Child Development Stages – A Brief Summary


query-image2When it comes to child development stages, there are no hard and fast rules. Over the years, experts have developed a set of milestones for certain ages. These milestones serve as a rough guide. Generally, there are different stages for different types of development. Physical, intellectual, and social development are the most common. Emotional and moral development is also broken down into stages sometimes as well. Each category covers a lot of ground with different milestones. It is easy to get lost in the amount of information out there about child development stages. I’ll go over the basics here and leave a few links to more drawn out and sophisticated development tracking articles. While useful, it is best to stick to the basics and not get overly wrapped up in each and every possible milestone. Every child progresses differently.

For a summary of the stages of cognitive development in children look here: This article is the summary of Jean Piaget’s studies and covers infant to adult.

For information on language development, we have the following article:

child development stages

2 Months

At this point you are probably not sleeping much. It is still early, but some this is one of the child development stages to take note of. Your living alarm clock may show some of the below milestones:


• This is the point in which baby may start to smile at people.

• It is possible that baby may try to entertain themselves. An example is bringing their hands to their mouth to suck on.

• Tries to look at parent.


• Faces begin to interest baby.

• Can recognize people from further away. May follow items with their eyes.

• Starts to cry and get fussy if bored when activity doesn’t change. (Will probably cry anyway.)


• Arm and leg movement start to look more refined and less random.

• Able to hold head up, may start to push up when on tummy.

4 Months

Two months and many diapers later, sleep is still rare. The following milestones may happen:


• Smiles occasionally, especially at people.

• Likes to play with people, may cry if play stops.

• May copy facial expressions..


• Begins to express happy/sad emotions. Responds to attention.

• May reach for things.

• Hand-eye coordination begins to develop.


• Head is steady held up without support

• Pushes legs down when feet are on a surface.

• Possibly able to roll over tummy to back.

6 months

Now the fun begins. Make sure you start to child-proof your home. Pretty soon the diaper-clad bundle of joy will be all over your precious things.You may start getting more sleep at this point as baby moves into a regular sleeping schedule…maybe.


• Starts to recognize familiar faces and knows if someone is a stranger.

• Likes to look at self in mirror.

• May respond to other people’s emotions, likes to play with people.


• Looks around at nearby things.

• Tries to get things that are out of reach due to curiosity.

• Passes things back and forth between hands.


• Rolls over in both directions.

• May be able to sit without support.

• Rocks back and forth, might crawl backwards before moving forward.

9 Months

You did child proof your home right? At this point in child development stages, your baby may try to start touching anything they can get their hands on. It may be an army crawl, all four crawl, or roll…they will find it. The plus side is that they can easily entertain themselves with all the new things they can get to.


• Stranger anxiety.

• May stick like glue to familiar adults

• Has a favorite toy.


• Plays peek-a-boo.

• Picks up tiny things like cereal between thumb and index finger.

• Looks for things that were hidden.


• May be able to stand supported.

• Crawling, sitting without support.

• Grabs on furniture to pull themselves up.

12 Months

Our last stop on child development stages. If you haven’t child-proofed your home by now, good luck. They are like puppies at this point, just slower…with diapers. The destruction of everything you own begins, and usually ends around age 18 or beyond. I’m kidding, kids are awesome…especially after bedtime.


• Nervous around strangers.

• Cries when parents leave, has favorite things and people.

• Hands you a book for reading, puts out arm or leg to help with dressing.


• Shakes, bangs, or throws things out of curiosity, finds hidden items easily.

• Able to point out the correct object when you name it.

• Starts to use things correctly, such as a brush for hair, and a cup for drinking.


• Uses furniture to cruise.

• May take a few steps without holding on.

• May be able to stand without assistance.

As promised, here are a few links to more lengthy articles about child development stages:

Developmental Milestones Chart for 2-24 months

There is a significant amount of information out there. Don’t get too wrapped up in all the milestones. Child development stages are more of a guide to help parents track progress. If you have concerns, it is best to contact your pediatrician.

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