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The Ages and Stages of Child Development: Understanding Your Child's Milestones

Posted by Lauren Petrullo on
mother and child holding hands

As a child grows, mothers are the first ones to get excited to see them explore and see the world.

It’s true, this is one of the most exciting times in a parent's life. As your child develops through different ages and stages of development, there are key milestones you'll want to be aware of so that you can help them reach their full potential.

Parents need to be aware of the stages of the child's development to provide the best possible care for their children. Each stage of development brings with it new challenges and opportunities that can help shape your child into a successful adult.

With that said, let’s talk all about early childhood development today.

Ages and Stages of Development Breakdown

So what are the most important years of child development? Ages and Stages of child development can be divided into five categories: 

  • Infancy
  • Toddlerhood
  • Preschool years
  • Early school age
  • Adolescence

Each stage is vital in its own right, as it helps the child develop the skills they need to thrive as an adult.

Below we'll discuss the different developmental cycles in five stages.


During infancy, your child will grow and develop rapidly. In the first few months of life, they'll primarily be focused on developing their physical abilities. They'll learn to roll over, sit up, and crawl.

In addition to their physical development, infants also develop their cognitive skills.


At this age group, children develop their independence. They'll learn how to walk and climb and will begin to explore their surroundings.

Toddlerhood is also a time when children start to learn language skills. Developmental specialists say that children learn more words during this stage than others. Language development during this stage is also important, as it lays the foundation for future language skills.


At this certain age, they are already called preschoolers. A child’s brain continues to develop their language and cognitive skills. They'll also start to learn social skills, such as how to get along with others and follow the rules.

Most parents may encounter developmental delays during this time, it’s not something that you should worry about since other children tend to have different developmental milestones.

Early school age

During early school age, children will continue to develop their academic skills. Kids will also continue to develop their social skills and will start to learn more about teamwork and cooperation. They'll also begin developing their vocational skills and begin preparing for their future careers.


During adolescence, a child’s age is around 10-19. Children will undergo many physical changes as they enter puberty. They'll also start to develop their identity and independence, and discover new abilities.

Adolescence is also a time when children start to think about their future. They'll begin to think about what they want to do with their lives and will start planning for their future.

Each stage of child development is important in its own right.  However, the most important years of child development are from birth to age five, as this is when the foundation for future learning and behavior is laid.

baby looking at her toys

Developmental Milestones and Skills

There are many different development milestones and new skills that babies and children go through during their early years. From figuring out how to crawl and walk to developing language skills and socializing with others, each stage of development is important in a child’s growth.

Speech and Language Development

Speech and language abilities are critical components of a child's development. A child should be able to speak in complete phrases by the age of three. And by five, they should be able to converse easily with others. There are many things that can help boost your child's speech and language development, such as reading to them, talking to them as you go about your day, and encouraging them to ask questions.

Social Development

Another important aspect of a child's development is their social skills. By the age of three, a child should be able to interact with others, share toys, and take turns. Parents must provide ample opportunity for their children's social-emotional development to flourish.

Motor skills

Mostly, children's motor skills develop during the first year of life. By 12 months, most babies can roll over, sit up, and crawl. Between 1 and 2 years old, most children can stand up and walk with help. They also learn how to use their fingers to pick close up objects.

Thinking and Problem Solving 

Children learn to think and problem solves during their toddler years. This process involves figuring out how things work and how they are related to one another. Problem-solving skills develop as children learn how to plan, think flexibly, and persist with a task.

Dressing skills

Most children learn to dress themselves by the time they are four or five years old. Dressing skills in kids involve putting on clothing, shoes, and accessories. This includes understanding which dress goes with which season and understanding how zippers, buttons, and other closures work.

Why Is It Important To Help Parents Build Their Knowledge of Child’s Development?

When parents have a better understanding of the ages and stages of child development, they're better equipped to provide the necessary support and guidance their children need. Knowing what to expect during each stage can help parents avoid potential problems and ensure that their children are on track for success.

While the various ages and phases of child development might be intimidating, parents can gain confidence in their capacity to help their children grow and learn by understanding what to expect. There is no one-size-fits-all method to child-rearing, but with a firm grasp of child development, parents may adjust their approach to their kids’ unique needs.

You May Ask

What is developmental delay?

This occurs when a child doesn't meet certain milestones within the typical timeframe. For example, a child who is not crawling by the age of one may have a developmental delay. If you suspect that your child has a developmental delay, be sure to consult with your child’s pediatrician or a trusted healthcare provider.

How can I help my child's development?

This is a natural curiosity for parents. There are many things that you can do to help their children's development. Reading to them, talking to them, giving them support, and providing ample opportunity for socialization are all great ways to help. 

Additionally, parents can ensure that their child is getting enough physical activity for gross motor skills and proper nutrition for optimal health.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, each child is different and will progress through the stages of child development at their own pace. There's no set timeline that applies to all children, so parents need to stay tuned in to their own child's individual needs and abilities.

The ages and stages of child growth are intended to be illustrative only and should not be taken literally. With a bit of patience, understanding, and love, you can help your child navigate their way through the various stages of development and into a bright future.

For more tips and tricks, you can visit Beau and Belle Littles's blogs. We have tons of resources for parents to check out.

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