Basic Stages of Child Development

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Basic Stages of Child Development
The first few years of life mark rapid development. (baby image by Ilya Postnikov from Fotolia.com)

Children grow so quickly it is often hard to see the different stages in their development. There are several standard stages that are easily recognised however, and these mark times that your child will develop new abilities, such as walking, talking and emotional reactions. Although not always accurate for all children, these stages allow you to gauge your own child's development, to ensure that they are not falling behind compared to other children their age. The main stages of child development take place before 5 years old and introduction to school life. At this point, education has a lot of influence on child development.

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Birth to 12 Months

During the first month, the baby will sleep on average 20 hours a day and need to be fed five to eight times. Her basic senses allow her to make out shapes, hear indistinct sounds and feel pain. She can also taste distinctive tastes. Between 2 and 3 months, she develops the ability to see colours as well as begin to make sounds, gurgles, cries and coos. She has some ability to control her head and eyes. At 4 to 6 months, she is able to pronounce most vowels and babble. She can also recognise shapes and attach sounds to origins. She can recognise her parents. Feeding requirements have dropped to only three to five times daily. From 6 months to 12, the baby develops the ability to crawl, and use digits. She may show signs of attempted walking. Most babies at this stage can imitate sounds and words. She will respond to her own name and enjoy playing basic hiding games. She should also understand "no."

1 to 3 years

During the first half of the first year, the child will begin to walk for up to 20 minutes and show independent behaviour. He will be able to draw lines on paper using crayons and should be able to show an interest in his reflection. Up to 2 years, the child will have a limited vocabulary of 200 words and be able to feed himself. Temper tantrums may develop and he will disobey commands as well as demand things. Between 2 and 3, he will be able to jump, ride a tricycle and build towers from cubes. He will start to use basic sentences as well as refer to himself as "me" and others as "you." The child may suffer from dependency and a fear of being left alone at this stage.

3 to 5 years

Up until 4 years old, the child will be able to stand on one leg, jump up and down and draw circles. She should be self-sufficient in many home activities. Development of fear of the dark and an attachment to opposite gendered parent is normal. She may develop an imaginary friend. Between 4 and 5 years, the child will know 2,000 words and be able to relate a story. She should be able to master basic grammar rules and speak clearly. The child will be able to draw squares and triangles as well as dress themselves. The ability to feel guilt and responsibility becomes apparent, as well as pride in oneself.

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