If you’ve ever compared books of “baby’s firsts,” it may be surprising to see how different each one is. One child may have walked as early as 9 months, while the other took well over 12 months to get their motor going. Another’s first word might have been “mama” while the other child’s was “dog.”
Kids never have the same journeys, but fortunately there are windows of their growth that fit into areas of reliable scientific research.
From the ages of one to three, this is the fun you can expect to have.
Age: Newborn – 12 Months
After the first month marathon of infant crying and feeding, a baby will start to recognize her parent’s voice. Hearing is fully developed, so any familiar noise will draw her curious attention. Playing games with sounds is especially effective since it’s the baby’s most developed sense.
By three months, the baby will start to mimic the sounds she hears. The infant’s vision has improved and she can now recognize you from across the room. Her hand-eye coordination will be better and she may be able to transfer things between hands. Typically between 4 to 6 months your baby will begin rolling over and getting ready to crawl and sit in the following months. Come seven months, the infant will smile and make “conversation” regularly.
Around 12 months, they will start exploring the world around them. They may even take a few independent steps before turning one year old. The child will love playing copycat and mimic the things she watches you do every day, and may finally start to evolve from babbling talk to her first, actual words.
This is an age where language and skill development is a focus. Give your child a safe space to play in so they can explore her senses freely. Discipline will be understood on a simple level, and it’s important to reinforce the difference between good and bad.
Age: 13 – 36 Months
In this timeframe, your toddler will be able to walk alone – even climb stairs by themselves! They can say a few words, maybe even simple sentences by the end of year two, and can understand simple commands. While they may behave independently at times, this stage is the peak of dependency come midyear. Separation anxiety is at its height, but by the end of year two they should be more comfortable around other people.
During early pre-school years, checking under the bed for monsters is commonplace. The child’s imagination is vivid and they may have trouble separating real from fake. Speech and vocabulary will be noticeably sharper, and sentences will sometimes use the right structure. They will start showing distinct emotions as complex as empathy.
The tone, discipline, love, and initiative taken in these first three years are pivotal to the future of a child’s growth. These are some of the most impressionable ages in the development of a child’s life, and the lessons they learn will impact the rest of their lives – and yours!
For specific questions you may have about your child’s development, talk with your pediatrician at Green Hills Pediatric Associates.