Children’s development is continuous and can be measured in a number of different ways.
Although all children will develop at different rates and in different ways, the sequence in which they develop will be roughly the same as they need to have developed one skill, for example walking, before they move on to develop another such as running and jumping.
Development is often referred to on a timeline and is broken down in ages. As development is more rapid in early years the milestones start by being quite close together before becoming further apart as baby becomes a child and then a young adult.
The aspects of development that children are measured on are physical, language, social and emotional, and intellect.
is usually very rapid early on in the child’s development. Within weeks of being born a baby will start to smile and respond to sounds and environments around them. By 6 months as their muscles begin to develop they will reach for and hold objects which they will also put into their mouths.
By one year
old they are beginning to crawl or shuffle, pulling or pushing on furniture to stand and then cruise using furniture or adult for support. Sitting has progressed to unaided and they are rolling from their front to their back.
They are beginning to be inquisitive with objects, passing them between hands, handling them in different ways and looking for things that are hiding. Their hand to eye co-ordination improves as items are passed from hand to hand. Their first teeth may start to appear and solid foods may start to be introduced.
Between one and two years
walking will begin and toys will start to be pulled/pushed along whilst walking. Objects will be picked up and banged together or built to make a small tower. A preference for one hand may start to appear as they begin to hold crayons etc when mark making on paper.
They enjoy trying to feed themselves both with finger foods and with a spoon, and will drink from a cup with both hands.
Waving goodbye becomes fun, they will begin to point to what they want and shake their head to mean ‘no’.
Between the ages of 2 and 3
mark making on paper will progress to scribbles as they begin to use pencils etc. Balls start to be kicked and thrown. Bricks will be built into larger towers than before, and they will start to experiment with liquids in play by pouring.
At 3 years
children begin to gain more independence. Their mobility and climbing skills will be advancing as they run, jump, catch, walk up and down stairs etc. Dexterity increases with small objects like puzzles, threading beads etc. Dressing and undressing will be assisted but more cooperative.
At 4 years
boys gross motor skills tend to be more developed when it comes to throwing and aiming, building, climbing, pedalling etc, whereas girls fine motor skills tend to be more developed with the use of scissors, holding a pencil to draw and colour threading small beads sewing stitches etc.
At 5 years
children will have more pencil control and will begin to copy letters and shapes, and draw people.
Ball games will develop more structure as they begin to kick with aim. They will begin to learn to hop on one foot, then the other and also to skip.
At 6 years
dressing becomes independent at they learn to do buttons, laces etc. Writing becomes more fluent as copying letter shapes has progressed to words and sentences with greater pencil control.
Confidence has increased when playing outside in climbing, jumping from heights and riding a bike.
At 7 years
children begin to enjoy playing team games as they are now hitting a ball, running, jumping, skipping, swinging. However until around the age of 9 they may misjudge their ability.
The age between 12 and 19
, between childhood and adulthood is referred to as adolescence. Physical development during this period is very different in each child.
As some may be just beginning to mature physically, others may have already reached full physical maturity.
normally begin adolescence around 14 years which is later than girls. When they have reached the end of this growth period however they are usually bigger than girls. Their body shape will change as their muscles grow and they will develop body hair. Their strength and coordination will increase greatly and their voice will change to become deeper. In the early stages of puberty testicles and scrotum will begin to grow, penis growth will start later but will continue for longer.
breasts will begin to swell from around the age of 10 and continue. They will also develop hair in the pubic region which will darken and become curly. Their body shape will change to become more rounded and curvy. Some girls may be physically mature by the age of 15 and nearly at their full adult height although she may still develop larger breasts and a fuller figure. This is of course dependant on the age at which she begins puberty of which there are huge variations ranging from 8 until late teens. The average age for girls to begin menstruation is around 13.
Children’s language development
usually begins in their first three months. They will begin by learning to use their voice and enjoying vocal play. Babies will watch faces and mouths to try and copy movements and sounds.
Between six and twelve months
baby will start to enjoy making new and different sounds and will display their feelings in crying/laughing/squealing.
By two years
their speech will begin to develop as they start to respond and understand more words when they are listening, and also start to copy sounds such as their name. Simple commands are understood although their understanding is far more progressed at this stage than their ability to be understood. Their vocabulary could consist of anything up to 150 words and the use of single words will progress to phrases and later small sentences. Questions will begin to be constantly asked.
Between two and three years
their speech will have progressed into longer sentences and they easily learn new words, names, places etc. Children will begin to join in and remember both the words and actions to songs. They will begin mark making on paper with crayons/chalks etc. Their vocabulary can consist of several hundred words by the time they are three years old.
From three to four years
children begin to develop their language skills further, their vocabulary continues to extend towards 1500 words and mark making becomes more controlled. In both speaking and singing they will start to use pitch and tone. They may start to use past tense.
As children approach five years
, their grammar becomes more accurate and their language and conversations/questions more complex. They understand that pictures in story books help them follow the story and enjoy story books both with and without words. Their pencil control becomes steadier and they begin to form letters and copy shapes/patterns. They will recognise their written name and other commonly used words.
Between five and seven years
children continue to build on their language both written and spoken. They will be able to hold conversations and imagine and recall stories. Their knowledge of books will continue as they understand the meaning of text and begin to recognise letters, sounds and words.
will continue to grow between the ages of seven and twelve with the help of adults around them. They will be able to read out loud and speak fluently, often in complicated detail. They may need guidance with spelling but should have an understanding of different tenses and grammar.
As a teenager language
skills will still be developing but in a more complex manner. Their humour may change as they begin to understand and use sarcasm and wit. Their ability to think logically begins to mature and as their intellect increases so too may the confidence and skills required to debate/argue both formally and informally.
Babies begin to develop both socially and emotionally
by responding to voices and faces, especially their Mothers and carers and beginning to smile. They have little independence and rely on adults for comfort and reassurance, feeling secure when cuddled.
By 9 months
babies are still shy with strangers but will show their affection to carers. They will enjoy being with others and playing simple games like peek-a-boo.
Between one and two years
they may show separation anxiety from adults close to them. They may choose a particular object such as a teddy or blanket to comfort them. Play becomes more fun with other children, and they will mostly be cooperative and they like to please adults. They can be easily distracted to avoid unwanted behaviour. From two to three years children will become more independent, wanting to do things for frustrated when they are unable to do something without help.
Jealousy of others receiving attention may start to be apparent. Although they will begin to enjoy playing alongside other children of their age, or others who give them attention, they do not necessarily play with each other and may be reluctant to share either playthings or adults attention with others.
The child may display attachment and separation anxiety at this age.
Independence continues to grow, and by the age or four children will start to become self motivated in certain things. They begin to cope better with new surroundings and people.
Their social skills will be growing as play becomes more cooperative with other children. They are able to share and consider the needs and feelings of others. They like to help and please, and become more cooperative with adults.
Between the age of four and seven
children learn a great deal about how things work, people and the world. They enjoy being given or taking responsibility, and helping others. They start to understand rules and like to have structure and routine. Play is fun with groups but taking turns can be difficult, so as friendships are made, they are often broken fairly quickly as they still need help to resolve minor arguments and disagreements.
As children progress towards teenage years
they become more independent and less reliant on adults for support. They will become more aware of their gender and form
strong friendships, often playing with friends of the same ***, although adult intervention is often still needed to help resolve arguments and disagreements. They begin to understand acceptable and unacceptable behaviour and have a strong sense of what is right and wrong. Peer groups are very influential as children want to fit in with others and their rules.
may need a great deal of reassurance as they approach adulthood. Their bodies are going through many physical changes and they may become very self conscious. They will also be experiencing huge emotional changes which they may find difficult to control, shifting between childish and adult behaviour and needs. Their independence may cause them to distance themselves from parents and become closer to peers. Parental beliefs and values will be questioned and often dismissed as the teenager builds their own value system. Strong friendships may be developed with others of the same ***, whilst an interest in the opposite *** begins to develop.
intellect begins very simply by imitating and trying out new ways of behaviour and play. Although their confidence will begin to grow, they will still need reassurance from carers/adults. They start to realise that we are all separate beings.
At three to four years
children will be able to sort by size, colour, shape etc. They will understand a number of simple instructions given at once, for example “go to the table, get an apple and bring it to me”.
Between five and seven
they will be aware of similarities and differences in aspects of life, and understand that differences can exist side by side. They will begin to understand that the same things can be seen differently, for example the same number of bricks will not look the same when built differently.
children will begin to read to themselves.
Children will develop certain interests by nine
will become more responsible for their own thoughts, words and actions. They will begin to think to their future adulthood in relation to occupations, relationships etc. The support and guidance given to children during this time will have a great bearing on the pace of their development. As a teenager forms their individual identity, education should guide them on moral, social, economic and culture codes.
This should help you on your way.
and Level 3 CYPW handbook