21 May, 2024

Weekly Topics: Child Development

9 mins read

Family Place™ Libraries acknowledge the role of parents and other caregivers as a child’s first true teacher, providing them with the information they need to be the best teacher they can be. By providing a dedicated Parenting Collection and an extensive collection of children’s materials that families can explore, our libraries help your child get an early start gaining important literacy skills. 

Child Development 

Child development is the process of how a child grows emotionally, socially, linguistically, cognitively and physically. The ultimate goal of a child’s development is to foster independence. In addition to genetic traits, the events and experiences that a young child has greatly influence the child’s rate of development. As parents and caregivers, you spend a great deal of time with your child and interact with him or her frequently. The way you talk and play with your child is important. Family Place™ Libraries help adults enhance their child’s development by providing programs that encourage play, creativity and social interactions and equipping caregivers with educational resources for additional learning. 

Click here for some common questions and answers about child development. 

Because parents and other caregivers often have questions or concerns about their child’s rate of development or specific aspects of development, we are providing a list of developmental milestones that you can expect your child to achieve as he or she grows. These milestones signal adequate child developmental responses in how your child plays, learns, speaks, acts and moves. 

For more information, check out this resource

Infants: Birth to One Year 

Your baby will grow and develop rapidly during his or her first year. Because of this, many child development milestones are grouped by months rather than years. 

By Two Months
Social and Emotional DevelopmentLanguage Development Cognitive Development Physical Development 
May smile Coos or makes verbal sounds Begins to follow moving objects with eyes Arm and leg movements are more controlled and smoother 
Tries to see people Turns head toward voices or sounds Interested in faces Can lift head when placed on stomach 
May put hand in mouth May show signs of boredom by fussing 

By Four Months
Social and Emotional DevelopmentLanguage Development Cognitive Development Physical Development 
Smiles at people BabblesExpresses sadness or happiness Holds head up 
Likes to play with people and may fuss when playtime ends May copy sounds Reaches for a toy or object May roll from stomach to back 
Copies facial expressions Has different cries for hunger, pain and sleepiness Eyes follow a moving object Brings hand up to mouth 
Recognizes some people May grab a toy or swat at a hanging toy 

By Six Months
Social and Emotional DevelopmentLanguage Development Cognitive Development Physical Development 
Shows happiness Reacts to his or her name Puts things in mouth Can roll from stomach to back and back to stomach 
Responds to other people’s feelings Makes sounds of happiness or irritation Look at and studies things in close proximity Starts to sit up unsupported 
Likes to look at the baby in the mirror May make sounds in response to other sounds May pass objects from one hand to the other hand May bounce on legs when in a standing position 
Likes to play May babble with repetitive sounds beginning with consonants 

By Nine Months
Social and Emotional DevelopmentLanguage Development Cognitive Development Physical Development 
Knows and prefers familiar people and may hold on to themUnderstands what “no” means Places things in mouth frequently Can sit upright and remain sitting without support 
May be wary of strangers Can point to objects with one finger Can pick up small items using index finger and thumb Can crawl 
Has favorite toys or objects Can babble Can play peek-a-boo Can pull self up into a standing position 
Will imitate sounds and motions others make Eyes follow an item when it falls Can stand while holding on to something 

Toddlers: One to Three Years
By One Year
Social and Emotional DevelopmentLanguage Development Cognitive Development Physical Development 
May still be wary of strangers Can wave goodbye and shake head to say “no” Studies objects by shaking, banging, poking or throwing them Pulls up to a standing position alone 
Favors familiar people and may cry when they leave Can say simple words like “mama” and “dada” Understands peek-a-boo and can find a hidden object Can walk while holding on to something 
Makes certain sounds or motions to get your attention Tries to repeat words Starts to use common items like a cup, spoon, hairbrush and more May stand without holding on to something 
Can make intentions known by handing you an object Tone changes when babbling Copies certain simple gestures like clapping, waving and nodding May take first steps independently 
May assist with dressing by putting out an arm or leg May like to put things into a container and take them out repeatedly 
Can follow simple directions 

By Two Years
Social and Emotional DevelopmentLanguage Development Cognitive Development Physical Development 
Is becoming more independent Points to things, including those in a book Can build with blocks Can walk up and down steps while holding on to something 
May show excitement when around other children Can follow simple instructions Can follow directions containing two steps Starts to run 
Makes certain sounds or motions Repeats words or phrases May favor the use of one hand Can climb on and off furniture independently 
Mostly plays next to another child but may begin to play with him or her Knows some body parts by name May begin to sort objects by colors or shapes Can kick a ball 
Imitates others Can speak in sentences containing a few words Can name pictured items in a book Can throw overhand 
May show defiance 

Preschoolers: Three to Five Years
By Three Years
Social and Emotional DevelopmentLanguage Development Cognitive Development Physical Development 
Imitates affection Can say many familiar words Manipulates toys and items with buttons, levers, switches and such Runs very well 
Displays emotions Knows first name, age and sex  Uses imagination and pretends Walks up and down steps using just one foot on each step 
Shows concern for sad people Can carry on a simple conversation Makes simple puzzles Can pedal a tricycle or riding toy 
Can dress and undress Sentences are understood by most people Tries to draw or write Is good at climbing 
Knows how to take turns Can understand directional words like in, on, under and near Can turn the pages in a book one at a time 
Copies or imitates others 

By Four Years
Social and Emotional DevelopmentLanguage Development Cognitive Development Physical Development 
Uses imagination to pretend or make-believe Speaks in sentences that will gradually become more complex Can name some colors, shapes, numbers and letters Can stand and hop on one foot for a short period of time 
May have an imaginary friend Can recite some songs or poems by memory Remembers parts of stories and can make predictions Can sometimes catch a bouncing ball 
Enjoys new experiences Strangers can understand almost every word spoken Can write some letters and numbers Can pour a drink and cut food with supervision 
Shares likes and dislikes Can tell a story Has a basic understanding of time 
Prefers playing with others Can play board games 
CooperatesKnows what same and different mean 

By Five Years
Social and Emotional DevelopmentLanguage Development Cognitive Development Physical Development 
Likes to please others, especially friends Speaks in complete, complex sentences and is easily understood Can draw people Can throw, catch and kick a ball 
Knows the difference between real and imagined Can recite full name and address Can write some letters, numbers and possibly words Has a better sense of balance and can stand on one foot for ten or more seconds 
Generally accepts rules and cooperates Understands how to use the future tense Counts to ten or more May swing, jump, skip and do a somersault 
Is even more independent, but requires supervision Can make up a story using complete sentences May begin to read Uses fine motor skills to write, draw and cut with scissors 

Here are just a few resources for additional information about child development available at the Plano Public Library. 





Other child development resources are available online: 



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