How YOU Can Support Your Child’s Development

June 14, 2018
Health and Mental Care
Family Support

Age 0 – 6 Months
What You Can Expect of Your Child
• Makes gurgling, babbling, cooing sounds
• Responds to voices
• Enjoys interacting with others
• Smiles in response to a smile from others
• Reacts to emotions of others
• Responds to own name
• Explores with hands and mouth
• Supports own head for more than a moment
• Rolls from stomach to back and back to stomach
• Uses gestures and expressions to communicate wants and needs
What You Can Do to Support Development
• Hug your baby often to help her feel loved and safe
• Talk or sing to your baby while doing everyday things like dressing, bathing, feeding and playing
• Talk face-to-face and use her name often
• Play on the floor with her
• Read books to her every day
• Make sure that other caregivers form loving and comforting relationships with your child
• Make scheduled wellness baby visits to your baby’s doctor and make sure she has all of her shots

Age 6 – 12 Months
What You Can Expect of Your Child

• Prefers mother or regular caregiver to all others
• Shy with strangers; cries when parent leaves
• Responds to simple verbal requests
• Looks at correct picture when the image is named
• Understands names of objects
• Imitates gestures; tries to imitate words
• Uses single words or gestures
• Repeats sounds or gestures for attention
• Finds objects easily hidden while they watch
• Creeps on hands and knees
• Walks holding furniture or independently
• Feeds self with fingers
What You Can Do to Support Development
• Continue to hold your baby often and talk to him about everyday activities
• Read books to your baby every day
• Encourage him to imitate gestures by playing games like peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake
• Point out names of things in picture books and ask him to point to them
• Provide a safe place for him to crawl
• Introduce him to other children and adults
• Continue doctor visits and shots

Age 12 – 24 Months
What You Can Expect of Your Child

• Begins to show defiant behavior
• Shows more independence but has periods of separation anxiety
• Begins make-believe play
• Recognizes names of familiar people, objects and body parts
• Uses 2 – 3 words and gestures to communicate
• Says several single words by 15 months; uses two to four word sentences by age 2
• Seeks out and enjoys company of other children
• Climbs onto and down from furniture unassisted
• Begins to run
What You Can Do to Support Development
• Use words to describe objects and people
• Respond to and initiate your child’s pretend play
• Help your child use words to describe emotions and express feelings
• Find time for your child to interact with other children in safe, supervised settings
• Try to have family meals, naps and bedtime at the same time every day
• Continue shots and health checkups
• Keep holding and hugging your child and read with your child every day

Age 2 – 3 Years
What You Can Expect of Your Child

• Expresses affection openly
• Separates easily from parents
• Makes mechanical toys work
• Identifies common objects and pictures
• Can be mostly understood by a stranger
• Combines several words together to express thoughts, feelings and wants
• Can take short turns in simple games
• Understands the meaning of “mine” and “his/hers”
• Walks up and down stairs alternating feet
• Pedals tricycle
• Turns book pages one at a time
• Holds a pencil in writing position
What You Can Do to Support Development
• Read with her every day
• Read books and magazines in front of her so she sees that you
value reading
• Give your child lots of writing and coloring materials (crayons, pencils, paper, etc.)
• Listen to her and answer her questions
• Give her riding toys, building toys and a climbing structure in a safe and supervised setting
• Make sure she has time to play with other children and supervise her play to help her learn to take turns and cooperate
• Continue shots and health checkups, including dental visits
• Hug your child often and talk about everyday people, places and things

Age 4 – 5 Years
What You Can Expect of Your Child

• Sometimes demanding, sometimes eagerly cooperative
• Wants to be like her friends
• Agrees to rules and wants others to follow rules
• Can count 10 or more objects and name four colors
• Recalls part of a story
• Speaks sentences of more than five words
• Stands on one foot for 10 seconds or longer
• Hops, somersaults
• Prints some letters
• Dresses and undresses without assistance
• Uses fork, spoon, and sometimes a knife
What You Can Do to Support Development
• Continue to hug your child often and read together every day
• Have longer conversations with him; use words that match his growing vocabulary
• Set and enforce limits and explain why there are rules
• Provide different kinds of toys, materials, and games that spark creativity
• Provide plenty of opportunities for your child to play with other children in safe, supervised settings
• Provide safe space where he can run, jump and exercise with adult supervision
• Continue shots and health checkups, including dental visits

Age 6 – 8 Years
What You Can Expect of Your Child

• Friends become more important; want to be liked by other children
• Growth rate slows and can be uneven
• Better understanding of right and wrong; developing conscience
• Small muscle development increases coordination; better able to tie own shoes, use writing materials, play musical instruments and use eating utensils
• Learning to read and write
• Understand and concerned about how others feel
• Increasing vocabulary and use of language
• Enjoys fantasy play and make-believe
What You Can Do to Support Development
• Continue to hug your child and compliment her for doing things well
• Be sure she has access to books; continue to read together
• Provide writing materials, art supplies, and music; share her enthusiasm for creative interests
• Give her more responsibility; ask for help with simple household chores and be sure she follows through
• Provide opportunities to experience a variety of physical activities that help develop large muscles – running, riding a bike, dancing or playing sports
• Talk to her about things she likes and what she does
• Continue regular health and dental checkups

Age 9 – 11 Years
What You Can Expect of Your Child

• Friends are very important; often join clubs or form groups of best friends with similar interests
• Experience peer pressure; interested in conforming or belonging
• Able to read and write; interest in fantasy stories and fiction
• Body is maturing physically; girls maturing more quickly than boys
• Develop special interests in hobbies, sports, creative activities
• Language becomes more adult-like
• Wants more independence from family; tests limits and rules
What You Can Do to Support Development
• Continue to show affection for your child and talk about his interests and activities
• Give him more complex responsibilities that require follow through; reward a job completed well
• Encourage him to join groups and clubs that offer opportunities to practice skills or explore new interests
• Take an interest in his friends and get to know their families
• Make your expectations clear and, when discipline is necessary, be consistent and fair
• Provide for quiet time and space for homework or just being alone
• Continue regular health and dental checkups 


Compiled by Success by 6 Hamilton County from resources including the American
Academy of Pediatrics and local early childhood professionals.

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