Category Archives: Child Development

Preschooler Development

Children between the ages of 3 – 5 continue to make significant changes. It is amazing how fast time goes as they grow and develop into their little own person. You can expect the following as your preschooler develops:

  • Begin to play WITH other children rather than next to them. Group activities become more appealing since their attention span is longer.
  • Are more likely to share and take turns as they realize others have feelings too.
  • Become more self-reliant as they dress themselves, bathe and grab a snack out of the pantry.
  • Are more coordinated and love to run, jump, dance, skip and play catch.
  • They may develop fears (monster under the bed) or imaginary friends.
  • As their vocabulary increases they will be able to understand and follow directions. Use new words in longer sentences and be aware of rhyming sounds and words.
  • They will develop a sense of humor and like riddles and practical jokes. Making faces and being silly will become one of their favorite activities.
  • Many children will be able to recognize numbers and letters. They may attempt to read or repeat sentences from their favorite storybook. Their writing and scribbles will improve.
  • They will be able to recognize shapes such as triangles, circles, squares and rectangles.

Preschooler development requires several opportunities to interact with other children so they can learn to take turns and share. Play time also provides them opportunity to develop coordination. Continue to read, talk and sing to your child to develop their growing language abilities. Explore numbers, the alphabet and help them attempt to write messages.

As your child grows he is going to want to be more independent by dressing himself and exploring. This is okay but it is important to set limits and not allow him to run amuck. Provide clear and consistent discipline and when you tell him no, follow up with what he should be doing instead.

During this stage of development you can include your child in many more activities around the home. They can help fold laundry such as sock and towels. They can help out in the kitchen by setting the table or adding ingredients to chocolate chip cookies. There are a number of things your child can do to help out around the home that will enhance their development. It’s when they are young they actually think household chores are fun.

Continue to provide your child with a loving and supportive environment with plenty of exercise, water and a healthy diet. Remember, your interactions and the interactions of others are shaping your preschooler’s personality and way of thinking.

Toddler Development

As your toddler discovers new things, throws the grocery store tantrum and pushes the limits of any parent you can expect many things (good and bad) as they develop. Their energy, curiosity, stubbornness and self-centeredness can create all sorts of joy and havoc. However, with their self-centeredness and their desire to be independent they are still an amazing blessing.

What You Can Expect from Your Toddler

  • Toddlers like to follow their parents around and imitate what they hear and see.
  • They have short attention spans with activities that aren’t of interest or they aren’t involved in.
  • Their physical skills continue to develop. By the time they are three they will be able to walk, run, jump, hop, roll and climb.
  • They begin to see how they are different and like other children.
  • Their vocabulary will increase substantially from 2 or 3 words to 250 words. They will understand much more of what people say to them. By the time they are three they will be able to put together short sentences. They will begin to count and learn their ABC’s.
  • Toddlers will request their favorite book to be read aloud.
  • They will pretend to read and write the way they see their parents and others do.
  • They become more aware of others, their feelings and thoughts.
  • They begin to scribble and distinguish between drawing and writing making marks that are like letters.

How You Can Help Your Toddler Develop

Healthy toddler development is important to both parents and children. Toddlers will require many opportunities to learn, be physically active and make their own decisions. Parents can assist in providing these opportunities by setting clear and reasonable boundaries.

Provide your growing children with activities that will use their large and small muscles such as running, jumping, dancing and putting together puzzles. Allow them to touch, taste, smell, hear and see new things daily. Talk and sing to your children to strengthen their vocabulary and knowledge. Encourage them to talk back to develop and practice their language skills.

At this stage of development they can pick out some of their own clothes and dress themselves. Get your toddler involved with other children so they can play and develop their social skills. Go to the library, museums, zoos and parks to stimulate your child and give them the opportunity to explore.

One of the best things parents can do for their children to help them develop is reading out loud. Spend time interacting with them and help them to grow into their next developmental stage.

Baby Development

Babies grow and develop at an amazing rate during their first year. You can expect your baby to begin to:

  • Improve control over their bodies. They learn to hold their heads up, roll over, sit up, crawl, stand up and occasionally walk.
  • Become aware of themselves as separate from others. They begin to notice their hands and feet and play with their toes. Later they enjoy playing with toys.
  • Learn to cry when their parents leave the room. Communicate and develop their language skills eventually leading to the very first ‘mama’ or ‘dada’.
  • Distinguish their own name.
  • Relate to others. They respond to adults more than other babies. To them other babies are considered objects instead of people.

What Every Baby Needs

Every child requires the same basic elements such as loving parents and caregivers who respond to their cries and little noises. They need to be kept safe and comfortable as well as have plenty of opportunities to move around, play and hear language. Babies need to become attached to at least one person who provides them with love and security. Developing trust is crucial and this is accomplished by feeling your touch, hearing your voice and physical closeness.

When parents get their little baby home it is natural for them to move her arms and legs and tickle her on her little belly. As your baby develops let her grab at your nose and hair. Lay your baby on your chest and cuddle her. Sing and dance with your baby to entertain or soothe her.
When your baby cries, pick her up promptly and determine what is wrong. Is she hungry? Too hot? Tired? Bored? Need a diaper change? Crying is your baby’s way of communicating that something is wrong or she needs attention.

Babies love to hear the voices of the people in their lives. Talk to your baby and respond to their coos and ‘ga, ga’s’ . Take the time to sing lullabies and read nursery rhymes with repeated patterns and sounds.

Your child has a life-time of learning ahead of her and it is important to get her off in the right direction by nurturing, touching, talking and playing with her.

The Milestones of Child Development

From the time we are born to the time we enter old age we are changing and reaching new milestones in life. Here are some common developmental milestones for children as they grow and mature.

Infant Development (0-1 year old)

As your baby develops they will be learning to recognize the sound of your voice and learning to focus their vision from the periphery or the corner of their eyes to the center. They will also be developing their language skills, language development is more than uttering sounds. Understanding, listening, and knowing the names of people and things are all components of language development for infants. During this stage your baby is also developing bonds of love and trust with you. The manner you hold, play, and cuddle with your baby will help set the basis for how they will interact with you and others. As a parent, it is important to ensure that you provide a safe and loving environment to your new baby.

Toddler Development (1-2 years old)

When children reach this age they become much more mobile and are increasingly aware of their surroundings. They will set out to explore new things and people. Even at this young age your toddler will show greater independence, begin to show defiant behavior, recognize themselves in pictures or a mirror, and imitate the behavior of others. Toddler development also includes being able to recognize names of familiar people and objects, form simple phrases and sentences, and follow simple instructions.

Toddler Development (2-3 years old)

Ahhh yes… here it comes, the “the terrible twos”. Even though your child is asserting their independence more this can be an exciting time for you and your toddler. They will experience huge intellectual, social, and emotional changes that will help them explore their own little world and try to make sense of it. During this stage, they will be able to follow two or three phrase commands, sort objects by shape and color, imitate the actions of others, and express a wide range of emotions.

Preschoolers Development (3-5 years old)

The world really begins to open up in early childhood and during this time children will begin to focus on other adults and friends outside the family. They will come home with new words that you know they did not hear from you. They will explore and ask even more questions about their surroundings even more – Why? Why? Why? Will become a common question. Their personality will become more defined as they watch family and friends. They will have more distinct ways of thinking and moving. During this state your child will be able to ride a tricycle, use safety scissors, show gender awareness, kiss little boys on the cheek, and dress and undress themselves.

Middle Childhood Development (6-8 years old)

From ages 6 to 8 your children will face significant changes. By this time they will be able to dress themselves, tie their shoes, and even catch a ball with their hands. Developing independence from family becomes even more important during this time. As they start school they will be exposed to so much more. Their physical, social, and mental skills develop rapidly. This is a critical time for children to develop confidence in all areas of life through friends, school, and sports. Children will have a stronger sense of right and wrong, have a growing desire to be liked by friends, increased ability to discuss their feelings, be more aware of the future, and focus less on themselves and more on others.

Middle Childhood Development (9-11 years old)

Healthy friendships are critical to your child’s development during this time, however, peer pressure may become strong. Children with a positive self esteem will be better able to resist negative peer pressure and make healthier choices for themselves. It is important that your children understand responsibility with their growing independence. Watch out dads, girls may start puberty during these years. Positive parenting for middle childhood is essential during this time.

Early Teens (12-14 years old)

The early teen years are a time of many physical, mental, emotional, and social changes. Hormones change as puberty begins. Boys grow facial and pubic hair and their voices deepen. Girls grow pubic hair and breasts, and star menstruating. They might be worried about these changes and how they are looked at by others. This will also be a time when your teenager might face peer pressure to use tobacco, alcohol, drugs, and sex. Other challenges include eating disorders, depression, and family problems. Teens will make their own choices about the friends they keep, the sports they want to be involved in, and their subjects of interest. Independence is a big deal at this stage.

Middle Teens (15-17 years old)

During this phase of development, your teen is developing a unique personality and opinions. Most girls will be physically mature by now, and most will have finished puberty. Boys on the other hand may still be physically changing during this time. Peer relationships are still important, yet your children will have developed interests in other things. Children should understand responsibility and be more independent, some may be leaving home for college soon or getting a job.

Source: CDC.gov