Developmental Milestones: Ages 1 - 6

Watching your child grow is one of the most rewarding experiences — and they grow a lot during their first few years of life! Here are a few of the developmental milestones your child will reach by their seventh birthday:

First Year

By the time a child turns 1, they have begun outwardly expressing their emotions through crying or seeking comfort from their parents. One-year-olds can also respond to simple spoken requests and may repeat certain words or sounds. One-year-olds communicate mainly with non-verbal gestures, such as shaking their heads to say “no.” One-year-olds love to explore the world around them, so they love touching everything they can get their hands on. As their motor skills develop, they can more easily grab and hold items. One-year-olds can usually sit up on their own, as well as pull themselves up without assistance and take a few steps.

Second Year

By a child’s second year of life, they have become a lot more independent, and as a result, may become defiant when they do not get their way. Two-year-olds love to imitate others and repeat words or sounds. At this point, children have a wider vocabulary and may be able to speak in short sentences and may know family and friends by name. Two-year-olds can follow simple instructions and show interest in stimulating games and activities. Two-year-olds can walk, run, climb, throw, and kick. Two-year-olds can play matching games and even identify some colors, shapes, and numbers.

Third Year

By 3, a child has become more social and affectionate. A three-year-old doesn’t experience separation anxiety as often as they used to. Three-year-olds display a wider range of emotions and become possessive over their belongings. However, three-year-olds are in the early stages of learning to share and take turns. By three years of age, a child can hold a simple conversation and identify objects, people, or places by name. Three-year-olds can also follow instructions with more than two steps, and play more advanced games that require the use of critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Fourth Year

By four years of age, children can often introduce themselves by name and enjoy playing with other children. At this age, they have taken a liking to imaginative make-believe play. Four-year-olds can often recite their favorite songs from memory or tell stories, remembering specific details. Four-year-olds have become skilled at counting and naming shapes and colors, and identifying similarities and differences between two or more objects. Now that the child has stronger motor skills, they may be able to hop or balance on one foot for a short period of time.

Fifth Year

By the time a child turns 5, they are ready for school. Five-year-olds are searching for belonging and want to be liked by their peers. Five-year-olds are better at following rules and are cooperative most of the time. By 5, children can speak clearly, tell a story using full sentences, and have probably begun writing and drawing. They may also understand new concepts like gender, time, and money. By the time a child turns 5, their balance has improved significantly and they may even be able to skip or do a somersault. Five-year-olds do not require assistance in eating with utensils or using the bathroom.

Sixth Year

By 6, children are beginning to read and write, attempting to sound out unfamiliar words and practicing the alphabet. At six years old, a child may be able to tell time and understand day/night. They have also become good at following directions with several steps. Six-year-olds are continuing to learn how to work and play with others. Their attention span has improved, and they can more easily focus on tasks or schoolwork. Six-year-olds are generally more coordinated, and are better at expressing their emotions. However, there may still be outbursts or tantrums, as they navigate big emotions.

Curious about what developmental milestones you can expect to see after age 6? Stay tuned for our next article “Developmental Milestones: Ages 6 - 12.” Interested in learning more about our daycare and afterschool programs? Contact us today!


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