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Ages & Stages of Child Development

Updated on June 25, 2012
Children develop certain skills with each age & stage of life.
Children develop certain skills with each age & stage of life. | Source

Watching your child grow is an experience every parent enjoys. As a baby grows his personality begins to emerge and the interaction between parent and child increases the questions on behavior and growth. Parents ask, "What is normal behavior for my child at this age?"

The phrase Ages & Stages of Child Development is in itself an unknown area to some parents. Simply defined, it is a child's growth process from birth to the late teens. It addresses learning styles, needs, play activity, and character or personality changes.

Piaget's Stages of Developmental

Piaget's Stages of Development

Jean Piaget (1896-1980) was a biologist who studied children's intellectual development and observed how a child's brain worked and developed to understand their environment. His theory proposed that children matured and developed in stages, beginning at 18 months. Although today some research has discovered newer learning styles within the sensorimotor and pre-operational stages, his theory is still valued and taught in early child development practice. As I recall, this was an important theory applied in my coursework and increases the understanding of how a child's mind develops and demonstrates learning style as he or she grows.

The chart below lists the ages and stages of child development as Piaget observed and published.

Four Stages of Cognitive Development

Age Range
Infant progresses from reflexive, instinctual action at birth to symbolic thought. Coordiinaton of Sensory experiences & Physical action begins.
Birth to 2 years
Child begins to connect words & images with surroundings. Shows increased symbolic thinking.
2 to 7 years
Concrete Operational
Child now reasons logically about concrete events and classifies objects into sets.
7 to 11 years
Formal Operational
Adolescent reasons in more abstract & logical ways. Increased idealistic thinking.
11 to 15 years

Learning Styles

Each child has his own unique way of learning about his world. A child will record interactions through sensory experience such as seeing, touch, taste and sound. However, each child does not respond to the same sensory learning experience in the same way. Parents may observe their child respond well to music, while another parent's child may enjoy reading (visual stimulus). One must also take into consideration the age of their child as it will also have weight on how the child progresses. Knowing how your child learns will help you to interact with her in teaching new concepts.

Ages & Stages: Birth to 18 Months

Children rapidly progress in development from birth to eighteen months of age. Most of his learning will come through his immediate surroundings and through sensory experience. Stimulating your child through play activities such as clapping, rolling, singing and reading simple books will help to increase the child's interest and promote growth.

At one month of age a baby will begin to support his own head and is awake, on average, two to three hours per day. Feeding on a regular basis, plenty of sleep and nurturing love is most needed during this stage. Parents should talk to their child frequently while holding and cuddling so the baby learns to connect sound and communication. At three months of age your baby should be able to stay awake about four to five hours per day and may begin to teethe.

At five months a child may begin to roll over and sit (with support). She may also babble and hold onto a few toys. Children during this stage begin to reach for items and make attempts at crawling. You may also notice your baby stays awake for a longer time period (two hours or more). This age benefits from a parents sharing the their world through talk, dance and play.

Nine months is a jump in developmental growth as a child begins to actively explore by crawling and pulling up on furniture. You may even find that your baby loves to be around other children at this stage. Providing play opportunities with other infants will stimulate his social skills and interest in people. Keeping baby safe is also needed as they will open doors, pull on objects and test things by putting them in their mouth. Keep household items out of reach and cabinet doors safety-locked.

Five Year Old Artistic Design

Ages & Stages of development can be measured though a child's art work.
Ages & Stages of development can be measured though a child's art work. | Source

Ages & Stages:Two to Five Years

Two year olds are active learners and will challenge any parent as they explore the world around them. They feel empathy for their peers, but yet may appear self-centered in their actions. They also love show affection and respond well to parental demonstrations of love. You will hear the word "me" used as they begin to understand that they are an individual. Planning ahead with your two year old is suggested as they learn boundaries and how to schedule their daily needs and wants. Providing lots of opportunities for active play, such as climbing and running will also help a two year old to develop physically and mentally.

Three's are an open book and absorb events, storing them as important social and academic skills. Pretend play is prevalent and useful in helping them to understand reality in life situations. Problem solving and listening skills are also emergent skills that parents can help to develop at this time through play activities such as drawing or doodling, puzzles, reading books and simple pattern activities.

The five year old stage establishes strong motor control but will also a slower growth rate in the child. Children at this age need guidelines on play activities and social skills as they interact with others. They want to please but yet want to know what is expected of them. Giving children choices at this stage is crucial in helping them to learn how to make decisions. For instance, talking them through a problem in getting along with another child and how to negotiate terms (on their level) will help them socially.

As a child continues to grow through the ages and stages of child development, knowing what a child may be experiencing and developing will help parents to understand how to help him or her to develop into a responsible, well-adjusted person.

How I Learn


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    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Hi Martie! I think you may have something on the stages reappearing during the adult stage of life. Thanks for your comment and add to this topic. I hope you are enjoying a great day.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 4 years ago from South Africa

      Each and every stage of a child's development has its own ups and downs. I find the 7-11years the most easiest to teach. Somehow in adulthood the stages seem to repeat themselves, although some people stagnate in their teenage-phase, or in any of these primary phases. Very interesting hub, thank you, teaches :)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Mary, I am enjoying the pre-teen stages of my grand kids and it is just as fun as when they were toddlers. You know what I mean!

      Careermommy, I love the antics and wit of preschoolers. Enjoy them and love the blessings!

      Jainismus, I appreciate your visit and comment, dear friend.

    • jainismus profile image

      Mahaveer Sanglikar 4 years ago from Pune, India

      Thank you teaches12345 for sharing this information. It is very useful for parents.

      Shared with followers.

    • Careermommy profile image

      Tirralan Watkins 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      teaches12345, this is very useful information. And, it helps as my 3 and 4.5 year old are growing and learning in their particular developmental stage of life.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

      Very informative and interesting Hub. Every stage in a child's development is a joy to watch: from infant right on. When we see our baby smile and do other things that are considered normal, we are happy.

      Voted UP and shared.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Hi Torri, knowing how to help children through the stages makes a good difference in raising successful happy children. Thanks for the share and votes. Keep safe, dear one.

    • torrilynn profile image

      torrilynn 5 years ago

      I think that the stages of a child development are important and that we should really help our child to grow and to understand their creativity. thanks for sharing. Voted up.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Thanks for coming by today, Mellonyy. Yes, parents are a child's first teacher and do the best job in guiding their development. Great add to the topic! Enjoy your day.

    • Mellonyy profile image

      Mellonyy 5 years ago

      Useful hub! I think the guidance that parents provide to their kids is one of the most important factors in children's development. Thank for SHARING!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I am not a professional to diagnose a condition such as autism. I understand your concern over his not communicating well at three years of age. Stayingalivemoma, I would have him tested by a pediatrician first to see if there is a reason to be concerned. Then, I would ask for suggested methods in dealing with it, if it is autism. There are online websites for parents of autistic children that would support your wanting to steer away from medicine that may prove harmful. However, medication may help, this is a matter for you to research and discuss with your family, and child's doctor. Sending hugs and prayers your way.

    • stayingalivemoma profile image

      Valerie Washington 5 years ago from Tempe, Arizona

      Good information...I think my 3 year old may be autistic. He is not speaking in sentences yet, likes to play alone and keep to himself and has outbursts. I've been working hard with him to talk more, but he seems to "talk when he wants to"! I love him to death but am concerned and don't want his doctor doping him up with all kinds of medicine. Could it be that he's just developing slower than other boys his age?

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Jpcmc, Piaget's studies do help parents and teachers to keep a child's activities age appropriate for the best learning experience. Thanks for your insightful add to the hub. Be well and strong, my friend.

      Chaplin, I am glad you found this topic a good read for you; thanks for sharing this with others. You take care of yourself out there!

    • ChaplinSpeaks profile image

      Sarah Johnson 5 years ago from Charleston, South Carolina

      Hi, teaches12345! This is a really great hub on an important topic. The mysteries of child development...... Your Ages and Stages breakdown is very helpful. I am sharing this one.

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      I'm very particular with the experiences that my daighter gets. it's really important that they are age appropriate. Having Piaget's stages of cognitive development in mind helps choose the most appropriate toys and activities.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Vocalcoach, you are such a dear for coming by and being so supportive of the hub. I do appreciate and value your thoughts. Thanks for sharing and the votes. Be well and strong, my friend.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 5 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      This is just marvelous. How I wish I had known about the ages and stages of child development when raising my own children. I hope parents and teachers read this hub. I'll help get the word out by sharing this in various communities and on FB. A big vote up!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Thank you, midget38 and Docmo for your contribution to the topic. Piaget's studies are ones teachers know well, glad to know that they hit home with parents here also. Appreciate your vote and support of my writing. Enjoy your day.

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Brilliant summary of Piaget's developmental milestones, Dianna. Your subject matter and simple explanations really do strike home for many. Voted up, of course!

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 5 years ago from Singapore

      It's true that we have to take into account the stages of a child's development before we push them too far. There are many parents here in Singapore who do just that. An informative read....and yes, we can't discuss this subject without Piaget! Every parent should know him!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I am happy that this topic helped you in raising your son, Shampa. I am sure you are doing a fantastic job. I love those hugs, too! Thanks for coming by here and leaving a comment. Take care, dear friend.

    • shampa sadhya profile image

      Shampa Sadhya 5 years ago from NEW DELHI, INDIA

      Hello teaches12345,

      Your observation is very correct. My son is absolutely like the one you mentioned. He always loves to be hugged rather I scold him sometimes. Thanks for sharing your observation. It has opened my eyes and now I can understand him well. Thanks again.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Hello, Shampa! How wonderful to have a ten year old in the home. They are thinking ahead but still love to be hugged. I am glad that the information is helpful to you as well. Enjoy your day.

    • shampa sadhya profile image

      Shampa Sadhya 5 years ago from NEW DELHI, INDIA

      Voted up and useful!

      Your hub is undoubtedly a useful hub. My son is ten year old and your article will definitely help me to understand him better as well as it will help me to guide my son properly. A really very useful, informative and good hub.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Glad this was useful to you, Ruchira. Love those little ones for what they teach us! Thanks for stopping by here and the votes up. Enjoy your day, friend.

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

      as usual teaches12345, your hubs are so informative that I usually take home some piece of information with me :) My kid is in the concrete operational stage and I ought to be more informative and patient...hmmm ;-)

      voted up and sharing it across

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Hey Pamela! Great contribution on the hub -- knowing how children grow helps tremendously! Thanks for the votes of support. Be blessed in your walk today.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 5 years ago from United States

      I think this is a great hub for parents so they do understand the different learning phases of their child. I raised 3 boys and remember these stages well. Sometimes parents expect too much from their children when the children are too young to understand, plus children are all different. eery useful hub, rated up!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Teacherjoe, glad you agree with the hub, it means much to me as your honesty is valued. Thanks for visiting.

      Vellur, hopefully parents will be able to understand how children learn in stages and it will help them to use play methods as teaching moments. Your visits are always refreshing and insightful!

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 5 years ago from Dubai

      Each and every child have their own methods and ways of learning at different stages. As parents we should help and encourage them to study efficiently and improve their skills. Interesting information on Piaget. Interesting and very useful hub.

    • teacherjoe52 profile image

      teacherjoe52 5 years ago

      Very true.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Thanks for you thoughts on the topic, Teacherjoe. You have brought out a very important message to parents in understanding ages & stages, if introduced too early to certain skills it will only cause frustration.

    • teacherjoe52 profile image

      teacherjoe52 5 years ago

      Hi teaches.

      Very true, I wish more parents here would realize this. There are many that push four year olds to learn to play the piano or learn a different language.

      When they find it difficult the parents are harsh with them.

      When children are you, it is a great excuse to go through your second childhood.

      God bless you.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Skarlet, understanding the developmental stages does help to raise children more responsibly and socially. Great insight on the subject. Take care.

    • Skarlet profile image

      Skarlet 5 years ago from California

      What a smart hub! I think all parents should have an understanding of the developmental stages. It really helps them become better and more understanding teachers.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      You can't get through any study on children without talking about Piaget! Uh-huh, I remember the pain (he,he, he). Thanks for your visit, Christy.

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      The section about Piaget brought me right back to university... noooo! hehe just kidding :) You have included a lot of information to back up your statements and that is so important; keep up the great hubs!