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.