Your child’s development
Children learn so much and grow so quickly in their first five years it can be hard to keep up! Although each child develops at his or her own pace, they all follow the same steps. By learning more about those stages, you can help your child grow and thrive!
Here are some general tips to remember as you learn more about your child’s development:
- Children need to feel safe and secure in order to learn. If they are stressed, hungry, or feel unsafe, they are not going to learn. Being with adults they can trust opens them up to a world of learning.
- Each child develops at his own pace, in his own way. Children do not reach developmental stages at the same time. They can speed up in one area, and slow down in another. And that’s okay!
- Although each child develops at her own pace, they all follow the same sequence. It may take one child longer than another to meet each milestone, but they will all follow the same path.
- Children learn by doing. They use their whole bodies and all of their senses at once. Their brains are developing while they are moving around, which is why children need to play to learn and grow.
- Children’s skills build on each other. A child’s learning grows based on the skills they already know, which is why early learning is so important. They can’t skip a step.
Developmental stages (milestones) for babies, toddlers and preschoolers
Although each child develops at his own pace, all children follow the same developmental stages. Here are some resources to help you understand what’s happening in your child’s development during each stage.
Remember, these are children, not computers. No child will not follow the timeline exactly. But it can help you understand what’s happening at each milestone and help your child reach his/her full potential.
- Watch Me Grow!” Developmental Stages Checklist. Created by Pennsylvania Early Intervention Services, this brochure provides a checklist of skills for each developmental stage from birth to five years. Families should add a check if the child can do at least two of the things in each line. If there are unchecked boxes, or you have concerns about your child’s development, talk with your child’s teacher, doctor or other adults in the child’s life, or call the CONNECT helpline at 1-800-692-7288 for help.
- Pennsylvania Early Learning Standards and Wheel. Pennsylvania’s Office of Child Development and Early Learning developed Early Learning Standards from birth through kindergarten to help teachers and families understand each stage of development and create activities that help each child develop. The standards are divided by both age group and skill area, such as creative thinking and expression and language and literacy development. These standards are very comprehensive and great for families to use when talking with teachers about their child’s progress in a child care/early learning program. A great tool for families is the Early Learning Standards Wheel– which provides simple examples of skills expected for each age group.
- Check out the Early Learning GPS to follow your child’s milestones. Create a free family account and map for your child. The questions in the GPS quiz help you understand your child’s development and ways you can help your child learn and grow. The “Milestones” tab helps you follow your child’s milestones, and “Activities” tab gives you a ton of fun activity ideas for your infant, toddler or preschooler to work on all of their skills.