E very parent loves to watch his/her little one growing up from a newborn infant to a toddler, to a teenager, and finally to an adult. Each child’s progress is individual to them and that different children develop at different rates.

Child development stages which are also called child development milestones are something to look out for. The whole process of growth is beautiful and exciting. If parents are aware of these child development stages then the experience will just get better. Below are typical child development stages of children from birth to 6 years.

Birth – 12 Months

During this early period, an infant’s physical development is very rapid and they gain control of their muscles which increases regularly. They also develop skills in moving their hands, feet, limbs and head, quickly becoming mobile and able to handle and manipulate objects. They are learning from the moment they are born. They learn a lot by hearing people talking – even before they utter their first words. Regular, though flexible, routines help young children to gain a sense of order in the world and to anticipate events. A wide variety of experience, which involves all the senses, encourages learning and an interest in the environment.

 1 – 2 Years

As children become mobile new opportunities for exploration and exercise appear. A safe and interesting environment helps children to develop curiosity, coordination and physical abilities. This is a time when children can start to learn the beginnings of self-control and how to relate to other people. In this period children can be encouraged to develop their social and mental skills by people to whom they have a positive attachment. Alongside non-verbal communication children learn a few simple words for everyday things and people. With encouragement and plenty of interaction with carers, children’s communication skills grow and their vocabulary expands very rapidly during this period.

 2 – 3 Years

Children in this phase are usually full of energy and need careful support to use it well. Growing physical strengths and skills mean that children need active times for exercise, and quiet times for calmer activities. Playing with other children is an important new area for learning. Exploration and simple self-help builds a sense of self-confidence. Children are also learning about boundaries and how to handle frustration. Play with toys that come apart and fit together encourages problem solving and simple planning. Pretend play helps children to learn about a range of possibilities.

 3 – 4 Years

Children’s fine motor skills continue to develop and they enjoy making marks, using a variety of materials, looking at picture books and listening to stories, important steps in literacy. Self-help soon emerges if parents support and encourage children in areas such as eating, dressing and potty training. Children’s language is developing rapidly and many are beginning to put sentences together. Joining in conversations with children is an important way for children to learn new things and to begin to think about past, present and future.

 4 – 5 Years

An increased interest in joint play such as make-believe, construction and games helps children to learn the important social skills of sharing and cooperating. Children also learn more about helping adults in everyday activities. Children still need the comfort and security of special people. Literacy and numeracy can develop rapidly with the support of a wide range of interesting materials and activities. Children’s language is now much more complex, as many become adept at using longer sentences.

 5 – 6 Years

During this period children are now building a stronger sense of their own identity and their place in a wider world. Children are learning to recognise the importance of social rules and customs and to show understanding and tolerance of others. Learning and playing in small groups helps to develop social skills. Children now become better able to plan and undertake more challenging activities. In this phase children learn effectively in shared activities with their peers and adults. Literacy, problem solving, and numeracy skills continue to develop.

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