Child Development Stages By Age

Child Development Stages By Age

Table of contents

Five Stages of Child Development by Age

Have you ever wondered if your child is meeting their developmental milestones on time? You're not alone! Knowing the age-specific phases of child development might be likened to attempting to solve a puzzle in which the picture is missing from the box. But don't worry, you're insured by us!

From the adorable newborn coos to the daring adolescent years, we'll guide you through every stage of life in this blog, ensuring you have all the knowledge necessary to support your child's development at every turn. Let’s start this adventure together.

Developmental Tools and Benchmarks

Children progress via milestones in their play, learning, speaking, acting, and movement. These developmental milestones provide you with a basic indication of the changes to expect as your child grows. However, every child develops at their own speed.

The following categories can be used to group developmental milestones:

  • Speech and Language
  • Dressing Skills
  • Fine Motor and Visual Motor Skills
  • Grooming Skills

Characteristics of Child Development Stages

Children develop their skills in four primary domains at every developmental stage. These areas are:

The Domain of Voice and Communication

Children need to learn how to interact with everyone in their environment. In addition to learning the language, they also learn how to categorize the environment around them and how to take turns in conversations. This can be quite challenging and lead to amusing mistakes.

For instance, a toddler must determine whether everything spherical is likewise referred to as a ball after learning that a round object is a "ball." Why not? Is the moon a ball? Understanding what makes one word different from another takes time.

The Physical Domain">The Physical Domain

Through gross motor development—learning to utilize large muscles like the arms and legs—and fine motor development—learning to use muscles to produce precise movements like the hands and fingers—the body gradually gains more ability and performance.

The Social and Emotional Domain

As they become older, children's identities, self-images, and emotional perceptions change. Along with learning social skills and manners, they also form relationships with others.

The Cognitive Domain

Higher-order brain operations known as "cognitive processes" include reasoning, knowledge, recall, judgment, and problem-solving. Children get a deeper comprehension of the world, enhance their memory, become more focused, and hone their problem-solving abilities as they grow.

Every stage of development involves connections between these areas; children cannot advance in one without also advancing in another.

Child Development Stages by Age

The following are the benchmarks for each developmental stage throughout the first five years:

Newborn (0-3 Months)


Development Domain Stage Characters
Communication and Speech


Eye contact
Crying more often for different needs


Turning towards voices
Elevating control on head, legs, arms
Eye movement towards light and sound

Social and Emotional



Developing interest in objects and humans

Infant (3-12 Months)


Development Domain Stage Characters
Communication and Speech

From 3 months:

  • Babbling
  • Careful listening and responding to babbling – learning about conversations
  • Reacts to sudden noises

From 7-9 months:

  • Become familiar with sound of own name
  • Follows gestures

From 9-12 months:

  • Knows the meaning of ‘no’
  • Might use false words

From 3 months:

  • Can move their arms and legs better.
  • Sit up straight.
  • Flip from their back to their stomach.
  • Start to learn about things around them by hitting stuff and putting things in their mouth.

From 7-9 months:

  • Hold things with one hand
  • Begin to crawl
  • Might start to stand up

From 9-12 months:

  • Get better at using their hands and eyes together
  • Start walking if they hold onto furniture
  • Stand up on their own for a short time
Social and Emotional

From 3 months:

  • Laugh when happy and cry when upset or frustrated
  • Start to know their family and close friends
  • Like their favorite toy
  • React to different faces and sounds in people's voices

From 9-12 months:

  • Want to stay close to people they know
  • Like being around other babies, but they don't really play together yet
  • Love giving hugs and being hugged

Starting at 3 months:

  • Starts to notice music

By 7 months:

  • Likes to drop stuff and see it fall 

Between 9 to 12 months:

  • Put things in patterns and shapes
  • Can focus for up to a minute.
  • Searches for things hidden in the correct spot

Toddler (1-3 Years)


Development Domain Stage Characters
Communication and Speech

Starting at 1 year:

  • Say their first word
  • Might use 5-10 words by 18 months
  • Answer when asked questions

By 18 months:

  • Use at least 50 words
  • Can name objects and pictures
  • Start to put two words together (like "me book")
  • Start using simple words for themselves and others, like ‘me’, ‘you’, ‘my’
  • Can follow instructions that have two steps
  • Lovelistening stories

From 2 to 3 years:

  • Begin to say their first proper sentences
  • Talks about what they're doing while they do it

Starting at 1 year:

  • Start using one hand more than the other
  • Begin to scribble on paper
  • Might be able to stand up and take a few steps by themselves
  • Sit without help

From 1 to 2 years:

  • Walking gets easier
  • Can use a spoon to eat by themselves.
  • Can stack blocks.

From 2 to 3 years:

  • Can dress or undress themselves slowly
  • Can throw and kick a ball
  • Starts to jump and hop
  • Can ride a tricycle with training wheels
Social and Emotional

Starting at 1 year:

  • Can recognize themselves in a mirror
  • Begin to understand object permanence

From 2 to 3 years:

  • Clear emotions
  • Want to do things on their own schedule
  • Experience various emotions, leading to tantrums
  • Become more comfortable around strangers

Starting at 1 year:

  • Can point to body parts when named
  • Recognize familiar items in picture books
  • Get better at solving puzzles

From 2 to 3 years:

  • Name different colors
  • Start to recognize some letters
  • Begin to say numbers or count out loud
  • Can sort alike objects into groups
  • Show some logical thinking
  • Start copying parents

Preschool Age (3-4 Years)


Development Domain Stage Characters
Communication and Speech

Starting at 3 years:

  • Become good at pronouncing hard sounds
  • Talk more clearly
  • Asks many questions

Starting at 3 years:

  • Ride a tricycle
  • Brush their teeth and use scissors
  • Walk up and down stairs without help
  • Draw a circle and a square
Social and Emotional

Starting at 3 years:

  • Start to join in on games with small groups
  • Display creativity and imagination
  • Begin to talk about their feelings
  • Engage in role-playing games

Starting at 3 years:

  • Memory improves significantly
  • Focus on a task for up to 3 minutes
  • Look at a book by themselves
  • Recognize numbers 1-10
  • Know their full name and gender

School Age (4-5 Years)


Development Domain Stage Characters
Communication and Speech

Starting at 4 years:

Begins to use more complex sentences By 5 years:

  • Able to tell stories
  • Answer simple questions 
  • Know and can recite nursery rhymes and sing songs

Starting at 4 years:

  • Dress, eat, and wash with little help
  • Hold a pencil the correct way
  • Brush their own hair.
  • Walk in a straight line on the ground
Social and Emotional

Starting at 4 years:

  • Enjoy starting conversations
  • Begin to make friends
  • Has fewer disagreements with other kids
  • Talk about their liking and disliking
  • Express anger with words and actions
  • Understand what is dangerous
  • Might act bossy or feel jealous at times
  • Feels proud of what they achieve
  • Worry about not being liked

Starting at 4 years:

  • Understand the difference between right and wrong
  • Know what lying means
  • Has a basic understanding of numbers, colors, sizes, and time
  • Show curiosity about life and death, asking deeper questions
  • Get the idea of daily routines.


From the first coos of a newborn to the complex interactions of a preschooler, each stage is crucial. Recognizing and supporting these stages with the right activities and emotional support can make a big difference. Children develop at their own pace, but being aware of common milestones gives caregivers a helpful guide to what to expect as children grow. This awareness encourages better developmental support and enhances the connection between children and their caregivers.
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