Throughout the early years, your child will grow and change tremendously. For more information about your child’s age and stage, use the following tools.
Welcome to a whole new world! No parent is ever really ready for the changes that come with having a new baby. It’s a wonderful time, but it’s also a challenging time, full of new worries, new feelings and new experiences. Just remember, ask for help when you need it and don’t expect everything to be perfect.
Learning begins at birth and your child at two months has been learning a lot! He is already able to smile at you and tell you by crying if he’s hungry, cold or scared. At this stage, the most important factors in his healthy development are loving relationships with warm, responsive and dependable adult caregivers. It’s essential to make the most of this critical period in his growth by spending lots of time holding, cuddling, playing and reading with your child.
4 to 6 Months
By about four to six months, your baby will be cooing and gurgling, wiggling and kicking, rolling over and trying to sit up by herself. Remember to talk, sing and read to your baby every day, and let her use soft and colorful books as toys. Your loving relationship with her will make all the difference in her learning.
6 to 12 Months
By the end of your baby’s first year of life, she might already be crawling and trying to take her first steps. Remember that a warm, responsive and dependable adult caregiver is the most essential ingredient to her healthy development.
12 to 18 Months
Your child at 12 to 18 months is developing a real personality. She is still growing rapidly, but not as dramatically as in the first year. As she begins to walk, run and climb, she gains confidence and a greater sense of independence. At this stage, your child needs encouragement and freedom to explore, as well as clear boundaries and limits to feel safe.
18 to 24 Months
Your child at 18 to 24 months is becoming his own person. His sense of independence is growing as he starts to walk, run and climb with greater ease. This is a wonderful time to help your child’s rapidly growing vocabulary by talking to him about everything, and reading together every day.
24 to 36 Months
By the time your child reaches 36 months, she will probably have a vocabulary of around 900 words and use three to five word sentences. Your child at this stage is bursting with curiosity. Your praise, encouragement and support as she works to perfect her motor skills and increase her knowledge of the world around her will help her grow up strong, happy and confident.
Your “little baby” is off to preschool, where her world will broaden seemingly overnight. And she'll need your hand to guide her. As she makes friends, you can teach her to share. As she potty trains, you can help her practice. With encouragement and patience, you can help set up your child for success.
This year, your child will finish preschool and get ready for kindergarten. It’s a big jump and with it comes growing pains. Your child will challenge himself to learn new things — like staying dry through the night or tying his shoes. As he does, he will face frustration. Your encouragement and support can ease aggravation and help him accomplish his goals.
This is a big year for your child! It brings with it the start of kindergarten as well as a new sense of independence (that may test your patience), developmental achievements and social relationships. At this time, what your child needs most is your attention, respect and patience.