In the first decade of a person's life, there is a tremendous amount of growth as the child develops important physical and mental capabilities. Each individual grows and achieves new milestones at a unique pace but there are some reasonable expectations for specific age groups. In this article, we will describe what to expect from children at every stage of their childhood, from 10 months to 8 years.
Stages from birth and up to 10 months are considered to be the most important in the kids’ development as during this time babies learn how to sit up and roll, they may communicate with gestures and respond to their names. They enjoy mirrors and react to their reflection as well as to the reflections of other people or objects, distinguishing family members from strangers. On the cognitive level, babies are supposed to know how to bring hands up to their mouths, hold items, and pass them from one hand to another, presenting the skill of parallel movement coordination.
As babies approach their first birthday, they make rapid progress in mobility in preparation for learning how to walk. They begin to practice pulling themselves up into a standing position and sitting down after being in a standing position. Some babies at this age can stand next to furniture without holding on, and walk while clinging to a parent’s hand. They also are a lot better at manipulating objects; they can eat with their hands, bang two objects against each other, turn pages of a book and scribble abstract drawings. Playing ball is a lot more enjoyable for them because they can receive and return balls well when playing pass with a parent. The baby picks up some social behaviors too, such as clinging to mom in the presence of strangers, crying at the departure of parents, and reacting emotionally when told “no.” Luckily for the parents, babies will start to sleep through the entire night, being able to sleep up to 12 hours at a time without feeding, though sometimes they may wake up and immediately cry out of fear. If this happens, a parent should come and comfort the child, but never take the baby out of the crib or turn on the light; the baby needs to learn that it’s safe to be alone in the dark. Some social milestones for this stage include: knowing how to call “ma-ma” and “da-da”; imitating animal sounds; pointing to things when asked, “Where is the…?”; and having preferences for people, as well as toys. Children at this age are curious and eager to tap into their abilities; therefore, they require a lot of attention and care.
At 15 months, a baby should be able to walk alone, then start to run. Other developments in mobility and independence include climbing stairs, sitting down, squatting, eating with a spoon (albeit sloppily at first), and sleeping 10 to 12 hours a night without requiring attention from parents. At 18 months, a baby’s lexicon contains around 15 words, but the amount of vocabulary words increases rapidly, and a baby can say over 100 words by age 2. Babies at this age express their imagination and exploration by playing make-believe games, opening drawers to see what’s inside, and putting things in their mouths for sensory development. This age also marks the start of a sense of individuality in the baby, who will now say “no” to commands and act out in temper tantrums more often.
In this year, children lose the appearance of a baby and officially become toddlers. At this age, they acquire more control over movement and coordination: they twist doorknobs and handles, turn pages of a book one by one, help with getting themselves dressed, and gain bowel and bladder control. Their vocabulary contains 200-300 words, and they can say two-word sentences. They understand possession of objects, but not the concept of sharing. At home, they often are negative and say “no” to many things, continuing the tantrum behavior they started at age one. As their walking and running improve, toddlers will have some very big falls, but this is only natural as it helps them master the skill of keeping their balance and walking.
To create a safe space for children’s development within this time frame, it is recommended to toddler-proof the living place and implement predictable routines and rituals in everyday life to help children feel secure, apply gentle discipline to guide them, and boost their vocabularies with new lexicon from songs, fairy tales or talks you have around them.