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Early Childhood Hub

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My Developing Newborn to 3 Years Old

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Resources for your developing newborn to 3-year-old child.

Newborn to 3-year-old

 

1-2 Years


Growth & Development: 0-3 Months

Throughout the first year of life, your baby will undergo rapid social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development. He will recognize your face and imitate gestures you make, such as smiling or sticking out your tongue. Your baby will begin to crawl, and later walk, expanding his reach from just inside a crib to the entire world. He will start to babble, eventually forming sounds and then words like ‘mama' and ‘dada.' She'll start swatting at objects and eventually learn to grasp and even feed herself. These miraculous changes develop over time and at different rates for different children, but keep in mind the following developmental generalizations as you watch your child grow.

As a new parent, you've no doubt been watching your little one very closely. You may have noticed that she lost a few ounces in the first few days of life. Not to worry: most babies regain their birth weight within two weeks and continue gaining 6 to 8 ounces a week for the next few months. At each checkup your doctor will chart your child's length, weight, and growth rate (how her size compares with other babies her age). Keep in mind that all babies are grow at different rates. Length measurements shouldn't be taken too seriously either, since measuring a squirmy infant is a tough task.

Within the first three months, your baby will begin to smile and track people and objects with her eyes. She may also begin discovering her own feet and hands as well as the ability to lift her head and turn towards sounds. Every day, your baby will be learning from the world around her.

HOW TO SUPPORT YOUR CHILD'S LEARNING PROCESS

  • Repeat the sounds and words your child uses and have talk to your baby often.
  • Making eye contact and changing your tone of voice will help your baby know what you are saying. Even though they can't talk back, your baby is taking in all that you say and do.
  • Read, sing, and tell stories. These are fun ways to help your child understand the meaning of new words and ideas.
  • Encourage your child to explore toys in different ways by touching, banging, stacking, shaking.
  • Use words to help your child understand his feelings. “You are really mad because we have to leave the park.”
  • Stay calm when your child is upset. This helps him feel safe and get back in control.
     

DEVELOPMENTAL MILESTONES

Social and Emotional Development

  • Begins to develop a social smile
  • Enjoys playing with other people and may cry when playing stops
  • Becomes more communicative and expressive with face and body
  • Imitates some movements and facial expressions
     

Physical Development

  • Raises head and chest when lying on stomach
  • Supports upper body with arms when lying on stomach
  • Stretches legs out and kicks when lying on stomach or back
  • Opens and shuts hands
  • Pushes down on legs when feet are placed on a firm surface
  • Sucking and grasping reflexes develop
  • Is able to focus and follow objects with eyes
  • Brings hand to mouth
  • Takes swipes at dangling objects with hands
     

Cognitive & Language Development

  • Watches faces intently
  • Follows moving objects
  • Recognizes familiar objects and people at a distance
  • Starts using hands and eyes in coordination
  • Smiles at the sound of your voice
  • Smiles and coos in response to others
  • Begins to imitate movements and facial expressions (sticking out tongue)
  • Begins to babble
  • Begins to imitate some sounds
  • Turns head toward direction of sound

 

Growth & Development: 3-6 Months

Throughout the first year of life, your baby will undergo rapid social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development. He will recognize your face and imitate gestures you make, such as smiling or sticking out your tongue. Your baby will begin to crawl, and later walk, expanding his reach from just inside a crib to the entire world. He will start to babble, eventually forming sounds and then words like ‘mama' and ‘dada.' She'll start swatting at objects and eventually learn to grasp and even feed herself. These miraculous changes develop over time and at different rates for different children, but keep in mind the following developmental generalizations as you watch your child grow.

It is impossible to spoil your infant. Responding to your baby's needs in a loving and consistent way helps you develop a secure and positive relationship with your child. Doing so is critical since this relationship is your infant's first one, and it teaches your baby how to form healthy, trusting connections with others in the future.

HOW TO SUPPORT YOUR CHILD'S LEARNING PROCESS

  • Your newborn baby loves to be touched, held, comforted, and talked to. Laugh and smile with your baby. By 3 months, your baby will be able to return your smile!
  • Your child will begin to recognize voices and sounds. Your baby especially loves the sound of your voice. Feeding times, diaper changes, and bath times are wonderful moments to talk to your child about what you are doing together. Your voice is reassuring and familiar.
  • To help your baby develop language skills, play music for your newborn to stimulate hearing. Read to your child and name objects as you point to them in books.
  • Provide toys with different textures to encourage your child to explore with her fingers.
  • Place your infant on her tummy while she is awake to develop neck and back muscles.
  • Between 3 and 6 months your baby will begin learning to comfort herself and to stay calm after waking or when going to sleep. Forming a secure relationship with your baby helps her learn that you will be there if she needs you.
     

DEVELOPMENTAL MILESTONES

Social and Emotional Development

  • Begins to display a social smile – your baby is learning to recognize familiar faces and is eager to greet them
  • Enjoys playing with others and may cry when playing stops
  • Expressive and communicates more with face and body
  • Drawn to image of self in mirrors
  • Begins to learn how to comfort herself
     

Physical Development

  • Raises head and chest when lying on stomach
  • Supports upper body with arms when lying on stomach
  • Stretches legs out and kicks when lying on stomach or back
  • Opens and closes hands
  • Can sit with and, later, without support
  • Pushes down on legs when feet are placed on a firm surface
  • Brings hand to mouth
  • Takes swipes at dangling objects with hands
     

Cognitive & Language Development

  • Watches faces closely
  • Responds to her own name
  • Follows moving objects
  • Recognizes familiar objects and people at a distance
  • Starts using hands and eyes in coordination
  • Smiles at the sound of your voice
  • Begins to babble and starts to imitate some sounds
  • Responds to music and turns head toward sound

 

Growth & Development: 6-9 Months

Throughout the first year of life, your baby will undergo rapid social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development. He will recognize your face and imitate gestures you make, such as smiling or sticking out your tongue. Your baby will begin to crawl, and later walk, expanding his reach from just inside a crib to the entire world. He will start to babble, eventually forming sounds and then words like ‘mama' and ‘dada.' She'll start swatting at objects and eventually learn to grasp and even feed herself. These miraculous changes develop over time and at different rates for different children, but keep in mind the following developmental generalizations as you watch your child grow.

As your baby starts to get older, it is exciting to see all of the developmental changes that start to take shape. You may begin to see your child trying harder to do things for himself like crawl, clap, hold onto objects, “babble” and try to stand up on his own two feet. This stage of life will allow you to play with your child on a whole new level as you watch his mind grow. As always, it's important to remember that all children develop at different speeds, so try to be patient and understanding while your child starts to explore the world around him.

HOW TO SUPPORT YOUR CHILD'S LEARNING PROCESS

  • Talk about the objects around you, so that he can match up things with their names
  • Use your baby's name when you talk to him: ‘Where's Jack's hat? ' This activity will help him in his understanding of sounds and language
  • Look at picture books together
  • Many babies are able to sit without support, although for the first couple of weeks you'll need to stay close by to prevent him nose-diving out of his precarious new position
  • Play with stacking toys: these make use of his developing ability to organize the world around him, and develop his hand-eye co-ordination
  • Use a firm, low pitched voice to describe dangerous objects or areas (a hot stove or sharp table, for example). This helps to show the importance of some things being off-limits
  • Try to baby proof your home before your infant begins crawling by covering electrical outlets and other safety risks
     

DEVELOPMENTAL MILESTONES

Social and Emotional Development

  • At this stage in your baby's life, his/her developmental and physical abilities increase. Your child is unique and the timeline of when he or she will hit certain milestones will vary.
  • Since you child is becoming increasingly aware of the world around him, your child may start to grab onto things, bang objects to hear the sound they make and develop a better control of their body and their actions.
  • Some babies at this age develop what is called “stranger anxiety”. This is when your infant shows signs of distress when they do not recognize a person near them or their parents are out of the room. This period is not permanent, and usually fades over time
     

Physical Development

  • Sits up without being supported
  • Starts to stand. This developmental stage varies for each child, however, some infants are able to pull themselves up and hold onto furniture by 9 months
  • Begins to crawl. Some infants never crawl, however, by 9 months, many babies find crawling to be an exciting way to get around.
  • Develops hand-eye coordination
     

Cognitive & Language Development

Many babies at this stage are able to “babble”, meaning they try to verbalize the sounds they hear.
Infants between 6 and 9 months begin to develop a better awareness of the world. With this in mind, you may notice that your child starts to develop the ability to realize that objects still exist, despite the fact that they are out of sight.

 

Growth & Development: 9-12 Months

Throughout the first year of life, your baby will undergo rapid social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development. He will recognize your face and imitate gestures you make, such as smiling or sticking out your tongue. Your baby will begin to crawl, and later walk, expanding his reach from just inside a crib to the entire world. He will start to babble, eventually forming sounds and then words like ‘mama' and ‘dada.' She'll start swatting at objects and eventually learn to grasp and even feed herself. These miraculous changes develop over time and at different rates for different children, but keep in mind the following developmental generalizations as you watch your child grow.

Your baby is about to embark on a whole new journey: walking. Help her to get there by allowing her to crawl freely and supporting her while she attempts to pull herself up. With walking comes a burst in language development, so prepare her for this by labeling. Point to objects and give its name. Even if she can't make the words now, you will help her understand the process and the meaning of pointing. Keep in mind that different babies develop at different paces, so although some may already be walking, many babies continue to crawl throughout the first year of life.

HOW TO SUPPORT YOUR CHILD'S LEARNING PROCESSES

  • Repeat words and sounds for your baby, and encourage him to mimic your voice and gestures
  • Games like peek-a-boo help your child to learn that objects still exist when hidden
  • Ask your baby simple yes or no questions
  • Allow your baby to finger feed herself to help her develop her hand-eye coordination
  • Safety-proof your home for your little wanderer
     

DEVELOPMENTAL MILESTONES

Social and Emotional Development

  • Baby appears shy or anxious with strangers
  • May cry when caregiver leaves
  • Enjoys imitation
  • Tests parental responses to her behavior
  • Repeats sounds or gestures
     

Physical Development

  • Crawls forward on belly
  • Sits up without assistance
  • Pulls himself up to stand
  • May walk two or three steps without support
  • Walks holding on to furniture
  • Takes objects out of containers
  • Pokes with index finger


Cognitive & Language Development

  • Responds to “no”
  • Babbles with inflections: changes in tones
  • May say “mama” and “dada”
  • Finds hidden objects easily
  • Begins to use objects correctly: drinks from cups, listens in a phone
  • Explores object in different ways: banging, shaking, throwing, etc.

 

Growth & Development: 1-2 Years

When your child is between one and three years old, she will probably be interested in everything and everyone, especially if it's new or different. She will want to be part of whatever you do. She will try to imitate you. She will also insist on trying to do many things by herself as she becomes more independent.  She will want to pick out her own clothes and will become more vocal about what she want, like and dislike.  Being as loving and supportive as possible during this time of exploration will increase your child's sense of confidence and independence. 

Between the ages of 2 and 3 years old, your child will begin to push the limits to see what she can get away with.  By breaking the rules or pushing the limits your child is seeing how you react to them.  She is testing you to see if you will still love her even when she misbehave.  And although it can be extremely frustrating at times, your child is learning that you are someone she can count to keep her safe.  This is why havingEffective Discipline techniques are vital to raising 2-3 year olds. 

HOW TO SUPPORT YOUR CHILD'S LEARNING PROCESS

  • Read to your child
  • Stay calm when your child is upset
  • Reinforce attempts at speech by responding, imitating vocalizations, and maintaining eye contact
  • Play matching games with your toddler
     

DEVELOPMENTAL MILESTONES

It's important to remember that development is not a race. What's most important is building on your child's strengths and providing her with support when she needs it. Children at this age need to be held and nurtured often. Healthy growth and development occurs within loving relationships: ones in which children can go out and explore, learn, and grow; and then return to a safe and caring environment.

Social and Emotional Development

  • Enjoys playing with other people and may cry when playing stops
  • Becomes more communicative and expressive with face and body
  • Imitates some movements and facial expressions
  • Develops a sense of security
  • Can identify primary caregiver
     

Physical Development

  • Walks on own
  • Walks backwards
  • Is able to pick up toys while standing
  • Pushes and pull s objects
  • Paints and scribbles
  • May use one hand more than another
  • Grasps, holds, and throws a ball
  • Climbs on and off furniture
  • May begin to run
  • Turns over and pours out containers
  • Feeds himself

 

Cognitive Development

  • Recognize themselves in the mirror
  • Finds objects when hidden
  • Understands and responds properly to words and commands
  • Distinguishes between “you” and “me”
  • May begin to match similar objects


Speech and Language Development

  • Says more words every month
  • Uses some simple questions (“where kitty?”)
  • Puts two words together
  • Speech can be hard to understand at times
  • Points to some body parts
  • Follows certain commands
  • Points to pictures in a book
     

Sexual Development

(Adapted from kidshealth.org)

Many parents call their doctors out of concern because they have noticed their children touching their genitals during diaper changes. Some parents may even notice that their baby boys have frequent erections. They are reassured that these behaviors are perfectly normal and told that even the youngest children naturally explore their bodies.

Many children, especially toddlers enjoy being naked. How you react- your voice, tone, the words you use, your facial expression- is one of your child's first lessons in sexuality. By responding with support and guidance, you are teaching your child that curiosity about his or her body is a normal and healthy part of life.

 

Growth & Development: 2-3 Years

When your child is between one and three years old, she will probably be interested in everything and everyone, especially if it's new or different. She will want to be part of whatever you do. She will try to imitate you. She will also insist on trying to do many things by herself as she becomes more independent.  She will want to pick out her own clothes and will become more vocal about what she want, like and dislike.  Being as loving and supportive as possible during this time of exploration will increase your child's sense of confidence and independence. 

Between the ages of 2 and 3 years old, your child will begin to push the limits to see what she can get away with.  By breaking the rules or pushing the limits your child is seeing how you react to them.  She is testing you to see if you will still love her even when she misbehave.  And although it can be extremely frustrating at times, your child is learning that you are someone she can count to keep her safe.  This is why havingEffective Discipline techniques are vital to raising 2-3 year olds. 

HOW TO SUPPORT YOUR CHILD'S LEARNING PROCESS

  • Read to your child
  • Stay calm when your child is upset
  • Reinforce attempts at speech by responding, imitating vocalizations, and maintaining eye contact
  • Play matching games with your toddler
     

DEVELOPMENTAL MILESTONES

It's important to remember that development is not a race. What's most important is building on your child's strengths and providing her with support when she needs it. Children at this age need to be held and nurtured often. Healthy growth and development occurs within loving relationships: ones in which children can go out and explore, learn, and grow; and then return to a safe and caring environment.

Social and Emotional Development

  • Shows affection for others
  • Is able to play by himself or herself
  • Continues to explore world around him
  • Imitates behaviors
  • Begins being more helpful
  • May also begin to show challenging behavior
     

Physical Development

  • Runs forward
  • Helps dress and undress themselves
  • Jumps in place with one foot
  • Kicks a ball
  • Climbs on to things with ease
  • Bends over
  • Holds a pencil in a writing position
     

Cognitive Development

  • Responds to simple directions
  • Groups objects by category
  • Observes and imitates more complex actions
  • Typically egocentric, or self-centered, in their thinking
     

Speech and Language Development

  • Uses two or three word sentences
  • Speech is understood by familiar listeners
  • Follows two step directions
  • Understands differences in meanings (i.e. stop & go or up & down)
     

Sexual Development

(Adapted from kidshealth.org)

By age 2 or 3, a child starts to develop a sense of being a male or female. This awareness is called gender identity . A child of this age starts to understand the difference between boys and girls, and can identify him or herself as one or the other. Some people think gender identity is biologically determined and some say it's a product of a child's environment. Most likely, though, it's a combination of both.

At this age kids begin to associate certain behaviors, called gender roles , with being male or female. Gender roles are a product of our culture. What is masculine? What is feminine? How do boys and men behave? How do girls and women behave? As you decide what you want to teach your kids about gender roles, be aware of the messages they get both in and out of the home.

 

*This article appears courtesy of onetoughjob.org - a parenting website owned and operated by The Children's Trust.

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