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Understanding Milestones: Child Development Stages By Ages

Navigating the early years of your child’s life can be both exciting and challenging. This guide breaks down key child developmental stages by age, providing a handy checklist for parents and caregivers to track their child’s progress.

Child Development Stages By Age

Child Development 0-3 years

The first three years of a child’s life are a period of incredible growth and change, marking significant developmental milestones. Understanding these stages can help parents and caregivers provide appropriate support and stimulation. 

Here’s an in-depth look at child development 0-3 years.:

Physical Development

0-6 months: Babies develop basic motor skills like head control, rolling over and beginning to sit with support.

6-12 months: They start crawling, standing with support and possibly taking their first steps. Fine motor skills also progress, with children grasping and holding objects.

1-2 years: Walking becomes more stable, and they begin to run, climb and kick balls. Fine motor skills improve with activities like turning pages in a book or building with blocks.

2-3 years: Children refine their motor skills, running more confidently, jumping and starting to pedal tricycles. They can also manage more intricate tasks with their hands, like using simple tools or drawing basic shapes.

Cognitive Development

0-6 months: Recognition of faces and responding to familiar voices are key developments. They begin to explore objects with their mouth and hands.

6-12 months: Object permanence develops, meaning babies understand that things continue to exist even when out of sight. They also start solving simple problems, like using objects for a purpose (like banging a spoon).

1-2 years: This stage sees the emergence of imagination and memory. Children start to engage in simple pretend play and can follow basic instructions.

2-3 years: Their understanding of the world expands rapidly, with a noticeable increase in curiosity. They start asking questions, understand basic concepts like shapes and colours, and remember the names of familiar people and objects.

Language Development

0-6 months: Coos and babbles are the first forms of verbal communication.

6-12 months: Babies start to say simple words like “mama” and “dada” and respond to their own name.

1-2 years: Vocabulary expands rapidly, and they begin to form simple sentences. They also understand simple questions and commands.

2-3 years: Speech becomes clearer and more complex. Children start using pronouns and may know some nursery rhymes or songs.

Social and Emotional Development

0-6 months: Smiling at familiar faces and showing enjoyment during play are common.

6-12 months: Babies show preferences for certain people and toys.

1-2 years: Children begin to display a wider range of emotions and start to seek independence, often testing boundaries.

2-3 years: They engage more with other children, show empathy, and begin to understand sharing and taking turns.

The 0-3 years are foundational for a child’s future development. Encouraging exploration, play and interaction during these years is crucial for healthy development. 

3-year old Development Checklist

As children reach the age of three, they hit many developmental milestones that signify their growing independence, cognitive abilities and social skills. 

Physical Development

Gross Motor Skills:

Can run and jump in place with ease.

Climbs well on playground equipment.

Pedals a tricycle confidently.

Walks up and down stairs with alternating feet.

Fine Motor Skills:

Can complete simple puzzles (3-4 pieces).

Draws circles and begins to overlap lines to make crosses.

Builds towers of more than six blocks.

Shows hand preference (right or left-handed).

Cognitive Development

Problem-Solving and Learning:

Understands basic concepts like size (big and small) and quantity (more and less).

Begins to engage in more complex pretend play, often mimicking adults.

Can follow two-part instructions (“Get your book and put it on the table”).

Shows curiosity by asking many ‘why’ and ‘how’ questions.

Language Development:

Speaks in short sentences of three to five words.

Uses pronouns (I, you, me, we, they) correctly.

Can say their own name, age and gender.

Understands and answers simple questions.

Social and Emotional Development

Interactions and Emotions:

Shows affection for familiar people and may have a favourite friend.

Begins to understand the concept of taking turns and sharing, though may still need help with it.

Expresses a wide range of emotions and is capable of showing empathy.

Begins to separate more easily from parents for short periods.

Self-Help Skills:

Can dress and undress themselves with minimal help.

Uses a spoon, fork, and cup more confidently.

Shows interest in toilet training, if not already trained.

Enjoys helping with simple chores and tasks.

Celebrating these milestones can be a wonderful way for parents to engage with and support their child’s growth and development at this exciting age.

4-year old Development Checklist

At four years old, children are in a phase of rapid growth and development, showing remarkable progress in various areas. 

Physical Development

Gross Motor Skills:

Capable of hopping and standing on one foot for a few seconds.

Skilled at climbing and swinging.

Can throw, catch and kick a ball with better control.

Demonstrates improved coordination in activities like dancing or riding a scooter.

Fine Motor Skills:

Draws simple figures, such as a person with two to four body parts.

Uses scissors to cut along a line with reasonable accuracy.

Can start to write some uppercase letters.

Demonstrates better control in tasks like colouring within the lines.

Cognitive Development

Learning and Problem-Solving:

Understands basic concepts of time (morning, afternoon, night).

Begins to grasp counting and may recognise a few numbers.

Can follow multi-step instructions (up to three or four steps).

Shows increased attention span and concentration in activities.

Language Development:

Uses full sentences with improved grammar.

Able to tell simple stories and engage in conversations.

Asks numerous questions to satisfy their curiosity about the world.

Has a vocabulary of over a thousand words.

Social and Emotional Development

Social Interactions:

Enjoys playing with other children and can cooperate in group activities.

Understands and follows simple rules in games.

Begins to show empathy and understand others’ emotions.

Can take turns and share, though may still need reminders.

Emotional Expression:

Expresses a wide range of emotions and can verbalise feelings.

Demonstrates greater independence and may prefer certain friends.

Shows interest in new experiences and activities.

Begins to understand the concept of right and wrong.

Self-Care Skills:

Dresses and undresses independently, though may struggle with buttons and zippers.

Has improved toilet habits and hygiene awareness.

Can use eating utensils properly and is learning table manners.

While we’ve outlined the child development stages by age, it’s important to remember that each child is unique and may reach these milestones at their own pace. If you have concerns about your child’s development, it’s advisable to consult with professionals for guidance and support.

Every aspect of Riverside Nursery is thoughtfully designed to promote your child’s growth and development. We adhere to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework. Our goal is to provide a warm, stimulating environment where your child can thrive, explore and learn with confidence. From providing engaging storytime sessions that spark imagination and language skills to playful activities in our outdoor play area, we offer a balanced blend of learning and fun.

We’d love for you to come and see our nursery, contact us today to arrange a visit.