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Child development refers to the biological, psychological and emotional changes that occur in human beings between birth and the end of adolescence, as the individual progresses from dependency to increasing autonomy.

It is a continuous process with a predictable sequence yet having a unique course for every child. It does not progress at the same rate and each stage is affected by the preceding types of development.

As these developmental changes may be strongly influenced by genetic factors and events during prenatal life, genetics and prenatal development are usually included as part of the study of child development. Related terms include developmental psychology, referring to development throughout the lifespan, and paediatrics, the branch of medicine relating to the care of children.

Developmental change may occur as a result of genetically-controlled processes known as maturation,[1] or as a result of environmental factors and learning, but most commonly involves an interaction between the two. It may also occur as a result of human nature and our ability to learn from our environment.

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Age Physical/Motor Skills Language /Communication Thinking /Cognitive Social /Emotional

Birth to 3 Months

• Makes jerky arm movements • Infants pay close attention to sounds and language • Most infants can see within 13 inches clearly • Begins to suck fingers
• Holds hands in tight fists • Responds to speech by looking at the person speaking • Starts to focus & follow moving objects and people • Watch and Observe Hands
• Brings hand within range of eyes and mouth • Reacts to changes in tone, pitch, volume and intonation Responds positively to colours and  touch
• Head falls back when unsupported • Communicates with movements including crying, jabbering and laughing • Distinguishes tastes involving, sweet, sour, bitter and salty • Starts to recognize body parts, examples, arms & legs
• Raises & moves head side to side when lying on their stomach • Attempts to mimic sounds • Preference for high contrast items • Learns to feel comfortable with a familiar adult
•Begins reflexes including, sucking, grasping & holding their tongue to the roof of their mouth Will respond to touch
• Begins to  express pleasure to social interaction

3 to 6 Months

• Becomes stronger and more alert • Loves to have conversations through • Begins to recognize faces • Will begin to initiate social interaction
• Begins movements utilizing large muscle groups including rolling over and pushing the body forward • Recognizes familiar voices of mom, dad and caregiver • Can differentiate people by the way they look, sound or feel • Plays peek-a-boo
• Starts to reach for objects • Listens to conversations • Reacts to and mimics facial expressions • Starts to recognize their name
• Grasps objects and puts them in their mouth • Repeats some sounds involving vowels and consonants • Starts to respond to familiar sounds • Can laugh out loud
• Makes discoveries of object’s qualities including the noises they make when moving them • Starts to anticipate routine events including changing, feeding and bathing • Smiles more freely

6 to 9 Months

• Babies becomes more mobile • Vocals increase • At an early age, babies try to learn how things work • Begins to show preferences for familiar people
• Starts reaching and pulling up on furniture • Begins repetitive jabbering • Begin to stare longer at suspended objects • Expresses more emotions
• Begins motions to crawl • Can associate gestures with small words and two-word phrases like “hey” and “bye-bye” • Can distinguish between nonliving and living objects • Will respond to voices & gestures
• Grasps and pull objects towards themselves • Starts to use vocal & non-vocal communication to express interest • Uses size of objects to decipher how close or far away they are • Will display discontentment at the loss of a toy

9 to 12 Months

• Babies will begin to sit and stand without support • Children begin trying to talk • Responds to simple questions & directions with gestures, sounds and some words • Imitates simple actions
• Starts walking with assistance • Babies can recognize the names of familiar individuals and objects Express pleasure when looking at picture books • Become responsive to their name
• Can roll a ball and throw objects • Displays understanding by responding with body language and facial expressions • Explores how things work • Will begin to feed themselves finger foods
• Will pick up and drop toys • Can say a few simple words • Experiments with physical objects, turning items over and fitting them into larger containers • Starts to hold a cup with both hands and assistance
• Begins picking up objects using thumb and one finger • Understands and responds to “No-no” by stopping • Expresses apprehension when separated from mom or dad
• Waves “Bye-bye”

1 to 2 Years

• Self-initiated movements become easier • Starts to repeat & understand many words & simple phrases • Spends a great deal of time observing and imitating adult’s actions and language • Will begin to recognize themselves in pictures and the mirror
• Begins to walk alone • Follows series of simple directions • Understands words & instructions by responding correctly • Obeys few commands
• Will try to walk backwards • Can communicate a few words clearly • Begins matching like objects • Begins to play by themselves & mimic adult behaviours during play
• Picks up objects while standing • Can say single words to explain an event or request for an object • Starts recognizing characters in books & movies with help • Shows pleasure in new accomplishments
•Can seat self in children’s chairs • At 18 months children begin learning about 9 words a day • Can distinguish between “you” & “me” • Expresses negative feelings
• Pushes and pulls objects • Starts to help with small tasks
• Can walk up & down stairs with assistance
• Moves in response to music/singing
• Begins to scribble using fisted hand

2 to 3 Years

• Become more comfortable with motions, increased speed and coordination • Starts to join words to form short sentences • Begins to group objects by category • Starts to identify gender differences
• Begins movements such as, running, jumping with both feet, walking on tiptoes and kicking • Begins to use modifiers (adverbs and adjectives) • Identifies themselves in the mirror or pictures • Indicates the need to “potty”
• Can stand on one foot with support • Begins to point to familiar objects as they are named • Chooses picture books • Assists with dressing and undressing themselves
• Turns pages of books • Names objects based on their descriptions • Starts to identify objects by sound or picture • Is assertive about their preferences
• Holds drawing utensils with thumb and finger, not fist • Responds to simple questions including “where?” and “what?” • Enjoys role-play and imitating adult actions, for example playing house • Uses “I” “me” and own name
• Children are able to manoeuvre small objects with more control • Enjoys listening to stories and reading books • Can stack items in order of their size • Illustrates fear of things
• Starts to recall and explain events that occurred that day • Relates what they are doing to what others are doing • Becomes defensive of possessions
• Participates in activities such as singing, clapping and dancing

4 to 5 Years

• Children are more confident with large movements including walking backwards, skipping, jumping forward, hopping on one foot, and walking up & down stairs alternating feet • Tries to retell stories, sometimes confusing a few facts • Can mimic and make sounds of letters • Shows understanding of good & bad behaviour
• Begins turning flips and learning somersaults • Combines thoughts to form sentences • Begins to make rhymes with words • Begins to compare themselves with others
• Can use children’s scissors and cut in a continuous line • More curious, starts asking “when?” “how?” and “why?” questions Acknowledges others feelcolours
• Copies more complex shapes • Can follow a series of unlike commands • Comprehends order and processes • Develops friendships
• Children can start writing a few letters • Understands sequencing of events and comparatives using “er” & “est” • Learns to write name • Begins imaginative play
• Begins using words like “can,” “might,” “will,” “should,” and “shall.” • Describes pictures • Curious of opposite sex & other children’s bodies
• Can draw a person with details • Becomes Competitive
• Counts to five
• Is able to articulate their street address and town

There are various definitions of periods in a child’s development, since each period is a continuum with individual differences regarding start and ending. Some age-related development periods and examples of defined intervals are: newborn (ages 0–4 weeks); infant (ages 4 weeks – 1 year); toddler (ages 1–3 years); preschooler (ages 4–6 years); school-aged child (ages 6–13 years); adolescent (ages 13–19).[2]

Promoting child development through parental training, among other factors, promotes excellent rates of child development.[3] Parents play a large role in a child’s life, socialization, and development. Having multiple parents can add stability to the child’s life and therefore encourage healthy development.[4] Another influential factor in a child’s development is the quality of their care. Child care programs present a critical opportunity for the promotion of child development.

The optimal development of children is considered vital to society and so it is important to understand the social, cognitive, emotional, and educational development of children. Increased research and interest in this field has resulted in new theories and strategies, with specific regard to practice that promotes development within the school system. In addition there are also some theories that seek to describe a sequence of states that compose child development.