Having a child is such an exciting time, but if it is your first one you may not be sure about what to expect when it comes to their development as they grow. This guide to child development for families will give you an idea of the stages that each child will go through, but always remember that children develop at different paces so try not to compare what your child can do to other children.

Birth to 3 months

This stage of your child’s life may be the one where many new developments happen as babies can experience new ones every day. During this time babies will start to stretch, grasp your finger, kick, and respond to loud noises. You will also notice that they will begin to watch people and moving objects, and you’ll spot them smiling too!

4 to 6 months

When your child is between 4 and 6 months old they will begin to explore their surroundings and become more social. They will be able to hold their toys, roll over, sit when propped up against cushions or on a chair, and will start to laugh. You’ll be pleased to know that they will sleep for longer during this period than they did when they were younger, but they will start trying to eat everything so make sure that small objects are out of reach.

7 to 12 months

Children will advance from simply rolling over to crawling, pulling themselves up, and standing when they are aged between 7 and 12 months, and they will also start to enjoy music and even dance along when it is played. They will begin to recognise frequently used words and will vocalise more, plus they will be able to sit up by themselves too.

1 to 2 years

When your child reaches the age of 1 and starts heading towards their second birthday you will notice that they will become aware of their own behaviour and will be interested in learning and understanding what is happening around them. They will be on the move as they will be able to walk, climb stairs and run around, plus around the age of two years most toddlers will have a vocabulary of over 50 words, so conversations will be starting. This means that your child will begin to make friends, enjoy reading books, and will start to learn how to use their imagination by doing role-play games such as, making tea in their little kitchen for dolly or driving to the beach in their push car.

2 to 4 years

Between the ages of 2 and 4, your child will go through many social, physical and emotional changes and you will notice their own unique personality starting to shine through. Now your child can get around by themselves it is integral that you are aware of anything that could cause a potential risk, such as doors that are easy to open and escape out of, or anything that they try to climb. Your child will become more independent during this stage of development and will start being able to clean their teeth, wash their hands, and dress themselves with a bit of assistance.

4 to 5 years

Your child’s personality will really present itself as they reach 5 years old, they will love playing with friends, ask loads of questions about anything and everything, find it easier to concentrate, and will find it easier to share with others too. This is also the stage at which children can understand and follow instructions, so getting them used to doing chores around the house between the ages of 4 and 5 is possible.

5 to 8 years

This is the stage in which your child will be going to school, understanding what is going on around them, learning new things every day, and they will begin to write, read and do mathematics with more confidence. They will also seek out more independence and will enjoy doing more grown-up activities at times.

Every child is different, and if the child in your care seems to develop at a different rate to others in their age group you should be comfortable to talk to your child’s doctor or teacher who will be able to assist you with your concerns.

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