Ages & Stages Child Development
Your Child's Growth and Development
Why should you know about your child's growth and development?
You want the very best for your child — every parent does. But raising a child can be overwhelming. There are health concerns, safety issues, nutrition, self-esteem, education, and socialization. And that's just on a good day! And many parents even worry whether their child is growing and developing the way they should be.
Don't worry. Every parent has the same issues and worries. But sometimes you just need a little help. That's why we're committed to making things easier for parents of any age and experience. We offer a wide variety of programs, services, resources, and professionals who can help you build a healthy and happy family.
Every child grows and develops differently, doing things at their own pace. Children generally reach certain milestones in their life at roughly the same time, so we've got several pages that describe each of the major age milestones, and what usually happens at that time. Understanding these gives you the chance to help your child develop new skills and reach their full potential.
In addition to these child development stages, we have a wealth of information and free resources for parents to use, borrow, and learn from. Our goal is to be your one-stop shop for everything related to early child care and education.
- Our Book, Toy, and Resource Library is available for parenting help, and has thousands of toys, books, and games you can take home. We also sponsor story time once a month.
- Learn what questions to ask and what to look for when searching for quality child care.
- Find area child care facilities that meet your requirements on the CCRC child care referrals database.
Click any of the links to see some developmental milestones for children of that age.
Typical Child Development: Birth To 3 Months
Newborn babies are amazing, because every day brings new changes and developments. There's a lot going on in those first three months. While every baby develops differently and at their own pace, your baby should be stretching and kicking, grasping at things like your finger, and responding to loud noises.
At Birth To 3 Months, I. . .
- Begin to smile and visually track people and objects with my eyes.
- Prefer to look at faces and bright colors.
- Gurgle and coo. Listen to the sounds I make.
- Start to reach for and discover my hands and feet.
- Can lift my head when I’m on my tummy.
- Cry over everything, but I feel better when you hold and comfort me.
Typical Child Development: 4 to 6 Months
Now that your baby has been home for a few months, you'll notice she's becoming more social and has a purpose for her movements. She's not just discovering her hands and feet, she's learning that they can do things, like grab hair or hold a toy. Your baby is likely sleeping longer, laughing more, squealing when she's happy, blowing bubbles, and is more social.
This is a very busy time for babies as they explore their surroundings and become more familiar with you and their new home.
At 4 to 6 Months, I. . .
- Smile and laugh, and imitate sounds I hear.
- Am learning about my body, exploring my hands and feet. I think they are a part of me!
- Can sit up when you prop me up, like sitting on the couch or an easy chair.
- Like to roll over, scoot, and bounce.
- I can grasp things without using my thumb. I love to put things in my mouth, so keep small objects away from my reach.
Typical Child Development: 7 to 12 Months
Your baby is starting to move around during this time, so he's not going to sit still for long. Rolling over, crawling, standing, and a lot of cruising. Your baby will test his strength and try to pull himself up from the floor to stand against the sofa or coffee table. First steps aren't too far away.
At 7 to 12 Months, I. . .
- Think I'm a big kid now. I want to take my first steps, so please hold my hand.
- Love children's songs, so sing to me or play them so I can move and dance.
- Play pat-a-cake, peek-a-boo, and wave goodbye.
- Understand my name and other words you use a lot.
- Say my first words. They may not sound like much, but I'm starting to vocalize more.
- Like to explore and bang and shake objects.
- Can find hidden toys and I can put things in containers.
- Can sit up all by myself.
- Creep around and can pull myself up to stand and try to walk. I just love being in motion and will go anywhere I can.
Typical Child Development: 1 to 2 Years
At this age, your child is becoming aware of her own behavior, as well as those around her. She's eager to learn, and starts communicating through words as well as facial expressions.
At 1 to 2 Years, I. . .
- Talk a little and understand words and ideas.
- Love stories, pretend games, and riding toys.
- Can walk, climb stairs and run.
- Like to scribble and read books; I know more than 50 words.
- Use a spoon and fork — well, kind of. I may still need some help — and I like to help around the house.
- Am proud of the things I can do and can solve simple problems.
- Have some friends and am starting to play make believe.
Typical Child Development: 2 to 3 1/2 Years
Sometimes called the "terrible twos," your toddler is beginning to develop his own distinct personality. He's experiencing big changes in his social, intellectual, and emotional abilities. He's exploring on his own, and can unlock and open a lot of doors, so child safety is a top priority. Teach him not to put things in his mouth, and never leave him unattended for long periods of time, especially around water and cars.
At 2 to 3 1/2 Years, I. . .
- Like to learn new things.
- Am increasing my vocabulary regularly now. I repeat words you say or that I hear on TV.
- Run everywhere, because I love to be on the go, go, go!
- Brush my teeth (with help), and wash my hands and face.
- Get frustrated easily.
- Act more independent now, but I still depend on you.
- Can draw a circle, name a color, and put on my shirt. Usually backwards.
Typical Child Development: 3 1/2 to 5 Years
If you've heard it once, you've heard it a million times: "they grow up so fast, don't they?" It's especially true for the next 18 months. This is the age where your child starts interacting with other kids at school, as well as their teachers. They start nursery school, they do pre-K classes, or they're in Head Start. These experiences will teach your child to develop her own personality, and learn to express her emotions beyond just opening her mouth and wailing.
Believe it or not, your child can also follow simple directions — whether she will is a different matter — so you can give her simple chores to do around the house. She'll enjoy helping out and thinking she's making a big difference.
At 3 1/2 to 5 Years, I. . .
- Have a longer attention span.
- Act silly, boisterous and might use language that isn’t nice.
- Ask lots of questions. Did you know I ask a lot of questions? How many questions do you think I ask? Do you worry that I'll never stop asking questions? Why are you crying?
- Like to play with friends, but I don’t like to lose.
- Am okay sharing my stuff and taking turns — SOMETIMES. I'm still learning what sharing means, and that it's important to do.
Typical Child Development: 5 to 8 Years
This time in a child's life is usually referred to as the "middle childhood." It brings a lot of its own change and developing independence. At this age, your child can dress himself, likes to have his own friends, and social skills are important to him. Physical changes happen quickly, and he's ready to explore on his own more. This is a critical time for your child to gain confidence with his friends, at school, in sports and play, and at life in general.
At 5 to 8 Years, I. . .
- Am curious about people and how the world works. I start putting together pieces of knowledge and begin to understand concepts.
- Am interested in numbers, letters, reading, and writing. This is a great time to get me to read on my own.
- Have more confidence in my physical skills.
- Use my words to express my feelings and to cope. I might cry on occasion, but that's not my response to every problem like it was when I was two.
- Like grown-up activities. I still play, but I also play at being a grown-up.
- Like to meet and play with more kids and I play more cooperatively now.
Your child is learning a lot of new things, but he will not always grow and develop at the same rate as other children. He may be faster or slower than other children his age. If you have any questions or concerns about your baby's growth and development, please contact your child's doctor or contact your local CCRC Resource & Referral Department, click here to view our locations.