Child Development Stages

Understanding Your Child’s Developmental Stages

Do you have questions about your child’s development?

Not sure what types of behaviors you should be looking for at a certain age?

Do your see other children your child’s age exhibiting behaviors that your child has not yet mastered?

As a parent, you know your child better than anyone and you also can sense when something might just not be right.

To help you answer these questions, teli has complied guidelines by age from the leading sources in child development as well as their over 50 years of experience in the care of children with developmental delays.

While there are typical time frames for development, some children may develop behaviors earlier or later, but still be in the age range.  When your child gives you that toothless grin, begins to crawl, or say those wonderful first words, the timeframe can help you and your doctor know if your child is progressing along these important child developmental milestones.

Child developmental stages are a combination of a number of behaviors that make your little one unique!

    • Social and Emotional:  How they relate to others and their environment
    • Communication: How they react and respond to sound and express themselves through sounds
    • Movement: How they coordinate their body’s muscular system for fine or gross motor skills
    • Learning & Thinking: How they begin to process and show interest in exploring their environment
    • Self- Care: How they begin to suck from a bottle to starting to feed themselves.

Just click on the age range of your child from the list below to understand the typical behaviors.

3 months

6 months

9 months

12 months

18 months

24 months

30 months

36 months

These guidelines are intended to provide some insight to help parents monitor their child’s progress. If you are concerned about your child’s development, you should discuss your concern with your physician.  If your physician believes that additional development support might be needed, teli can help
BY 3 MONTHS A CHILD …

Social/Emotional:

  • Smiles when a familiar person talks or interacts with  your child
  • Enjoys being held and cuddled

Communication:

  • Responds to loud sounds
  • Is calm or quiet in response to a familiar voice
  • Coo and gurgle  (make sounds other than crying or fussing)

Movement:

  • Kicks their arms and legs freely when lying on their back
  • Lifts  their head when placed on  their tummy
  • Briefly grasps a finger or lightweight toy placed in their hand

Learning & Thinking:

  • Likes to look at faces or contrasting objects (ie. black and white)
  • Follows a moving object or person with  their eyes

Self Care

  • Sucks and swallows well from the breast or bottle with little leakage/dribbling
  • Enjoys sucking on other things such as their hands, your fingers, a pacifier, or  tongue

back to age ranges

 

BY 6 MONTHS A CHILD …

Social/Emotional:

  • Begins looking at and reaching for their feet
  • Begins to respond differently to strangers (ie. staring or crying)
  • Enjoys seeing their reflection in the mirror

Communication:

  • Turns their head to find sounds
  • Makes sounds to express happiness (laughing, squealing, etc.) and sounds to show displeasure (crying, fussing, whining, etc.)
  • Begins babbling with a few consonant sounds like “b” or “m”

Movement:

  • Rolls from their back to their tummy
  • Sits for a few seconds on their own while bent forward or leaning on their hands
  • Bears weight on their legs when held in standing
  • Reaches for nearby objects
  • Passes a toy from one hand to the other hand

Learning & Thinking:

  • Shows interest in toys and try to get a toy that is out of reach
  • Grasps toys and play by shaking or banging them
  • Brings toys and other objects to their mouth to explore them

Self Care

  • Anticipates daily activities like being fed (may open their mouth, calm, or show excitement at seeing the bottle)
  • Puts their hands up to the bottle to help support it

back to age ranges

 

BY 9 MONTHS A CHILD…

Social/Emotional:

  • Enjoys playing games like pat-a-cake and peek-a-boo
  • Begins to show separation anxiety or become upset when their caregiver leaves the room

Communication:

  • Strings common sounds together like “mamama”, “dadada” or “gagaga”
  • Pauses briefly in respond to a firm tone of voice or “no” (even though  they may continue what  they are doing)
  • Communicates through gestures like reaching, waving, raising their arms, or pushing things away

Movement:

  • Sits up straight without support for at least a minute
  • Scoots forward and pivot on their tummy
  • Stands while holding onto furniture or your hands
  • Holds out a toy or food to share or show you

Learning & Thinking:

  • Enjoys playing by banging toys together or on other objects
  • Imitates gestures and sounds
  • Looks for a toy that  they dropped or that you try to hide while they are looking

Self Care

  • Picks up small objects or pieces of food using their thumb and one or two fingers
  • Eats pureed or soft food from a spoon

back to age ranges

 

BY 12 MONTHS A CHILD…

Social/Emotional:

  • Has and expresses definite likes and dislikes
  • Begins to show fear or uncertainty around strangers
  • Copies everyday activities they see you doing (like combing your hair)
  • Starts to develop a sense of humor

Communication:

  • Follows a few simple requests or commands (ie. “come here”, “sit down”, etc.)
  • Vocalizes or gestures to get your attention or keep your attention
  • Babbles using lots of different sounds and tones of voice
  • Begins to say their first word like mama or dada

Movement:

  • Pulls  themselves up into standing
  • Walks while holding onto furniture (cruising)
  • Claps their hands or two objects together
  • Points or pokes at things with their index finger

Learning & Thinking:

  • Enjoys putting objects into containers and taking them out
  • Practices and masters simple cause and effect toys (ie. pushing a button to make music play)
  • Begins to play with toys purposefully (like pushing cars or rolling a ball)

Self Care:

  • Holds out their arm or leg to help with dressing
  • Finger feed themselves bite sized pieces of food
  • Drinks from an open cup with help or a toddler cup on their own

back to age ranges

 

BY 18 MONTHS A CHILD…

Social/Emotional:

  • Shows affection to caregivers
  • Asserts their independence by resisting you (which could lead to a tantrum)
  • Plays pretend in simple ways like feeding a doll or stuffed animal

Communication:

  • Uses a few words and imitate some new sounds or words
  • Points to show you things they want or things  they are  interested in
  • Follows simple directions (ie. “go get your shoes”)
  • Finds familiar objects or people you name around the house (like “where’s Grandma?” or “where’s the dog?”)

Movement:

  • Walks well (even while carrying a toy)
  • Squats to pick up toys from the floor and stand back up
  • Climbs up stairs & possibly on low furniture
  • Stacks 2-4 blocks

Learning & Thinking:

  • Scribbles with crayons
  • Helps turn thick pages of books
  • Knows the purpose of common household objects (like putting a phone up to their ear to talk or using a spoon to pretend to eat)

Self Care:

  • Holds and drinks from a cup though I may spill some
  • Feeds  themselves with a spoon (it can still be a bit messy)
  • Takes off some clothing like socks or hats

back to age ranges

 

BY 24 MONTHS A CHILD…

Social/Emotional:

  • Tries to do many things on their own (which can be frustrating if they need help)
  • Has trouble sharing their toys
  • Plays next to other children but not necessarily with them
  • Refers to themselves by name or with words like me/I

Communication:

  • Learns new words on a regular basis
  • Begins putting 2 words together in a phrase (ie. Bye mom, more milk, etc.)
  • Identifies some simple body parts when named
  • Points to familiar pictures in books when named (may even name the pictures on their own)

Movement:

  • Throws and kicks a ball
  • Runs (though may have trouble stopping and turning)
  • Climbs on and off furniture by themselves
  • Imitates drawing lines on paper

Learning & Thinking:

  • Enjoys exploring by opening and closing things and trying to see how things work
  • Begins matching a few shapes to complete a 2-3 piece shape puzzle or shape sorter
  • Listens to a short story or song (may try to sing on their own too)

Self Care:

  • Feeds themselves with a spoon with little spilling
  • Washes their hands with help
  • Knows where things generally belong around the house

back to age ranges

 

BY 30 MONTHS A CHILD…

Social/Emotional:

  • Watches and imitates other children playing nearby ( may even try to join in their play)
  • Enjoys make believe and dress up play
  • Begins to be shy or clingy around strangers at first

Communication:

  • Uses many words on their own
  • Often uses 2-3 word phrases when talking
  • Follows a two step direction (such as “Get  your shoes and bring them here”)
  • Names a few simple actions when I see them in pictures (ie. Eating, sleeping, crying, etc.)

Movement:

  • Walks up and down stairs while holding onto the wall or railing
  • Jumps with both feet leaving the floor
  • Twists their wrist to unscrew a lid or turn a doorknob
  • Strings a large bead

Learning & Thinking:

  • Shows increased problem solving (for example, pulling up a chair to get something out of reach or trying several different ways to open something they want)
  •  Sorts a few objects based on shape or color
  • Tells you about something I created ( may tell you  they drew mommy or built a castle)
  • Pretends an object is something else (ie. A brush is a phone or a  block is a car)

Self Care:

  • Takes off most items of clothing on their own
  • Uses a fork to feed themselves
  • Helps to put things away or clean-up

back to age ranges

 

BY 36 MONTHS A CHILD…

Social/Emotional:

  • Begins playing more interactively with small groups of children (I may even have 1 or 2 favorite friends)
  • Shows concern for a friend or other child that is crying
  • Follows a few simple rules but often break them to test boundaries

Communication:

  • Talks about things that happened in the past or that are happening in the future
  • Understandable when talking most of the time
  • Responds to several prepositions (ie. In, on, under, beside, etc.)
  • Asks questions about things around themselves (where, what, why?)

Movement:

  • Walks up stairs while placing just one foot on each step (alternating their feet)
  • Stands on one foot briefly
  • Catches a large ball using both arms and their chest
  • Opens and closes a pair of scissors to snip

Learning & Thinking:

  • Begins to understand the meaning of one item as opposed to many (ie. “You can have one cookie”)
  • Begins to turn pages of a book one at a time
  • Copies drawing a circle
  • Sometimes hold a crayon or pencil with the tips of their fingers like you do

Self Care:

  • Pulls up their own pants and put on a shirt or jacket themselves
  • Shows some interest in learning to use the toilet ( may already be potty trained)
  • States their first and last name when asked

back to age ranges

 

Sources:

http://www.cdc.gov/NCBDDD/actearly/milestones/index.html

http://www.ocd.pitt.edu/Files/PDF/Foster/27758_ocd_DM_b-12.pdf

http://www.zerotothree.org/about-us/areas-of-expertise/free-parent-brochures-and-guides/age-based-handouts.html

How Can We Help You?

teli provides therapeutic Early Intervention for children birth to 3 and comprehensive Outpatient Rehabilitation therapies for children and adolescents Early Intervention Outpatient Rehabilitation

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