5 Major Stages of Child Development

Child develeopment

When children are in their growth phase, they go through a few distinct phases that can be easily segregated based on the stage and age they are in. These phases of growth have been documented to allow parents to understand their growing child better and also handle them accordingly. Based on this, parents can follow a few tips and tricks that will enable them to understand their child better and focus on their overall holistic growth.


Children go through a lot of changes physically and mentally and what occurs exactly during these phases is determined genetically. By reading about the different phases that a child goes through, you as a new parent will be able to provide him with the much-needed support to help him develop in a positive manner.
By taking note of these different stages and keeping an eye out for any sort of developmental habits, you will be able to understand your child better.


What Are the Stages of Childhood Development?

There are different stages of childhood development that have been segregated based on the age of the children and their progress. Each of these phases has distinct periods which require a different sort of parenting approach and once you read through them, you’ll be able to acknowledge these behavioural, physical and emotional traits in the early childhood development stages:

The stages of development in a child are broadly classified as:

  • Birth
  • Baby Development
  • Toddler Development
  • Pre-Schooler Development
  • School-aged children development

1. Birth

When the baby is around one-month-old, he is considered to be in the birth stage of his development cycle. Here, the baby is generally trying to make sense of the world around it and is very attached to the mother as she provides him food, shelter, and takes care of his other needs.

A baby at birth

If you’re a parent who has an infant in this stage of development, you’ll be able to notice certain signs such as the baby holding his head erect and steady when you hold them upright.

Parenting tips

  • The baby will be at the stage where he is recognizing faces around him. He may begin to coo and babble as well by 2-4 months of age, so take note of the different sounds he makes at this age of development.
  • The baby will slowly learn to develop his motor skills by lifting his head while being on his tummy and will prefer looking at colours. So, pay attention and give them enough opportunity to explore. It is also important that you can give them at least 20 to 30 seconds of short tummy time sessions right from their 2nd week and gradually increase the time as they grow older.
  • Infants at this age will also begin displaying certain reflexes at this age such as opening his mouth, moving his head when you stroke his cheeks and trying to grasp the things you put in his hands.

2. Baby Development

Between the ages of one to twelve months, babies are in the “baby development stage” of childhood development. They begin to exhibit characteristics that are pertinent to this particular stage.

A baby teething

Babies during this age are able to now easily identify their parents and other close relatives and will feel at ease. They will also be more comfortable expressing themselves with time.

Parenting tips

  • Babies here will begin understanding their bodies a little bit better and will start improving their motor skills. Parents can provide them with toys that will help improve stimuli like sound, touch, and sight.
  • They will also be able to sit up when you prop them but may find it hard to balance. Ensure you’re able to strengthen their core muscles to help them do the same.
  • Babies also love putting things in their mouth as they begin teething at this stage of life. Make sure that you do not provide any harmful objects for them to insert into their mouths.
  • By the time they are in their 7-12 month stage, babies can understand names and other commonly used words. Try seeing if they respond to certain words at this age.
  • Kids love being in motion towards the end of this stage and will almost be able to sit up on their own. They will also try walking and building strength in their legs, so try helping them out.

3. Toddler development

Between one to three years old, children are in their toddler development stage. This is one of the early childhood development stages and kids begin showing parts of their personality here. It is important that you keep an eye out because they love to explore the independence bought on with the freedom of walking around.

A toddler girl

Parenting tips

  • Kids at this age will begin understanding things like a bedtime routine and this gives them a sense of comfort. Make sure you stick to a disciplined timing of putting them to bed at this age.
  • As they can walk pretty much independently at this age, parents must keep an eye out if they wander or come in contact with hazardous items.
  • They might be clumsy, but they have decent motor skills now. Provide them with stationery like crayons or building blocks to aid their mental development at this stage.
  • Take some time out and talk to your child and develop their language speaking skills. They can begin to form short sentences that may be a bit incoherent, but with practice, they will improve.

4. Pre-schooler development

This is the age between 3 and 5-years-old, where the child is no longer a baby anymore. He is now able to do things such as run and have conversations. Parents need to help their child grow from a mental perspective and ensure that he is developing in kindergarten. You can talk to your child’s teachers and gauge the kind of activities that he enjoys at school.

Mom reading to her daughter

Parenting tips

  • Kids at this age love talking about anything and everything under the moon. Keep talking and indulge in their little conversations.
  • Also, since they can now read, have a few books ready to help them better their pronunciation and creative skills.
  • Let them run around and get much-needed exercise in the evening as they are at an age where they have bundles of energy.

5. School-aged children development

School-aged children fall within the six and 12-year-old age bracket and at this age, they may tend to be a little annoying as they’re influenced by the world around them. However, if nurtured the right way, kids will begin showing traits of intelligence and thought beyond what is deemed capable of their age.

A school going child

Parenting tips

  • Kids at this age have fully developed motor skills and you as a parent, need to find ways to channel that energy. See if they are interested in sports and make sure that they get exercise on a day-to-day basis.
  • Also, they begin to form peer relationships at this age, so make sure that you’re involved in the social development. Some kids may find it hard to communicate to new people, so be there for support in case they find it difficult to make friends.
  • They also begin developing secondary sexual characteristics at this age, so keep an eye out for the same.

Some kids can begin showing traits of independence at this age. As long as they’re able to take care of themselves, you can begin loosening the reigns a little and allowing them to make their own decisions.

Thus, early development stages of a child are a challenging time and will require parents to be on their toes at all times. Everything that a child sees, smells, and touches can influence their behaviour and it is up to parents to ensure that they are given an environment to develop. At home as well as outside home, kids will tend to experiment a lot, so don’t leave anything to chance.

At the same time, don’t forget to enjoy your little one’s behaviour and antics. This is the age when they are truly themselves without anything restricting them, so try to make sure that they have a childhood that is worth remembering.