What Is Child Development?


What Is Child Development?

What Is Child Development? From birth till teenage years, our children go through several skill development milestones that contribute in developing their lifelong skills and have lasting impact on their personality. According to modern science, there are five developmental domains that are important for growing children.

Each developmental domain indicates several developmental milestone skills, like learning to feel, to think, to remember, to sit, to walk, to talk, to understand others, to use small and large muscles, and to understand the feelings of others. All these are examples of the developmental milestones in children.

To properly raise a child, it is important for parents to identify each development milestone in their growing children, and respond to their growing needs accordingly. Keep in mind – we are raising our children in a very competitive environment.

Simply put, as parents, we need to better understand the child development stages, and how to respond to these changes, to raise confident and successful generation of tomorrow.

According to the basic child development definition, there are 5 important children developmental milestones.

  1. Cognitive Development
  2. Social and Emotional Development
  3. Speech and Language Development
  4. Fine Motor Skill Development
  5. Gross Motor Skill Development

Most of the children start experiencing all the five developmental domains or stages between the ages of 9 to 15 months that continue till teenage years.

In this detailed article, we will talk about how all these areas of development affect our children, and how we as parent can make the most out of each stage.

Cognitive Development

The first and the most important developmental stage our child goes through after birth is cognitive development, but the stage continues for a long period of time, even in the teenage years and our adult life.

What is Cognitive Development?

Cognitive development encompasses numerous significant skills that are mandatory for a child’s mental health and progress. The simple definition of cognitive development is:

“The ability of our children or even adults to gain knowledge and learn from the information, surroundings, and experience.”

Children are often misunderstood due to their lack of communicative capacity, but they start to develop cognitive skills from the time of their birth. According to the psychologist, Jean Piaget, children’s perceptive ability works differently than adults and they have their own way of taking in the world.

The three core cognitive skills that develop at the early age, is the ability to think, memory, and attention. Development of these skills is important to move to the next developmental stages.

  • Children must learn to pay attention in order to understand what is happening around them, to focus more on a task and conversation. It is important for future learning.
  • Again, without developing a good memory in time will delay the other development stages in your child. It allows your child to retain what you are trying to teach her and provides a basis for future learning.
  • Thinking is also important to find solutions, and to jump to the next developmental stages.

Here is the list of cognitive skills and a few examples that include:

  • Understanding words
  • Colors or alphabets
  • Ability to memorize things
  • Ability to concentrate
  • Understanding cause & effect

You might not believe it, but children’s mental and intellectual growth starts from the moment they are born and continues until they hit their teen years.

Also, keep in mind, according to some experts, cognitive development is a lifelong process. As it reflects learning, it includes all stages when you learn to do something new even as an adult.

For example, some cognitive activities examples are as follows.

  • When a two month old baby tries to learn about the environment
  • A 6 year old learns to do basic addition
  • As an adult, learning something new in your office, for example, latest software, or a new device interface.

Why is Cognitive Development Important?

Cognitive skills development is important because it improves your child’s memory, thought process, and interactive abilities. It also helps your child to explore the world and respond to their surroundings. If you fail to pay proper attention to your child’s cognitive growth, he/she may not be able to achieve basic children developmental milestones necessary for normal upbringing. Also, the other child developmental milestones like motor skills, and speech and language development, also depends on early cognitive skills.

Good Ways To Help Your Child’s Cognitive Development?

Whether your child is showing normal cognitive growth indicators or not, you can take following measures to ensure proper development of your child in the cognitive domain.

  • Restrict distractions for increased attention.
  • Engage in your child’s activities.
  • Give them interesting challenges as per their mental capacity.
  • Go out of the way for keeping their curiosity alive. If your child feels confident to do something on his own, don’t help him.
  • Keep a predictable routine to help develop their memory.
  • Be communicative.
  • Engage them in learning activities, such as sorting, matching, drawing, arranging, problem-solving, etc. For this, you can make use of children’s toys designed for the same purpose.
  • Show excitement on your child’s accomplishments, recognize their achievements.

The key is to observe your kid, and provide him an environment that nurtures his growth.

What to Do When Child Cognitive Skills Are Not Developing In Time?

As our children grow, their thinking and learning ability must progressively get better. With time and age, our children must improve their ability to remember things, to concentrate, and solve more complex problems with improved thinking process.

If this is not happening in a timely manner, you may need to take things into your hands. This is important because as your child grows, but fails to develop cognitive skills, it will have an impact on his self believe, and confidence.

Keep in mind, at early stage of cognitive development, children learn and develop skills naturally, but as they grow older, parents also need to nurture their skills. There are many factors that play a role in the development of skills in your children, that include nature, environment, how you nurture the skills, and even genetics.

You can also improve cognitive skills in your children through training and practice, by providing a nurturing environment. How can you do that? By keeping an eye on your children’s activities and daily routines, by explaining them cause and effect theory, and buying them toys that can help in cognitive development.

For example, a child can always learn to pay more attention. You can buy him a toy that makes them focus on one thing. Similarly, too much screen time can harm development in young children. The research by a Canadian professor revealed that excessive use of mobile devices or digital screens (TV, smartphones, tablets, and computers) by children under five years of age reduces attention span and causes language delays.

Actions to take to encourage cognitive development in young children:

  • Reduce the screen time to less than an hour for under 5 years children
  • Replace electronics and TV time with educational and learning toys
  • Learn about the preschool activities for development and practice with your child
  • Remove distractions when they are learning or trying to focus on a task
  • Ask questions about their day, experiences, and their interests to motivate them to engage in critical thinking, to remember things, and to explain their experiences
  • Show affection, recognize his achievements, and give him small responsibilities

Cognitive Developmental Skills Checklist:

Here is the checklist of the actions that can encourage cognitive development in children of different age groups.

For infants less than 1 year of age:

  • Encourage floor-based play
  • Involve in physical activities several times a day
  • Ensure 30 minutes of tummy time spread throughout the day, but not while sleep
  • Don’t keep your child restrained for more than 60 minutes

For Toddles from 1 to 2 years of age:

  • Make sure the child is spending at least 3 hours in a variety of physical activities throughout the day
  • Encourage energetic play and movement
  • Don’t keep them restrained (like in a stroller) for more than an hour. Similarly, don’t make them sit at one place for a long time.
  • No screen time is recommended for children under 2 years of age, and only one hour for 2 years old

For Preschoolers from 3 to 4 years of age:

  • Make sure your child is active and performing physical activities for more than 3 hours at least. More is always better. Also make sure to spread physical activities throughout the day.
  • At least an hour of the physical activity must be energetic play, with quick movements
  • Don’t keep them restrained at one place for more than an hour
  • Don’t make them sit for an extended period of time
  • Screen time must be limited to only one hour a day
  • Read to your child, make time for storytelling

Checklist for Sleep Time

You also need to make sure that your child is having enough sleep as it has strong impact on cognitive development of your child. Here is a quick checklist of children’s sleep requirements.

  • Infants from 0 to 3 months: 14 to 17 hours of sleep
  • Infants from 4 to 11 months: 12 to 16 hours of sleep
  • Toddlers from 1 to 2 years: 11 to 14 hours of sleep with consistent timing
  • Preschoolers from 3 to 4 years: 10 to 13 hours of sleep with consistent timing
  • Children 5 years of age or older: 8 to 10 hours of sleep with consistent timing

Note: Don’t compare your child with other children. Cognitive development milestones, strengths, and weaknesses vary in each child. Don’t push your child too much if he misses a few age-appropriate cognitive skills, as children reach these milestones at their own pace. Keep patience and concentrate on providing him a healthy learning environment.


Social and Emotional Development

Social and emotional development is the second out of 5 developmental domains in early childhood. This stage also starts at an early age, within first few months after the birth and continues to develop into adult life.

What is social development?

This development milestone is about the child’s interaction with people around him. The stage also includes other skills like self-control, and ability to help himself instead of waiting for someone else.

When a six month old baby smiles, it shows social and emotional development. Similarly, when a one year old girl waves someone leaving,  and when a kid in preschool makes sense of the concept of the turns, these all are examples of social and emotional development.

Here is the complete list of skills that counts under the social and emotional development:

  • Interaction with adults and peers
  • Relationship with adults and peers
  • Self identification
  • Recognition of own abilities
  • Expression of emotions, understanding of emotional concepts like empathy, love
  • Emotion control and regulation
  • Impulse control and social understanding

Why is it important to Develop Social and Emotional Skills?

Social and emotional development in children is one of the most important skills for their future growth and success in life. During this development milestone, children learn to control and express their emotions. They also learn to interact with adults and with peers, and learns to build relationship with adults and peers as well.

They also learn to identify self in relation with others, develop self-esteem and self believe. This is why it is very important to develop social and emotional skills, because these have a long lasting impact on the adult life as well.

Ways to help to Develop Social and Emotional Skills in Children?

As these skills have long lasting impact on your child’s life, parents have to play an active role to make sure their children are developing the right skills at the right time.

These skills also play a key role in self-confidence, so make sure you are doing everything you can do to improve social and emotional skills in your children. Here are few things you can do:

  • Practice attachment style parenting. Make sure to touch your child with affection whenever possible, make him feel protected and important. The more he feels his parents around him during the first few years, the better the social and emotional development.
  • Work on your own self confidence as well and act as a positive mirror for your child.
  • Play with your child.
  • Use the name of your child to address him instead of nicknames. Don’t use any labels for anything your child does. For example, even if he is naughty, don’t call him that.
  • Always encourage and motivate your child, recognize his skills and achievements.
  • Give your child responsibilities and give them recognition when they complete their responsibilities.
  • Make very clear rules, and be consistent with them.

The most important thing that a parent can do is to provide an environment where children can express themselves without any fear. Make sure your child is comfortable around you to express himself, and not stuffing his thoughts.

What to Do When Child Social and Emotional Skills Are Not Developing In Time?

The delay in social and emotional skills is probably more serious than delays in other skills, which is why you also need to take it more seriously.

In most cases, a delay in social and emotional skill, which translates into unhealthy interactions with adults and peers, is called pervasive developmental order (PDD). Many psychologists consider PDD as a condition under ASD.

In such case, the best advice is to seek help of professionals. Some of the recommended treatments include behavioral therapy, expert’s consultancy, and medication. Here is a list of social development activities for toddlers and other age groups.


Speech and Language Development

The third milestone out of the 5 domains of child development is “speech and language development” that also begins at an early stage.  At this stage, the child starts to make sense of language, understands others, and begins using language.

There is also a difference between the concepts of speech and language:

  • Speech: It is a verbal expression of language, when your child tries to speak different words and try to form sentences.
  • Language: It is more complex than speech, as it includes the understanding of an entire system of language and how to process information in a meaningful way. This includes verbal, nonverbal, and written language skills of a child.

The examples include when your kid says his first word, that could be when he is 8 months old or after the first year. Similarly, when two years old child tells you about the body parts, when a school going child begins to differentiate between singular and plurals, and when the child writes his name.

Why is it important to Develop Speech and Language Skills?

Our communication skills play a key role in our successful adult life, career growth, and personal development. Any issue with early development of speech and language skills can have adverse effects on a child’s mental health and future growth.

Failure to communicate with adults and peers, can put pressure on the child, and can create stress, which also affects the  development of cognitive skills.

The clearer the child in his speech, and language, the better the world understands your child, and he understands the world, helping him learn quickly and efficiently.

Ways to Help to to Develop Speech and Language Skills Better?

As a parent, you can take few steps that can encourage the development of speech and language skills in your child.

  • Read to them daily from an early age. Make time and read.
  • Listen to your child when he tries to tell you something. Don’t discourage them even when you are busy.
  • Make storytelling a daily activity.
  • Engage your child in conversations that interest her.
  • Talk about daily activity, friends, and the things she looks forward to.

What to Do When Child Speech and Language Skills Are Not Developing In Time?

There are few signs that tell you that your child is missing the age-appropriate speech and language milestones. For example, if your 12 months old child is not using gestures, like waving and pointing at things, it indicates a delay.

By the age of 2 years, the child should produce few phrases and words spontaneously. By the age of three, a parent must understand almost 90% of the child’s conversation, and at the age of four, other people can also understand the child completely.

If this is not happening with your child, it is time to add some practices and actions into your routine to help your child with language and speech development.

  • It is best to spend more and more time communicating with your child, if you don’t have time, hire a speech therapist, especially if you are unable to understand your child even after three years of age.

Here is a list of some other activities you can do to develop speech and language skills.


Fine Motor Skills Development

The fourth important milestone is fine motor skills development. This milestone includes small muscle movement, and physical activity of the child.

When a child starts using his hands, fingers, and his feet to achieve the things he wants, like picking up  a pencil, or to reach from the bedroom to the living room, he is developing fine motor skills.

Some examples are when the child starts holding a spoon, turn pages in the book, catch the ball, or hold a pencil and draw something on paper.

Here is another example to understand how fine motor skills develop with age. When you throw a ball towards a two year old from a distance, he can’t catch the ball. But when you throw the ball towards the 6-7 years old, chances are he will catch the ball. This is because he has developed fine motor skills along with cognitive skills.

His brain can now process the speed of the ball, the distance between the ball and his hands, and his hands and body can move accordingly to catch the ball.

Why is it Important to Develop Fine Motor Skills?

In time development of fine motor skills help children complete important tasks, like picking up things, self feeding, writing, buttoning, etc. It is also important for the strength of muscles, and bones of the child. By developing fine motor skills, the child is actually developing dexterity and strength.

Ways to Help to Enhance Your Child’s Fine Motor Skills Development?

The best way to enhance the development of fine motor skills in your child is to introduce toys. This skill is developed through experience and exposure.

For an infant, introduce tummy time, to allow her to do pushups, and to shift to the side, and swipe at objects, when on her back and when on her tummy. Also allow her to use fingers with food, to finger feed, as it will help her develop pincer grip.

It is recommended to introduce large blocks to the one to two year old kid. At this age, he should start building a tower of three blocks.

For children who are 3 years or older, introduce clay toys or play doughs and let the manipulate with clay. Also introduce crayons, and pencils at this age, and encourage coloring and copying basic shapes. At the age of 5, introduce the use of safe scissors.

By the age of 8, your child must demonstrate all fine motor skills milestones, including handwriting without any assistance.

What to Do When There is a Delay in Development of Fine Motor Skills?

Delay in the development of fine motor skills is serious issue as it affects hand-eye coordination, and makes your child clumsy. The delay also makes it difficult for the child to do activities at school, as he may find it difficult to do activities with hand, like holding a pencil, writing, coloring, and playing with blocks.

The best way to develop fine motor skills in children to make them exercise and practice more. Add fine motor exercise to your daily routine, buy toys that develop fine motor skills. Simply put, the simple solution is to practice fine motor skills with your kids daily, several times a day.

Here is a complete list of activities for fine motor skills for all age groups.



Gross Motor Skill Development

The last milestone of the child development stages is gross motor skill development. In this stage, the child learns to use his large muscles to do things.

When your child uses his muscles to learn to sit for the first time, he is developing gross motor skills. Other examples include when he learns to stand on his feet, when he walks, when he jumps,  and when he pulls heavy stuff.

The gross motor skills are normally divided into three categories.

  • Locomtor Activity: This includes movement, like walking, running, jumping, climbing, hopping, and skipping.
  • Non Locomotor Activity: This also includes movement, but in a stationary position. For example, pulling, pushing, falling, sitting, standing, bending, twisting, and falling.
  • Manipulative Skills: This includes manipulating things like toys, and other objects. For example, throwing a ball, building something large with blocks, kicking and catching, etc.

Why is it Important to Develp Gorss Motor Skills?

It is important because our children can’t perform everyday’s functions without developing gross motor skills. Our children can’t run, walk, play, climb, and do physical activities. If you want to make sure that your child lives a healthy and an active life, you need to make sure that he is reaching the gross motor skills milestones at a right time.

Ways to Help to Improve Gross Motor Skills and What to Do When there is Delay?

There are many ways to improve the development of gross motor skills in your children.

  • Play games with your kid that involve physical activities. It is about letting your child know what his body is capable of.
  • A good exercise is to let your child chase the bubbles and pop as many as he can. This is a fun way to push your child to move his muscles.
  • Visit playground frequently, and encourage your child to climb ladder, and swing. Swinging is a great way to teach children how to keep body balance. Visit playgrounds with obstacle course and let your child finish the course. You can also create your own obstacle course at home with pillows, blankets, and other furniture.
  • Encourage your kids to dance.



Development of Skills According to Age Group

Our children develop different skills and go through different developmental stages at different age. We have listed all important age milestones and what are the age-appropriate skills for each age group.

Up to First 6 Weeks

During the first 6 weeks, the child mostly goes through the cognitive development. The child focuses more on the exploration of fundamental senses and their surroundings. He begins to think, to reason out the things around him.

The child also goes through the sensorimotor stage of cognitive development from birth to 2 years of age. This stage indicates the phase when the child learns about the world through the senses and manipulation of objects.

Up to the age of 6 weeks, your child will be able to:

Cognitive Development Skills

  • Start noticing and responding to louder sounds, such a phone ring, etc.
  • Start following the movement of light.
  • Begin focusing on objects up to a distance of 1 ft.
  • Attend towards aural stimuli.
  • Keep noticing everything in their surroundings.
  • Start identifying their parents as they favor their parents’ faces over others.
  • Try to touch hanging objects.
  • Try and identify people and objects far away.
  • If not adequately enthused, they tend to get bored and frilly.
  • Start observing intricate shapes and designs.

Social and Emotional Development

  • Learns establishing eye contact
  • Smiles in response to play

Fine Motor Skills

  • When your child tries to grasp on reflexes


From 1-1/2 to 3 Months

During the age of 1.5 to 3 months, the senses of the child become stronger than before and they begin to comprehend their surroundings a bit better. They still are going through a cognitive development stage.

Upon reaching this age, your child will:

Cognitive Development Skills

  • Start distinguishing between briny, tangy, and bitter tastes.
  • Identify the alterations between volume and frequency.
  • Perceive all the colors visible to human eyes.
  • Interact with their surroundings through facial expressions.
  • Start showing intuitive expressions, such as sucking on seeing a feeding bottle or nipple.

Social and Emotional Development

  • Laughs in response to play

Fine Motor Skills

  • Try to reach out to objects (ineffective though)
  • Grasp things voluntarily
  • 2 handed Palmar grasp


From 3 to 6 Months

At this stage, the child is still going through the cognitive development stage. The sensory capabilities continue to grow during this time period. Infants also tend to develop perceptible abilities between the age of 3 and 6 months.

During this age bracket, your child must:

  • Identifies known people with their faces.
  • Identifies and responds to acquaint sounds.
  • Starts mimicking facial expressions.
  • Begins reacting to the expressions of people around them.

Social and Emotional Development

  • Claps when encouraged

Fine Motor Skills

  • Palmar grip with one hand
  • Reach with better control

Gross Motor Skills

  • Can sit with support
  • Rolls over from front to back and vise versa



From 6 to 9 Months

At this point, your child’s creative thinking starts developing. According to researchers, your child should start showing below-mentioned signs during this period.

  • Identify and distinguish between living and non-living things.
  • Try to comprehend the distance of an object through its dimensions.
  • Stare at things that seem impossible to them, such as a toy dangling above their crib.
  • Try to distinguish between varying quantities of objects.

Social and Emotional Development

  • Identifies parents and lift arms towards them
  • Tries to imitate adult’s actions
  • Responds to facial expressions

Fine Motor Skills

  • Reaches the objects, grasps them, and put them in the mouth
  • Picking and releasing objects with control

Gross Motor Skills

  • Crawls forward
  • Sits without support
  • Tries to pull herself to stand


From 9 to 12 Months

Children tend to get more physically skilled during this time. This enables them to discover everything in their surroundings in a deeper way. It also helps them perceive things in a different way than before.

As your child enters this specific age bracket, the areas of development that your child shows must include:

  • Comprehending the idea of object longevity, such as, they know their pacifier must be somewhere around if not in their crib.
  • Showing interest in pictorial demonstrations, such as books or cartoons.
  • Mimicking motions and a few fundamental actions.
  • Reacting to the surroundings using signs and sounds.
  • Fiddling with objects by touching them, putting them upside down, and mingling them with one another.

 Social and Emotional Development

  • Plays with dolls and deal with the doll as a baby

Fine Motor Skills

  • Pincer grasp that uses one finger and thumb
  • Plays with toys, picks them up
  • Starts transferring objects from one hand to another

Gross Motor Skills

  • Can walk with the support
  • Some kids can also take 2 to 3 steps when 1 year old without support



From 1 Year to 2 Years

At this age, your child should:

  • Begin comprehending the difference between first and second person.
  • Recognize things that are familiar to them.
  • Start highlighting known things and people in pictorial books.
  • Try to mimic the movements and language of others.
  • Start exploring stuff new to them.
  • Start comprehending words and responding meaningfully.

Social and Emotional Development

  • Identifies herself in the mirror
  • Tries to find hidden or lost objects/toys
  • Starts role playing when playing with peers or toys
  • Pretending actions while playing like eating, drinking, sleeping

Fine Motor Skills

  • Start building a tower with large blocks (two to four blocks)
  • Start turning pages of the book and knobs.
  • Holds the cup and begins drinking independently
  • Start self-feed with a limited assistance

Gross Motor Skills

  • Can sit, crawl, and walk
  • Can run by the age of 2 years
  • Kicks the ball


From 2 to 3 Years

The child cognitive development gets faster during this phase, while he also goes through social and emotional development as well as start to develop language and speech skills.

At this age, the cognitive development stage changes from the sensorimotor stage to preoperational stage, that continues from 2 years to 7 years of age. This stage indicates the phase in which the child develops memory and imagination. They begin to make sense of the concept of past, present, and future, and understand things symbolically.

From the age of 2 to 3 years, your child should:

Cognitive Development

  • Identify letters and pictures in books and videos.
  • Starts matching things with their relative usage.
  • Starts categorization of objects as per their nature, such as birds, animals, plants, etc.
  • Mimics a bit more complex adult actions, such as pretend play.
  • Develops arrangement skills.
  • Starts understanding and reacting to plain directions.
  • Starts recognizing their own image, in pictures and mirrors.

Social and Emotional Development

  • Starts expressing their feelings, and desires
  • Starts playing with other children
  • Using symbols while playing

Speech and Language Skills

  • Understands many words that are about familiar objects and people
  • Starts speaking sentences with two to four words
  • According to experts, by 3 years of age, an average child has a vocabulary of 200 words
  • Starts asking questions and tries to repeat things she hear
  • Starts using basic pronouns like you and me and begin using few plurals

Fine Motor Skills

  • Starts eating without any assistance
  • Holds crayon with the fingers and thumb
  • Starts using hands for most activities
  • Starts painting with crayons

Gross Motor Skills

  • Starts walking without support, learns to jump
  • Starts carrying toys and pulling them
  • Tries to catch the ball, plays with balls, throws them around
  • Climbs furniture


From 3 to 5 Years

Children from 3 to 5 years of age starts developing many physical, cognitive, speech, language, and many social and emotional skills.

At this age, your child should be able to:

Cognitive Skills Development

  • Becomes more curious and try to find answers to everything.
  • Understands the difference between the past and the current
  • Starts organizing things according to their dimensions and shapes.
  • Starts asking too many questions.
  • Begins rhyming and counting up to 5 or higher.
  • Starts showing lengthier periods of attention that can last up to 15 minutes.
  • Shows an increase in observation power, which aids in enhanced learning.
  • Starts collecting and matching objects on the basis of their colors.
  • Shows interest in playing with friends.
  • Starts understanding the significance of sharing.

Social and Emotional Development

  • Starts playing with dolls and treats them as alive
  • Takes turns while playing with other children
  • Starts playing in a group with shared aim
  • Talks more frequently about their feelings, feels shame when caught doing something wrong
  • Includes imagination into play
  • Follows the games with simple rules like hide and seek

Speech and Language Skills

  • Starts following basic rules of grammar (starts wit mistakes at 3 years of age and gets perfect by 5)
  • Strangers can understand what they are saying
  • Starts conversing in sentences with more than 5 words. Use multiple sentences to explain things.
  • Starts questioning, why, what, when, where, etc.
  • Singing songs that might sound silly (at 4-5)
  • Starts following simple instructions
  • Asking about the definition of words they don’t understand
  • At 5, they start negotiating, arguing, and try to reason with others
  • At 5, they also start comparing things and talk about opposites and similarities

Fine Motor Skills

  • Starts building towers of more than 5 smaller blocks
  • Can draw a circle and copies other shapes
  • Starts manipulating clay materials
  • Starts snipping paper with scissors
  • Writes numbers from 1 to 5

Gross Motor Skills

  • Can jump, hop, walk, run, and stand on one foot
  • Climb stairs and walk backwards
  • Can catch a bigger ball, a cushion, and can throw small balls in a specific direction
  • Starts pedaling a tricycle at 3, and starts steering by 4 or 5
  • Show more control over movement
  • Climb playground ladders
  • Can Jump ropes, hop on one foot


From 5 to 7 Years

Your 5-7 year old should be able to:

  • Start sketching human figures.
  • Become highly inquisitive and nosy about learning how everything around them works.
  • Start showing interest in reading and writing.
  • Start expressing their feelings in a more clear way.
  • Become more social and expand their friends
  • Mimic activities of their elders.
  • Have a better sense of their own selves, such as, their address, their parents’ occupation, their siblings, etc.

Social and Emotional Development

  • Develops negotiating skills with parents and when playing with peers
  • Becomes part of more complex and organized games
  • Creating their own rules for own games
  • Doesn’t like losing when playing in group

Fine Motor Skills

  • Starts cutting out simple shapes with scissors
  • Draws basic pictures
  • Colors within the lines
  • Starts using three fingers and demonstrates contol use of pencil for writing
  • Can paste paper with glue
  • Ties shoelaces on his own (7 years)


Middle School

At this stage, the child experiences a transition of the cognitive development stage from preoperational to concrete operational stage, that starts from an age of 7 and continues till 11 years of age.

In this stage, the child gets more awareness of the external events and other’s feelings. At this stage, they begin to understand that humans are different in their thoughts, feelings, and beliefs.

The rational thinking also gets a boost during this age. Upon reaching middle school, your child must be able to:

Cognitive Skills Development

  • Start remembering information effortlessly.
  • Begin to comprehend the notions of power and control.
  • Stop accepting everything that’s thrown their way and question its legitimacy.
  • Start developing personal opinions about the world and everything else surrounding them.
  • Show interest in saving up and making money.
  • Start taking a flexible approach towards everything.
  • Begin considering and worrying about things at a bigger level, like political impacts, global warming, etc.

Social and Emotional Development

  • Starts understanding others feelings
  • Becomes more self-aware
  • Shows self confidence
  • Understands the concept of rules and consequences

Fine Motor Skills

  • Demonstrates efficient and controlled handwriting
  • At this age, the child must develop all fine motor skills

When the child reaches middle school, he has developed speech, language, and gross motor skills. He can now understand others, speaks fluently, has vast vocabulary, and plays all types of physical games ad takes part in all physical activities.



The 4th cognitive stage begins at age 11 and continues throughout the teen years. This stage is called a formal operational stage. At this stage, children begin understanding the logic, and start solving complex problems based on critical thinking.

During the teen years, children begin to think more sensibly. They start to show a clear sense of direction regarding their lives.

Your teen child must be able to:

  • Start thinking more rationally and practically, such as relating and equating various situations.
  • Show an upsurge in their reasoning and identifying the difference between what could be true and what could be a fallacy.
  • Begin to comprehend that their actions will bring about results, either good or bad.
  • Start taking their future more seriously and begin to have clear objectives in their minds.
  • Show an increase in their decision-making
  • Starts to clearly understand the concepts of right and wrong.
  • Starts to plan for the future.

By the teenage years, the child has developed all major skills, that include speech and language, social and emotional skills, fine motor skills, and gross motor skills.


The child development milestones depend on each other, and the child must learn one skill before moving to another. Delay in learning one skill can cause further delay in learning other skills.

This is why it is important to help your child when you see he lacks age-appropriate skills. But also keep in mind, every child reaches different milestones at his own pace, while each has his own strengths and weaknesses as well. For example, a child may be physically very active with perfect fine motor skills, but remains weak in speech and language development.

This is why, don’t put pressure or force your kids to learn a skill, but provide them learning environment, and encourage them. Perfect and in-time development of skills helps boost self esteem and confidence in your child.

Limit the use of screen time for young children, and introduce more toys that encourage physical activity, critical thinking skills, and improves fine motor skills. For example, building blocks. All in all, there are many toys and other modern accessories that are designed to develop specific developmental skills in your child. Identify the stages your child is going through, his needs, where he lacks and needs help, and get the toys that can help the child with that particular skill.

There are lots of excellent toys and modern accessories available, why not make full use of them?



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