Child development
Child development stages describe theoretical milestones of child development
Child development
Child development stages describe theoretical milestones of child development. Many stage models of development have been proposed, used as working concepts and in some cases asserted as nativist theories....

. Many stage models of development have been proposed, used as working concepts and in some cases asserted as nativist
Psychological nativism
In the field of psychology, nativism is the view that certain skills or abilities are 'native' or hard wired into the brain at birth. This is in contrast to empiricism, the 'blank slate' or tabula rasa view, which states that the brain has inborn capabilities for learning from the environment but...


This article puts forward a general model based on the most widely accepted developmental stages. However, it is important to understand that there is wide variation in terms of what is considered "normal," driven by a wide variety of genetic, cognitive, physical, family, cultural, nutritional, educational, and environmental factors. Many children will reach some or most of these milestones at different times from the norm.

Overview of motor, speech, vision and hearing development

Developmental Milestones
Age Motor Speech Vision and hearing Additional Notes
4–6 weeks Smiles at parent
6–8 weeks Vocalizes
A vocalise is a vocal exercise without words, which is sung on one or more vowel sounds.-In classical music:Vocalise dates back to the mid-18th century...

12–20 weeks Hand regard: following the hand with the eyes. Serves to practice emerging visual skills. Also observed in blind children.
3 months Prone:head held up for prolonged periods. No grasp reflex Makes vowel noises Follows dangling toy from side to side. Turns head round to sound Squeals with delight appropriately. Discriminates smile.
5 months Holds head steady. Goes for objects and gets them. Objects taken to mouth Enjoys vocal play
6 months Transfers objects from one hand to the other. Pulls self up to sit and sits erect with supports. Rolls over prone to supine. Palmar grasp of cube Double syllable sounds such as 'mumum' and 'dada' Localises sound 45 cm lateral to either ear May show 'stranger shyness'
9–10 months Wiggles and crawls. Sits unsupported. Picks up objects with pincer grasp Babbles tunefully Looks for toys dropped Apprehensive about strangers
1 year Stands holding furniture. Stands alone for a second or two, then collapses with a bump Babbles
Babbling is a stage in child development and a state in language acquisition, during which an infant appears to be experimenting with uttering sounds of language, but not yet producing any recognizable words...

 2 or 3 words repeatedly
Drops toys, and watches where they go Cooperates with dressing
Clothing refers to any covering for the human body that is worn. The wearing of clothing is exclusively a human characteristic and is a feature of nearly all human societies...

, waves goodbye, understands simple commands
18 months Can walk
WALK may refer to:*WALK , a radio station licensed to East Patchogue, New York, United States*WALK-FM, a radio station licensed to Patchogue, New York, United States...

 alone. Picks up toy without falling over. Gets up/down stairs
Stairway, staircase, stairwell, flight of stairs, or simply stairs are names for a construction designed to bridge a large vertical distance by dividing it into smaller vertical distances, called steps...

 holding onto rail
A handrail is a rail that is designed to be grasped by the hand so as to provide stability or support. Handrails are commonly used while ascending or descending stairways and escalators in order to prevent injurious falls. Other applications include bathroom handrails—which help to prevent falls on...

. Begins to jump with both feet. Can build a tower
A tower is a tall structure, usually taller than it is wide, often by a significant margin. Towers are distinguished from masts by their lack of guy-wires....

 of 3 or 4 cubes and throw a ball
A ball is a round, usually spherical but sometimes ovoid, object with various uses. It is used in ball games, where the play of the game follows the state of the ball as it is hit, kicked or thrown by players. Balls can also be used for simpler activities, such as catch, marbles and juggling...

'Jargon'. Many intelligible words Demands constant mothering. Drinks from a cup with both hands. Feeds self with a spoon. Most children with autism are diagnosed at this age.
2 years Able to run
Running is a means of terrestrial locomotion allowing humans and other animals to move rapidly on foot. It is simply defined in athletics terms as a gait in which at regular points during the running cycle both feet are off the ground...

. Walks up and down stairs 2 feet per step. Builds tower of 6 cubes
Joins 2–3 words in sentence
Sentence (linguistics)
In the field of linguistics, a sentence is an expression in natural language, and often defined to indicate a grammatical unit consisting of one or more words that generally bear minimal syntactic relation to the words that precede or follow it...

Parallel play
Parallel play
Parallel play is a form of play where children play adjacent to each other, but do not try to influence one another's behavior. Children usually play alone but are interested in what the other child is doing. This usually occurs after the first birthday. It usually involves two or more children in...

. Dry by day
3 years Goes up stairs 1-foot per step and downstairs 2 feet per step. Copies
Copying is the duplication of information or an artifact based only on an instance of that information or artifact, and not using the process that originally generated it. With analog forms of information, copying is only possible to a limited degree of accuracy, which depends on the quality of the...

A circle is a simple shape of Euclidean geometry consisting of those points in a plane that are a given distance from a given point, the centre. The distance between any of the points and the centre is called the radius....

, imitates cross and draws man on request. Builds tower of 9 cube
In geometry, a cube is a three-dimensional solid object bounded by six square faces, facets or sides, with three meeting at each vertex. The cube can also be called a regular hexahedron and is one of the five Platonic solids. It is a special kind of square prism, of rectangular parallelepiped and...

Constantly asks question
A question may be either a linguistic expression used to make a request for information, or else the request itself made by such an expression. This information may be provided with an answer....

s. Speaks in sentences.
Cooperative play. Undresses with assistance. Imaginary companions
4 years Goes down stairs one foot per step, skips on one foot. Imitates gate with cubes, copies a cross Questioning at its height. Many infantile substitutions in speech Dresses and undresses with assistance. Attends to own toilet
A toilet is a sanitation fixture used primarily for the disposal of human excrement, often found in a small room referred to as a toilet/bathroom/lavatory...

5 years Skips on both feet and hops. Draws a man and copies a triangle. Gives age Fluent speech with few infantile substitutions in speech Dresses and undresses alone
6 years Copies a diamond
In Euclidean geometry, a rhombus or rhomb is a convex quadrilateral whose four sides all have the same length. The rhombus is often called a diamond, after the diamonds suit in playing cards, or a lozenge, though the latter sometimes refers specifically to a rhombus with a 45° angle.Every...

. Knows right from left
Relative direction
The most common relative directions are left, right, forward, backward, up, and down. No absolute direction corresponds to any of the relative directions. This is a consequence of the translational invariance of the laws of physics: nature, loosely speaking, behaves the same no matter what...

 and number of finger
A finger is a limb of the human body and a type of digit, an organ of manipulation and sensation found in the hands of humans and other primates....

Fluency is the property of a person or of a system that delivers information quickly and with expertise.-Speech:...


Physical specifications

Age Average length/height
Length growth Average weight Weight gain Respiration rate
(per minute)
Normal body temperature  Heart rate
Heart rate
Heart rate is the number of heartbeats per unit of time, typically expressed as beats per minute . Heart rate can vary as the body's need to absorb oxygen and excrete carbon dioxide changes, such as during exercise or sleep....

(per minute)
Visual acuity
(Snellen chart
Snellen chart
A Snellen chart is an eye chart used by eye care professionals and others to measure visual acuity. Snellen charts are named after the Dutch ophthalmologist Herman Snellen who developed the chart during 1862...

1–4 months 50–70 cm (19.7–27.6 in) 2.5 cm (0.984251968503937 in) per month 4–8 kg (8.8–17.6 lb) 100–200 g per week 30 to 40 35.7–37.5 °C
4–8 months 70–75 cm (27.6–29.5 in) 1.3 cm (0.511811023622047 in) per month (doubling birth weight) 500 g per month 25 to 50 body temperature heart rate
8–12 months Approx. 1.5 times birth length by first birthday body temperature 9.6 kg (21.2 lb)
Nearly triple the birth weight by first birthday
500 g per month 20 to 45 body temperature heart rate 20/100
12–24 months 80–90 cm (31.5–35.4 in) 5–8 cm (2–3.1 in) per year 9–13 kg (19.8–28.7 lb) 130–250 g per month 22 to 40 body temperature 80 to 110 20/60
2 years 85–95 cm (33.5–37.4 in) 7–13 cm (2.8–5.1 in) per year 12–15 kg (26.5–33.1 lb)
about 4 times birth weight
1 kg per year 20 to 35 body temperature heart rate


  • Head and chest circumference are nearly equal to the part of the abdomen.
  • Head circumference increases approximately 2 cm per month until two months, then increases 1.5 cm per month until four months.
  • Increases are an important indication of continued brain growth.
  • Continues to breathe using abdominal muscles.
  • Posterior fontanelle
    Posterior fontanelle
    The posterior fontanelle is a gap between bones in the human skull, triangular in form and situated at the junction of the sagittal suture and lambdoidal suture. It generally closes in 6-8 weeks from birth. A delay in closure is associated with congential hypothyroidism....

  • Anterior fontanelle
    Anterior fontanelle
    The anterior fontanelle is the largest fontanelle, and is placed at the junction of the sagittal suture, coronal suture, and frontal suture; it is lozenge-shaped, and measures about 4 cm in its antero-posterior and 2.5 cm in its transverse diameter...

  • Skin remains sensitive and easily irritated.
  • Legs.
  • Cries with tears.
  • Gums are red.
  • Eyes begin moving together in unison (binocular vision).

Motor development

  • Rooting and sucking reflexes are well developed.
  • Swallowing reflex and tongue movements are immature;inability to move food to the back of the mouth.
  • Grasp reflex.
  • Landau reflex appears near the middle of this period; when baby is held in a prone (face down) position, the head is held upright and legs are fully extended.
  • Grasps with entire hand; strength insufficient to hold items. Holds hands in an open or semi-open position.
  • Movements are large and jerky.
  • Raises head and upper body on arms when in a prone position.
  • Turns head side to side when in a supine (face up) position;can not hold head up and line with the body.
  • Upper body parts are more active: clasps hands above face, waves arms about, reaches for objects.


  • Head and chest circumferences are basically equal.
  • Head circumference increases approximately 1 cm per month until six to seven months, then 0.5 cm per month; head circumference should continue to increase steadily, indicating healthy, ongoing brain growth.
  • Posterior fontanelle closing or fully closed.
  • Anterior fontanelle.
  • Breathing is abdominal; respiration rate depending on activity; rate and patterns vary from infant to infant.
  • Teeth may begin to appear, with upper and lower incisors coming in first. Gums may become red and swollen, accompanied by increased drooling, chewing, biting, and mouthing of objects.
  • Legs may appear bowed; bowing gradually disappears as infant grows older.
  • Fat rolls ("Baby Fat") appear on thighs, upper arms and neck.
  • True eye color
    Eye color
    Eye color is a polygenic phenotypic character and is determined by two distinct factors: the pigmentation of the eye's iris and the frequency-dependence of the scattering of light by the turbid medium in the stroma of the iris....

     is established.

Motor development

  • Reflexive behaviors are changing:
  • Blinking reflex is well established
  • Sucking reflex becomes voluntary
  • Moro reflex
    Moro reflex
    The Moro reflex, which is distinct from the startle reflex, is one of the infantile reflexes.It may be observed in incomplete form in premature birth after the 28th week of gestation, and is usually present in complete form by week 34...

  • When lowered suddenly, infant throws out arms as a protective measure.
  • Swallowing reflex appears and allows infant to move solid foods from front of mouth to the back for swallowing.
  • Picks up objects using finger and thumb (pincer grip).
  • Reaches for objects with both arms simultaneously; later reaches with one hand or the other.
  • Transfers objects from one hand to the other; grasps object using entire hand (palmar grasp).
  • Handles, shakes, and pounds objects; puts everything in mouth.
  • Able to hold bottle.
  • Sits alone without support, holding head erect, back straightened, and arms propped forward for support
  • Pulls self into a crawling position by raising up on arms and drawing knees up beneath the body; rocks back and forth, but generally does not move forward.
  • Lifts head when placed on back.
  • Can roll over from back or stomach position.
  • May accidentally begin scooting backwards when placed on stomach; soon will begin to crawl forward.
  • Looks for fallen objects by 7 months
  • Plays ‘peek-a-boo’ games
  • Cannot understand “no” or “danger”


  • Respiration rates vary with activity
  • Environmental conditions, weather, activity, and clothing still affect variations in body temperature.
  • Head and chest circumference remain equal.
  • Anterior fontanelle begins to close.
  • Continues to use abdominal muscles for breathing.
  • More teeth appear, often in the order of two lower incisors then two upper incisors followed by four more incisors and two lower molars but some babies may still be waiting for their first.
  • Arm and hands are more developed than feet and legs (cephalocaudal development); hands appear large in proportion to other body parts.
  • Legs may continue to appear bowed.
  • "Baby Fat" continues to appear on thighs, upper arms and neck.
  • Feet appear flat as arch has not yet fully developed.
  • Both eyes work in unison (true binocular coordination).
  • Can see distant objects (4 to 6 m or 13.1 to 19.7 ft away) and points at them.

Motor development

  • Reaches with one hand leading to grasp an offered object or toy.
  • Manipulates objects, transferring them from one hand to the other.
  • Explores new objects by poking with one finger.
  • Uses deliberate pincer grasp to pick up small objects, toys, and finger foods.
  • Stacks objects; also places objects inside one another.
  • Releases objects or toys by dropping or throwing; cannot intentionally put an object down.
  • Beginning to pull self to a standing position.
  • Beginning to stand alone, leaning on furniture for support; moves around obstacles by side-stepping.
  • Has good balance when sitting; can shift positions without falling.
  • Creeps on hands and knees; crawls up and down stairs.
  • Walks with adult support, holding onto adult's hand; may begin to walk alone.
  • Watches people, objects, and activities in the immediate environment.
  • Shows awareness of distant objects (4 to 6 m or 13.1 to 19.7 ft away) by pointing at them.
  • Responds to hearing tests (voice localization); however, loses interest quickly and, therefore, may be difficult to test formally.
  • Follows simple instructions.
  • Reaches for toys that are out of reach but visible
  • Recognizes objects in reverse
  • Drops thing intentionally and repeats and watches object
  • Imitates activities like playing drum


  • Weight is now approximately 3 times the child's birth weight.
  • Respiration rate varies with emotional state and activity.
  • Rate of growth slows
  • Head size increases slowly; grows approximately 1.3 cm every six months; anterior fontanelle is nearly closed at eighteen months as bones of the skull
    Human skull
    The human skull is a bony structure, skeleton, that is in the human head and which supports the structures of the face and forms a cavity for the brain.In humans, the adult skull is normally made up of 22 bones...

  • Anterior fontanelle closing or fully closed, usually at the middle of this year.
  • Chest circumference is larger than head circumference.
  • Legs may still appear bowed.
  • Toddler will begin to lose the "Baby Fat" once he/she begins walking.
  • Body shape changes; takes on more adult-like appearance; still appears top-heavy; abdomen protrudes, back is swayed.

Motor development

  • Crawls skillfully and quickly.
  • Stands alone with feet spread apart, legs stiffened, and arms extended for support.
  • Gets to feet unaided.
  • Most children walk unassisted near the end of this period; falls often; not always able to maneuver around obstacles, such as furniture or toys.
  • Uses furniture to lower self to floor; collapses backwards into a sitting position or falls forward on hands and then sits.
  • Enjoys pushing or pulling toys while walking.
  • Repeatedly picks up objects and throws them; direction becomes more deliberate.
  • Attempts to run; has difficulty stopping and usually just drops to the floor.
  • Crawls up stairs on all fours; goes down stairs in same position.
  • Sits in a small chair.
  • Carries toys from place to place.
  • Enjoys crayons and markers for scribbling; uses whole-arm movement.
  • Helps feed self; enjoys holding spoon (often upside down) and drinking from a glass or cup; not always accurate in getting utensils into mouth; frequent spills should be expected.
  • Helps turn pages in book.
  • Stacks two to six objects per day.

Cognitive development

  • Enjoys object-hiding activities
  • Early in this period, the child always searches in the same location for a hidden object (if the child has watched the hiding of an object). Later, the child will search in several locations.
  • Passes toy to other hand when offered a second object (referred to as "crossing the midline"-an important neurological development).
  • Manages three to four objects by setting an object aside (on lap or floor) when presented with a new toy
    A toy is any object that can be used for play. Toys are associated commonly with children and pets. Playing with toys is often thought to be an enjoyable means of training the young for life in human society. Different materials are used to make toys enjoyable and cuddly to both young and old...

  • Puts toys in mouth
    The mouth is the first portion of the alimentary canal that receives food andsaliva. The oral mucosa is the mucous membrane epithelium lining the inside of the mouth....

     less often.
  • Enjoys looking at picture book
    Picture book
    A picture book combines visual and verbal narratives in a book format, most often aimed at young children. The images in picture books use a range of media such as oil paints, acrylics, watercolor and pencil.Two of the earliest books with something like the format picture books still retain now...

  • Demonstrates understanding of functional relationships (objects that belong together): Puts spoon
    A spoon is a utensil consisting of a small shallow bowl, oval or round, at the end of a handle. A type of cutlery , especially as part of a place setting, it is used primarily for serving. Spoons are also used in food preparation to measure, mix, stir and toss ingredients...

     in bowl
    Bowl (vessel)
    A bowl is a common open-top container used in many cultures to serve food, and is also used for drinking and storing other items. They are typically small and shallow, although some, such as punch bowls and salad bowls, are larger and often intended to serve many people.Bowls have existed for...

     and then uses spoon as if eating; places teacup
    A teacup is a small cup, with or without a handle, generally a small one that may be grasped with the thumb and one or two fingers. It is typically made of a ceramic material. It is usually part of a set, composed of a cup and a matching saucer. These in turn may be part of a tea set in...

     on saucer
    A saucer is a small type of dishware, a plate that is specifically used with and for supporting a cup – a cylindrical cup intended for coffee or a half-sphere teacup for tea. Additionally, the saucer is a distant cousin to the plate. The saucer has a raised centre with a depression sized to fit a...

     and sips from cup; tries to make doll stand up.
  • Shows or offers toy to another person to look at.
  • Names many everyday objects.
  • Shows increasing understanding of spatial and form
    The shape of an object located in some space is a geometrical description of the part of that space occupied by the object, as determined by its external boundary – abstracting from location and orientation in space, size, and other properties such as colour, content, and material...

     discrimination: puts all pegs in a pegboard; places three geometric shapes in large formboard or puzzle
    A puzzle is a problem or enigma that tests the ingenuity of the solver. In a basic puzzle, one is intended to put together pieces in a logical way in order to come up with the desired solution...

  • Places several small items (blocks, clothespins, cereal pieces) in a container or bottle and then dumps them out.
  • Tries to make mechanical objects work after watching someone else do so.
  • Responds with some facial movement, but cannot truly imitate facial expression
    Facial expression
    A facial expression one or more motions or positions of the muscles in the skin. These movements convey the emotional state of the individual to observers. Facial expressions are a form of nonverbal communication. They are a primary means of conveying social information among humans, but also occur...

  • Most children with autism are diagnosed at this age.


  • Produces considerable "jargon": puts words and sounds together into speech-like (inflected) patterns.
  • Holophrastic speech: uses one word to convey an entire thought; meaning depends on the inflection ("me" may be used to request more cookies or a desire to feed self). Later; produces two-word phrases to express a complete thought (telegraphic speech): "More cookie," "Daddy bye-bye."
  • Follows simple directions, "Give Daddy the cup."
  • When asked, will point to familiar persons, animals, and toys.
  • Identifies three body parts if someone names them: "Show me your nose (toe, ear)."
  • Indicates a few desired objects and activities by name: "Bye-bye," "cookie"; verbal request is often accompanied by an insistent gesture.
  • Responds to simple questions with "yes" or "no" and appropriate head movement.
  • Speech is 25 to 50 percent intelligible during this period.
  • Locates familiar objects on request (if child knows location of objects).
  • Acquires and uses five to fifty words; typically these are words that refer to animals, food, and toys.
  • Uses gestures, such as pointing or pulling, to direct adult attention.
  • Enjoys rhymes and songs; tries to join in.
  • Seems aware of reciprocal (back and forth) aspects of conversational exchanges; some turn-taking in other kinds of vocal exchanges, such as making and imitating sounds.


  • less wary of strangers.
  • Helps pick up and put away toys.
  • Plays by themselves

  • Enjoys being held and read to.
  • Often imitates adult actions in play.
  • Enjoys adult attention; likes to know that an adult is near; gives hugs and kisses.
  • Recognizes self in mirror.
  • Enjoys the companionship of other children, but does not play cooperatively.
  • Beginning to assert independence; often refuses to cooperate with daily routines that once were enjoyable; resists getting dressed, putting on shoes, eating, taking a bath; wants to try doing things without help.
  • May have a tantrum
    A tantrum is an emotional outburst, usually associated with children or those in emotional distress, that is typically characterized by stubbornness, crying, screaming, yelling, shrieking, defiance, angry ranting, a resistance to attempts at pacification and, in some cases, violence...

     when things go wrong or if overly tired or frustrated.
  • Exceedingly curious about people and surroundings; toddlers need to be watched carefully to prevent them from getting into unsafe situations.


Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt (will)

(J. Chasse, 2008)
Psychosocial stimulation is vital during the toddler years. Play begins to become interactive.
Toddlers begin to learn and exhibit independence, but ironically they enjoy sharing this discovery with others.
Another important advancement is active social play with adults including mirroring and repeating. Songs, rhymes, and finger plays (e.g. eensy weensy spider, little teapot, etc.) are a great way to encourage and stimulate this area of development. Want attention, if not paid start throwing objects, trouble you watching TV. Scared from dark, start crying loudly under the situation.


  • Posture is more erect; abdomen still large and protruding, back swayed, because abdominal muscles are not yet fully developed.
  • Respirations are slow and regular
  • Body temperature continues to fluctuate with activity, emotional state, and environment.
  • Brain reaches about 80 percent of its adult size.
  • 16 baby teeth almost finished growing out

Motor development

  • Can walk around obstacles and walk more erect
  • Squats for long periods while playing.
  • Climbs stairs unassisted (but not with alternating feet).
  • Balances on one foot (for a few moments), jumps up and down, but may fall.
  • Often achieves toilet training during this year (depending on child's physical and neurological development) although accidents should still be expected; the child will indicate readiness for toilet training.
  • Throws large ball underhand without losing balance. Holds small cup or tumbler in one hand. Unbuttons large buttons; unzips large zippers.
  • Opens doors by turning doorknobs.
  • Grasps large crayon with fist; scribbles.
  • Climbs up on chair, turns, and sits down.
  • Stacks four to six objects on top of one another.
  • Uses feet to propel wheeled riding toys.


  • Eye–hand movements better coordinated; can put objects together, take them apart; fit large pegs into pegboard.
  • Begins to use objects for purposes other than intended (may push a block around as a boat).
  • Does simple classification tasks based on single dimension (separates toy dinosaurs from toy cars).
  • Seems fascinated by, or engrossed in, figuring out situations: where the tennis ball rolled, where the dog went, what caused a particular noise.
  • Attends to self-selected activities for longer periods of time. Discovering cause and effect: squeezing the cat makes her scratch.
  • Knows where familiar persons should be; notes their absence; finds a hidden object by looking in last hiding place first. (This is what Piaget
    Jean Piaget
    Jean Piaget was a French-speaking Swiss developmental psychologist and philosopher known for his epistemological studies with children. His theory of cognitive development and epistemological view are together called "genetic epistemology"....

     termed object permanence
    Object permanence
    Object permanence is the understanding that objects continue to exist even when they cannot be seen, heard, or touched. It is acquired by human infants between 8 and 12 months of age via the process of logical induction to help them develop secondary schemes in their sensori-motor coordination...

    , which usually occurs during the sensorimotor stage of Piaget's childhood theory of cognitive development
    Theory of cognitive development
    Piaget's theory of cognitive development is a comprehensive theory about the nature and development of human intelligence first developed by Jean Piaget. It is primarily known as a developmental stage theory, but in fact, it deals with the nature of knowledge itself and how humans come gradually to...

  • Names familiar objects.
  • Recognizes, expresses, and locates pain.
  • Expected to use "magical thinking", such as believing a toy bear is a real bear.
  • Tells about objects and events not immediately present (this is both a cognitive and linguistic advance).
  • Expresses more curiosity about the world.


  • Enjoys participating while being read to.
  • Realizes language is effective for getting desired responses.
  • Uses fifty to three-hundred words; vocabulary continuously increasing.
  • Has broken the linguistic code; in other words, much of a two-year-old's talk has meaning to him or her.
  • Receptive language is more developed than expressive language; most two-year olds understand significantly more than they can talk about.
  • Utters three- and four-word statements; uses conventional word order to form more complete sentences.
  • Refers to self as "me" or sometimes "I" rather than by name: "Me go bye-bye"; has no trouble verbalizing "mine."
  • Expresses negative statements by tacking on a negative word such as "no" or "not": "Not more milk."
  • Uses some plurals.
  • Some stammering and other dysfluencies are common.
  • Speech is as much as 65 to 70 percent intelligible.
  • Is able to verbalize needs.

Social and emotional

  • Shows signs of empathy and caring: comforts another child if hurt or frightened; appears to sometimes be overly affectionate in offering hugs and kisses to children
  • Continues to use physical aggression if frustrated or angry (for some children, this is more exaggerated than for others); Physical aggression usually lessens as verbal skills improve.
  • Temper tantrums likely to peak during this year; extremely difficult to reason with during a tantrum.
  • Impatient; finds it difficult to wait or take turns.
  • Enjoys "helping" with household chores; imitates everyday activities: may try to toilet a stuffed animal, feed a doll.
  • "Bossy" with parents and caregivers; orders them around, makes demands, expects immediate compliance from adults.
  • Watches and imitates the play of other children, but seldom interacts directly; plays near others, often choosing similar toys and activities (parallel play); solitary play is often simple and repetitive.
  • Offers toys to other children, but is usually possessive of playthings; still tends to hoard toys.
  • Making choices is difficult; wants it both ways.
  • Often defiant; shouting "no" becomes automatic.
  • Ritualistic; wants everything "just so"; routines carried out exactly as before; belongings placed "where they belong."


  • Growth is steady though slower than in first two years.
  • Adult height can be predicted from measurements of height at three years of age; males are approximately 53% of their adult height and females, 57%.
  • Legs grow faster than arms,
  • Circumference of head and chest is equal; head size is in better proportion to the body.
  • "Baby fat
    Brown adipose tissue
    Brown adipose tissue or brown fat is one of two types of fat or adipose tissue found in mammals....

    " disappears as neck appears.
  • Posture is more erect; abdomen no longer protrudes.
  • Slightly knock-kneed.
  • can jump from low step
  • can stand up and walk around on tiptoes
  • "baby" teeth stage over.
  • Needs to consume approximately 6,300 J (1,500 calories) daily.

Motor development

  • Walks up and down stairs unassisted, using alternating feet; may jump from bottom step, landing on both feet.
  • Can walk on one foot, balance momentarily.
  • Can kick big ball-shaped objects.
  • Needs minimal assistance eating.
  • Jumps on the spot.
  • Pedals a small tricycle.
  • Throws a ball overhand; aim and distance are limited.
  • Catches a large bounced ball with both arms extended.
  • Enjoys swinging on a swing (not too high or too fast).
  • Shows improved control of crayons or markers; uses vertical, horizontal and circular strokes.
  • Holds crayon or marker between first two fingers and thumb (tripod grasp), not in a fist as earlier.
  • Can turn pages of a book one at a time
  • Enjoys building with blocks.
  • Builds a tower of eight or more blocks.
  • Enjoys playing with clay; pounds, rolls, and squeezes it.
  • May begin to show hand dominance.
  • Carries a container of liquid, such as a cup of milk or bowl of water, without much spilling; pours liquid from pitcher into another container.
  • Manipulates large buttons and zippers on clothing.
  • Washes and dries hands; brushes own teeth, but not thoroughly.
  • Usually achieves complete bladder control during this time.

Cognitive development

  • Listens attentively to age-appropriate stories.
  • Makes relevant comments during stories, especially those that relate to home and family events.
  • Likes to look at books and may pretend to "read" to others or explain pictures.
  • Enjoys stories with riddles, guessing, and "suspense."
  • Speech is understandable most of the time.
  • Produces expanded noun phrases: "big, brown dog."
  • Produces verbs with "ing" endings; uses "-s" to indicate more than one; often puts "-s" on already pluralized forms: geeses, mices.
  • Indicates negatives by inserting "no" or "not" before a simple noun or verb phrase: "Not baby."
  • Answers "What are you doing?", "What is this?", and "Where?" questions dealing with familiar objects and events.

Physical Development

  • Head circumference is usually not measured after age three.
  • Requires approximately 1,700 calories daily.
  • Hearing acuity can be assessed by child's correct usage of sounds and *Language also, by the child's appropriate responses to questions and instructions.

Motor Development

  • Walks a straight line (tape or chalk line on the floor).
  • Hops on one foot.
  • Pedals and steers a wheeled toy with confidence; turns corners, avoids obstacles and oncoming "traffic."
  • Climbs ladders, trees, playground equipment.
  • Jumps over objects 12 to 15 cm (4.7 to 5.9 in) high; lands with both feet together.
  • Runs, starts, stops, and moves around obstacles with ease.
  • Throws a ball overhand; distance and aim improving.
  • Builds a tower with ten or more blocks.
  • Forms shapes and objects out of clay: cookies, snakes, simple animals.
  • Reproduces some shapes and letters.
  • Holds a crayon or marker using a tripod grasp.
  • Paints and draws with purpose; may have an idea in mind, but often has problems implementing it so calls the creation something else.
  • Becomes more accurate at hitting nails and pegs with hammer.
  • Threads small wooden beads on a string.
  • Can run in a circle


  • Can recognize that certain words sound similar
  • Names eighteen to twenty uppercase letters. Writes several letters and sometimes their name.
  • A few children are beginning to read simple books, such as alphabet books with only a few words per page and many pictures.
  • Likes stories about how things grow and how things operate.
  • Delights in wordplay, creating silly Language.
  • Understands the concepts of "tallest," "biggest," "same," and "more"; selects the picture that has the "most houses" or the "biggest dogs."
  • Rote counts to 20 or more.
  • Understands the sequence of daily events: "When we get up in the morning, we get dressed, have breakfast, brush our teeth, and go to school."
  • When looking at pictures, can recognize and identify missing puzzle parts (of person, car, animal).
  • Very good storytellers.
  • Counts 1 to 7 objects out loud, but not always in order
  • follows two to three step directions given individually or in a group
  • may put the "ed" on the end of words such as "I goed outside and I played."


  • Uses the prepositions "on," "in," and "under."
  • Uses possessives consistently: "hers," "theirs," "baby's."
  • Answers "Whose?", "Who?", "Why?", and "How many?"
  • Produces elaborate sentence structures: "The cat ran under the house before I could see what color it was."
  • Speech is almost entirely intelligible.
  • Begins to correctly use the past tense of verbs: "Mommy closed the door," "Daddy went to work."
  • Refers to activities, events, objects, and people that are not present.
  • Changes tone of voice and sentence structure to adapt to listener's level of under-standing: To baby brother, "Milk gone?" To Mother, "Did the baby drink all of his milk?"
  • States first and last name, gender, siblings' names, and sometimes own telephone number.
  • Answers appropriately when asked what to do if tired, cold, or hungry. Recites and sings simple songs and rhymes.

Social development

  • Outgoing; friendly; overly enthusiastic at times.
  • Moods change rapidly and unpredictably; laughing one minute, crying the next; may throw tantrum over minor frustrations (a block structure that will not balance); sulk over being left out.
  • Imaginary playmates
    Imaginary Friend
    Imaginary Friend may refer to:*Imaginary friend, an invented person, animal or characterIn music:* Imaginary Friend , a Finnish indie-pop group formed in 2004* Imaginary Friend...

     or companions are common; holds conversations and shares strong emotions with this invisible friend.
  • Boasts, exaggerates, and "bends" the truth with made-up stories or claims of boldness; tests the limits with "bathroom" talk.
  • Cooperates with others; participates in group activities.
  • Shows pride in accomplishments; seeks frequent adult approval.
  • Often appears selfish; not always able to take turns or to understand taking turns under some conditions; tattles on other children.
  • Insists on trying to do things independently, but may get so frustrated as to verge on tantrums when problems arise: paint that drips, paper airplane that will not fold right.
  • Enjoys role-playing and make-believe activities.
  • Relies (most of the time) on verbal rather than Physical aggression; may yell angrily rather than hit to make a point; threatens: "You can't come to my birthday party"
  • Name-calling and taunting are often used as ways of excluding other children.
  • Establishes close relationships with playmates; beginning to have "best" friends.


  • Head size is approximately that of an adult's.
  • May begin to lose "baby" (deciduous) teeth.
  • Body is adult-like in proportion.
  • Requires approximately 7,500 J (1,800 calories) daily
  • Visual tracking and binocular vision are well developed.

Motor development

  • Walks backwards, toe to heel.
  • Walks unassisted up and down stairs, alternating feet.
  • May learn to turn somersaults (should be taught the right way in order to avoid injury).
  • Can touch toes without flexing knees.
  • Walks a balance beam.
  • Learns to skip using alternative feet.
  • Catches a ball thrown from 1 m (3.3 ft) away.
  • Rides a tricycle
    A tricycle is a three-wheeled vehicle. While tricycles are often associated with the small three-wheeled vehicles used by pre-school-age children, they are also used by adults for a variety of purposes. In the United States and Canada, adult-sized tricycles are used primarily by older persons for...

     or wheeled toy with speed and skillful steering; some children learning to ride bicycles, usually with training wheels
    Training wheels
    Training wheels are an additional wheel or wheels mounted parallel to the rear wheel of a bicycle that assist learners until they have developed a usable sense of balance on the bicycle. Typically they are used in teaching very young children to ride a bike, although versions for adults exist...

  • Jumps or hops forward ten times in a row without falling.
  • Balances on either foot with good control for ten seconds.
  • Builds three-dimensional structures with small cubes by copying from a picture or model.
  • Reproduces many shapes and letters: square, triangle, A, I, O, U, C, H, L, T.
  • Demonstrates fair control of pencil or marker; may begin to color within the lines.
  • Cuts on the line with scissors (not perfectly).
  • Hand dominance is fairly well established.


  • Forms rectangle from two triangular cuts.
  • Builds steps with set of small blocks.
  • Understands concept of same shape, same size.
  • Sorts objects on the basis of two dimensions, such as color and form.
  • Sorts a variety of objects so that all things in the group have a single common feature (classification skill: all are food items or boats or animals).
  • Understands the concepts of smallest and shortest; places objects in order from shortest to tallest, smallest to largest.
  • Identifies objects with specified serial position: first, second, last.
  • Rote counts to 20 and above; many children count to 100.
  • Recognizes numerals from 1 to 10.
  • Understands the concepts of less than: "Which bowl has less water?"
  • Understands the terms dark, light, and early: "I got up early, before anyone else. It was still dark."
  • Relates clock time to daily schedule: "Time to turn on TV when the little hand points to 5."
  • Some children can tell time on the hour: five o'clock, two o'clock.
  • Knows what a calendar
    A calendar is a system of organizing days for social, religious, commercial, or administrative purposes. This is done by giving names to periods of time, typically days, weeks, months, and years. The name given to each day is known as a date. Periods in a calendar are usually, though not...

     is for.
  • Recognizes and identifies coin
    A coin is a piece of hard material that is standardized in weight, is produced in large quantities in order to facilitate trade, and primarily can be used as a legal tender token for commerce in the designated country, region, or territory....

    s; beginning to count and save money.
  • Many children know the alphabet
    An alphabet is a standard set of letters—basic written symbols or graphemes—each of which represents a phoneme in a spoken language, either as it exists now or as it was in the past. There are other systems, such as logographies, in which each character represents a word, morpheme, or semantic...

     and names of upper- and lowercase letters.
  • Understands the concept of half; can say how many pieces an object has when it's been cut in half.
  • Asks innumerable questions: Why? What? Where? When?
  • Eager to learn new things.

Language development

  • Vocabulary of 1,500 words plus.
  • Tells a familiar story
    A narrative is a constructive format that describes a sequence of non-fictional or fictional events. The word derives from the Latin verb narrare, "to recount", and is related to the adjective gnarus, "knowing" or "skilled"...

     while looking at pictures in a book.
  • Defines simple words by function: a ball is to bounce; a bed is to sleep in.
  • Identifies and names four to eight colours.
  • Recognizes the humor in simple joke
    A joke is a phrase or a paragraph with a humorous twist. It can be in many different forms, such as a question or short story. To achieve this end, jokes may employ irony, sarcasm, word play and other devices...

    s; makes up jokes and riddles.
  • Produces sentence
    Sentence (linguistics)
    In the field of linguistics, a sentence is an expression in natural language, and often defined to indicate a grammatical unit consisting of one or more words that generally bear minimal syntactic relation to the words that precede or follow it...

    s with five to seven words; much longer sentences are not unusual.
  • States the name of own city or town, birthday
    A birthday is a day or anniversary where a person celebrates his or her date of birth. Birthdays are celebrated in numerous cultures, often with a gift, party or rite of passage. Although the major religions celebrate the birth of their founders , Christmas – which is celebrated widely by...

    , and parents' names.
  • Answers telephone appropriately; calls person to phone or takes a brief message
  • Speech is almost entirely grammatically correct.
  • Uses "would" and "could" appropriately.
  • Uses past tense of irregular verbs consistently: "went," "caught," "swam."
  • Uses past-tense inflection
    In grammar, inflection or inflexion is the modification of a word to express different grammatical categories such as tense, grammatical mood, grammatical voice, aspect, person, number, gender and case...

     (-ed) appropriately to mark regular verbs: "jumped," "rained," "washed."

Social development

  • Enjoys and often has one or two focus friendships.
  • Plays cooperatively (can lapse), is generous, takes turns, shares toys.
  • Participates in group play and shared activities with other children; suggests imaginative and elaborate play ideas.
  • Shows affection and caring towards others especially those “below” them or in pain
  • Generally subservient to parent or caregiver requests.
  • Needs comfort and reassurance from adults but is less open to comfort.
  • Has better self-control over swings of emotions.
  • Likes entertaining people and making them laugh.
  • Boasts about accomplishments.


  • Weight gains reflect significant increases in muscle
    Muscle is a contractile tissue of animals and is derived from the mesodermal layer of embryonic germ cells. Muscle cells contain contractile filaments that move past each other and change the size of the cell. They are classified as skeletal, cardiac, or smooth muscles. Their function is to...

  • Heart rate and respiratory rates are close to adults.
  • Body may appear lanky as through period of rapid growth.
  • Baby teeth beginning to be replaced by permanent ones, starting with the two lower front teeth
  • 20/20 eyesight; if below 20/40 should see a professional.
  • The most common vision problem during middle childhood is myopia, or nearsightedness. (Berk, 2007).
  • Uses 6,700 J to 7,100 J (1,600 to 1,700 calories) a day.

Motor development

  • Gains greater control over large and fine motor skills; movements are more precise and deliberate, though some clumsiness persists.
  • Enjoys vigorous running, jumping, climbing, and throwing est.
  • Has trouble staying still.
  • Span of attention increases; works at tasks for longer periods of time, though
  • Can concentrate effort but not always consistently.
  • Understands time (today, tomorrow, yesterday) and simple motion (things go faster than others).
  • Recognizes seasons and major activities done in the times.
  • Has fun with problem solving and sorting activities like stacking, puzzles and mazes
  • Enjoys the challenge of puzzles, counting and sorting activities, paper-and-pencil mazes, and games that involve matching letters and words with pictures.
  • Recognizes some words by sight; attempts to sound out words
  • In some cases the child may be reading well.
  • functioning which facilitates learning to ride a bicycle, swim, swing a bat, or kick a ball.
  • Making things is enjoyed.
  • Reverses or confuse certain letters: b/d, p/g, g/q, t/f.
  • Able to trace objects.
  • Folds and cuts paper into simple shapes.
  • Can Tie Laces, string (like shoes).


  • Can identify right and left hands fairly consistently.
  • Holds onto positive beliefs involving the unexplainable (magic or fantasy)
  • Arrives at some understanding about death and dying; expresses fear that parents may die.
  • Talks a lot.
  • Loves telling joke
    A joke is a phrase or a paragraph with a humorous twist. It can be in many different forms, such as a question or short story. To achieve this end, jokes may employ irony, sarcasm, word play and other devices...

    s and riddles; often, the humor is far from subtle.
  • Experiments with slang
    Slang is the use of informal words and expressions that are not considered standard in the speaker's language or dialect but are considered more acceptable when used socially. Slang is often to be found in areas of the lexicon that refer to things considered taboo...

     and profanity and finds it funny.
  • Enthusiastic and inquisitive about surroundings and everyday events.
  • Able to carry on adult-like conversations; asks many questions.
  • Learns 5 to 10 words a day; vocabulary of 10,000–14,000.
  • Uses appropriate verb tenses, word order, and sentence structure.

Social and emotional

  • Uses language rather than tantrums or physical aggression to express displeasure: "That's mine! Give it back, you dummy."
  • Talks self through steps required in simple problem-solving situations (though the "logic" may be unclear to adults).
  • Has mood swings towards primary caregiver depending on the day
  • Friendship with parent is less depended on but still needs closeness and nurturing.
  • Anxious to please; needs and seeks adult approval, reassurance, and praise; may complain excessively about minor hurts to gain more attention.
  • Often can't view the world from another’s point of view
  • Self-perceived failure can make the child easily disappointed and frustrated.
  • Can't handle things not going their own way
  • Does not understand ethical behavior or moral standards especially when doing things that have not been given rules
  • Understands when he or she has been thought to be "bad"; values are based on others enforced values.
  • May be increasingly fearful of the unknown like things in the dark, noises, and animals.

See also

  • Attachment in children
    Attachment in children
    Newborn humans infants cannot survive without a caregiver to provide food and protection, and will not thrive without other types of support as well. While infants have relatively few inborn behaviors—such as crying, rooting, and sucking—they also come with many behavioral systems ready to be...

  • Attachment Theory
    Attachment theory
    Attachment theory describes the dynamics of long-term relationships between humans. Its most important tenet is that an infant needs to develop a relationship with at least one primary caregiver for social and emotional development to occur normally. Attachment theory is an interdisciplinary study...

  • Behavioral Cusp
    Behavioral cusp
    A behavioral cusp is any behavior change that brings an organism's behavior into contact with new contingencies that have far-reaching consequences...

  • Child development
    Child development
    Child development stages describe theoretical milestones of child development. Many stage models of development have been proposed, used as working concepts and in some cases asserted as nativist theories....

  • Early childhood education
    Early childhood education
    Early childhood education is the formal teaching and care of young children by people other than their family or in settings outside of the home. 'Early childhood' is usually defined as before the age of normal schooling - five years in most nations, though the U.S...

  • Early childhood
    Early childhood
    For the video game rating with a similar age group see ESRBEarly childhood is a stage in human development. It generally includes toddlerhood and some time afterwards. Play age is an unspecific designation approximately within the scope of early childhood.-Education:Infants and toddlers experience...

  • Infant vision
    Infant vision
    The science of infant vision gives a verifiable basis for some practices of pediatric ophthalmology and gathers measurements intended to describe, monitor and predict:* development of retinal photoreceptor cells...

  • Sign language in infants and toddlers

External links

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