Ten Characteristics of Early Childhood Development

All parents secretly wonder if their mighty tyke is keeping up with the rest of his peers, but growth and development are two different things when it comes to measuring up. Child development refers to the ability to accomplish more complex tasks as your child gets older. You may hear your pediatrician refer to developmental milestones. These are a group of skills that most children can accomplish during certain age ranges.


This developmental stage for parents of toddlers is often referred to as the “I think I liked it better when she couldn’t walk,” stage. Between the ages of one and two, she will learn to walk: first with help and then standing on tippy toes, running and climbing up on anything higher than she is.

Temper Tantrums

Your toddler’s emotional and social development might consist of temper tantrums in the most inconvenient places. This is her way of expressing independence. You have now entered the world of “The Terrible Twos.”


Intellectually, your toddler becomes aware of her world, pointing at objects that catch her eye, becoming familiar and remembering body parts, as well as family members and pets. Although her memory span is still limited, with help she remembers short rhymes and songs--over and over.


Your toddler becomes proficient at the words “No!”, “Me!”, “Mine!” and “More!” (in reference to hide and seek.) She also becomes very good at babbling and imitating sounds--like the dog or cat. As she progresses, she starts to form two-, three- and four-word sentences.

Toilet Training

Around the ages of two and three, your young lady will be more interested in toilet training. At this stage, the physical meets the psychological and voila!, we have a youngster who is able to tell you she needs to go. She can also control her bodily functions until she gets there and participates (usually) in the process.


From three to five, your child will develop her fine motor movements. Stick people drawings will have more detail and definition. She might even begin writing the alphabet, as well as words and short sentences or phrases (which means she now uses your day book instead of the wall for her masterpieces).

Imaginary Friends

As a preschooler, your daughter’s emotional scope broadens and she plays with others. Imagination and imaginary friends abound. She may boss others around but still take turns. Play acting at being an important person, like a teacher or police officer, is common.


By the time your preschooler finishes the preschool stage, you’ll be missing the good old days of one-word sentences. She can now argue like a Philadelphia lawyer and swear like a dock hand. She is talkative and has no problem telling you exactly what she needs, and probably in what color.


The preschool age is famous for conversations with lots of "how come?" and "why?" “Where does the man-in-the-moon work in the daytime?” and "Where do babies come from?" show an avid curiosity churning around in her mind.


Your daughter is starting to put ideas and concepts into words and enjoys a good joke--even if you don’t get the punch line. She begins to understand numbers, words and time, and may be fond of letting you know "We're late."

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