pictures
- Climbs well
- Kicks ball
- Runs easily
- Pedals tricycle
- Bends over easily without falling
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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