Normative Development in a Child

During the first five years of a child's life, the brain grows at a pace that exceeds any other stage of development, according to an article published by the Child Development Institute, of Orange, CA, a parent-help organization run by medical and mental health professionals, and whose recommendations include the American Psychological Association 1. Middle childhood consists of the years from ages 6 through 12. During this time, children expand their world outside the family to include coaches, teachers and friends. Keep in mind that all children grow and change at their own pace. Any concerns you have about your child's development should be directed to your child's doctor.

The First 6 Months

During the first month of life, babies eat 8 to 12 times per day and sleep approximately 20 hours. They are helpless and cry a great deal. From 2 to 6 months of age, babies begin to coo, grunt and babble vowels and consonants. Babies begin to fixate visually on a face and begin to smile at about 2 and 3 months of age. Babies begin to develop control of their head and arm movements, which enable them to grasp objects and to roll over at about 4 to 6 months of age. Babies this age also recognize their mothers, and begin to expect the routine of bathing, dressing and feeding.

7 to 12 Months

Seven- to 9-month-old babies can generally control their trunks and hands, and can begin to crawl and sit without support. Babies this age enjoy playing peek-a-boo, are well attached to their mothers and dislike separation from her. Ten- to 12-month- old babies have control over their feet and legs, and they may pull themselves to a standing position and try to walk about. Babies this age respond to simple requests and are all about exploration, according to the Child Development Institute 1. They may fear strangers, understand what the word "no" means and wave goodbye.

1 to 2 Years

Between 12 and 18 months of age, babies will walk and feed themselves. Babies this age exhibit dependent behavior and may cling excessively, at times. They may fear taking a bath and may become extremely upset when separated from their mothers. They will obey limited limited commands, and will enjoy watching themselves in the mirror. Between 18 and 24 months, babies learn to build a small tower, and can run and can kick a ball. They may have the ability to master elimination, although potty training may occur later on, depending on emotional and physical readiness. If there is an addition to the family, babies this age may resent a new sibling. Children this age generally do the opposite of what they are told. At about 30 months, children may exhibit intense anger and frustration, which is known as negativism. On a positive note, a budding sense of humor may emerge.

3 to 5 Years

At 3 years of age, children continue to play along side their peers in what is known as parallel play. Children this age may be dependent and may refuse to share their toys. They may resist parental demands, and they may become the "boss" by giving orders and insist on doing things a certain way, according to Child Development Institute 1. Between 3 and 4 years of age, children are able to stand on one leg, can draw a circle, and they can also jump up and down. They will be affectionate toward their parents, and are able to complete a routine at home. Children this age enjoy sharing and cooperative play. Between the ages of 4 and 5, they will learn to skip, dress themselves, speak clearly, and they will know more than 2,000 words. Children this age take pride in their accomplishments and prefer to play with others.

6 to 12 Years

Middle childhood is a time when children prepare for adolescence, according to Karen DeBord, Ph.D., a child development specialist with North Carolina State University. Because children develop at different rates, some children appear immature for their age, whereas others appear very mature. Moods vary according to experiences with their peers, their perception of what happened during the day and how they feel in general. Children may begin to talk back and rebel to test limits with the adults in their lives, particularly with their parents. Children this age form inner control and generally average five best friends, which can change daily, They also count among their acquaintances or their circle one enemy, according to DeBord. Children this age develop problem-solving skills and develop a more thorough understanding of their actions, behaviors and consequences.

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