Babies are bundles of pure joy, affection, and love.
There’s nothing quite like seeing your child for the first time, cradling them, or even hearing them cry for the first time. But for parents, it can also be anxiety-inducing to ensure everything is normal.
There are countless milestones that a child goes through, and some children reach more of them on time, while others may be early or late. So how is your child growing? Are they at the right stage of child development?
In this guide, we’ll explain the 5 stages of child development that mark a child’s growth.
5 Stages of Child Development
Each stage is characterized by different milestones that children must achieve to progress to the next developmental stage. Child development is not a linear process; instead, it occurs in fits and starts, with children often reverting to an earlier stage before moving to a more advanced one. Adults must be aware of the different stages of child development to better understand and support the children in their care.
1. Newborn (0-3 Months)
This stage starts at birth and lasts until three months of age. During this stage, babies learn to adjust to life outside the womb and develop their senses.
This is a critical time for brain development and bonding with caregivers. By the end of the 3rd month, babies should be able to follow an object with their eyes, turn their heads toward sounds, grasp things, and support their own heads.
2. Infant (3-12 Months)
The infant stage of child development is a crucial time for developing cognitive, social, and emotional skills. Babies learn best through exploration and play and need a secure and loving environment to thrive.
Parents and caregivers can promote infant development by providing opportunities for exploration, encouraging communication and social interaction, and modeling appropriate behavior. It is important to remember that every baby develops at its own pace. Some infants may achieve certain milestones sooner or later than others.
3. Toddler (1-3 Years)
Although toddlers can be a handful, they are also adorable and funny. This makes the toddler stage a special and memorable time for parents and caregivers.
Despite individual differences, most toddlers acquire certain skills during this stage of development. By 13 months old, most toddlers can:
Pull Up to a Standing Position
This milestone is an integral part of child development as it is a crucial step in developing gross motor skills. It lays the foundation for future skills such as walking, climbing, and jumping.
Cruise Around Furniture
During the toddler stage, children gain the ability to cruise around furniture. This means that they can walk along furniture without falling.
This is a major milestone in their development as it shows that they are gaining better control over their body. It is also essential for social development, allowing toddlers to interact with their environment.
Say a Few Words
As kids get older, they start to develop their interests and personalities. And language skills play a big role in this. When most kids are toddlers, they begin to put words together to make simple sentences.
Children are also starting to understand what people say to them at this age. But they may need help to respond.
So if you ask your toddler a question, don’t be upset if she doesn’t answer you immediately. She’s still learning how to communicate with the people around her.
If your kid doesn’t learn words by the time they are at this age, then they might need toddler speech therapy. A therapist can help a child who is lagging in their speech development. They will provide exercises and activities to help the child progress.
Toddlers are at the age where they explore everything and want to do everything for themselves. This includes feeding themselves. It is essential to encourage this independence but also to be there to help when needed.
Toddlers will make a mess when they first learn to feed themselves, but it is all part of the process. It is essential to be patient and let them know at their own pace. With time and practice, they will get the hang of it and be able to feed themselves like a pro.
4. Preschool Age (3-4 Years)
During preschool, children between the ages of three and four are in the fourth stage of child development. This is when they begin to understand the world around them and learn to interact with others. They are also starting to develop their own identities.
During this stage, children become more independent and can communicate their needs and want more clearly. They are also becoming more social and are beginning to understand the concept of sharing. As they grow and develop, they will continue to learn new skills and abilities that will help them in the future.
5. School Age (4-5 Years)
School age is the fifth stage of child development. Several physical, cognitive, and social changes characterize it.
During this stage, children develop a sense of independence and responsibility. They also develop a more complex understanding of the world around them.
As children enter this stage, they typically begin to attend school. This helps them to learn more about their community and the world around them. School-age children usually want to spend more time with their friends and less time with their parents.
They also begin to develop a sense of humor and a sense of fair play. By the end of this stage, children are typically able to think abstractly and understand complex ideas.
Support Your Child’s Stages of Development!
Though every child is different, they will all experience the same 5 stages of child development. As a parent, it is essential to understand what your child is experiencing during each phase to support them best.
It is also essential to ensure your child is hitting the expected stages of development because if they are not, it could indicate a problem. If you are concerned about your child’s development, talk to your child’s doctor. They will be able to assess your child’s growth and provide you with guidance on how to best support your child during each stage.
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