Brain development

  • can speak in full sentences
  • develops more stable concept of self
  • speaks around 1,000 words
  • 75-80 percent of speech is understandable; talks in complete 3-5 word sentences
  • stumbles over words sometimes
  • asks lots of questions
  • begins to use pronouns in speech
  • grasps some grammatical principles
  • learns their age and to hold up that number of fingers
  • understands, ‘now,’ ‘soon’ and ‘later’
  • asks, who, what, where, when and why
  • loves learning short rhymes and songs
  • listens attentively to short stories
  • may match or identify primary colours
  • can count 2-3 objects
  • enjoys imaginative and imitative play
  • can assume some very simple responsibilities
  • puts toys away with adult help
  • has attention span of no more than a few minutes
  • can choose between alternatives

Inside the Brain

  • ongoing growth of dendrites (neuron branches that transmit messages), myelination (creation of sheath around brain nerve fibres allowing better communication), and creation of synapses (spaces where brain information is transmitted)
  • language explodes
  • episodic memory emerges
  • the corpus callosum (bridge of nervous tissue) connects the two sides of frontal lobes, improving thinking, language and emotional skills

Emotional Development

  • still thinks everyone sees the world according to her point of view
  • becoming more relaxed and flexible
  • is learning to control her anger and frustration but may whine or protest loudly when something is happening that she does not like.
  • may get extremely anxious when separated from you; may cling to you in new situations or when she is with new people
  • accepts suggestions and follows simple directions
  • sometimes shows preference for one parent (often the one of the opposite sex)
  • still cries and hits at times
  • quickly alternates between shyness and exuberance
  • enjoys making others laugh and being silly
  • spends a lot of time watching and observing
  • may show fear of unfamiliar objects or activities
  • may want to be a baby at times
  • will start to play co-operatively with other children more often; may have a special friend
  • enjoys playing with other children briefly, but still does not co-operate or share well
  • knows if he is a boy or she is a girl; will be interested in babies and may talk about wanting to marry the parent of the opposite sex
  • begins to talk about dreams
  • loves secrets and surprises

Social Development

  • quarrels with other children
  • likes to play with a friend and in small groups
  • learning to share and take turns
  • is keenly interested in family activities
  • idolizes parents
  • seeks approval from adults
  • tests limits constantly
  • often prefers to play alone
  • may have an imaginary playmate

Physical Development

  • weight: 11-20 kilograms (25-44 pounds)
  • height: 86-109 cm (34-43 inches)
  • develops a taller, thinner, more adult-like appearance
  • stops taking daytime naps, but needs some "quiet" time during the day.
  • can jump, gallop, tiptoe, run smoothly
  • can walk backwards a long distance
  • can hop on one foot
  • may stumble and fall frequently
  • can ride a tricycle
  • sleeps 10-12 hours a night
  • can pour from a pitcher or milk carton using both hands
  • undresses self, but needs help with dressing
  • buttons and unbuttons large buttons
  • stacks 5-7 blocks
  • puts together a six-piece puzzle
  • draws a circle and a square
  • puts on shoes but cannot tie laces
  • uses crayons with somewhat more control
  • uses toilet with some help
  • feeds self, with some spilling
  • tries to catch large ball
  • kicks a ball forward
  • loves to paste, paint and make things out of scraps
  • most primary teeth have erupted

As every child is unique and there is a wide range of what’s ‘normal’ at every age, it’s important to remember these lists are guidelines only. If you are concerned about your child’s development, see your doctor.

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Sources: AboutKidsHealth, The Hospital for Sick Children, Health A-Z, Developmental Stages, Ontario Ministry of Child and Youth Services, Ontario Early Years Centres: A Place for Parents and Their Children,The Developing Brain: Birth to Age Eight, by Marilee Sprenger, Your Child’s Growing Mind: Brain Development and Learning from Birth to Adolescence, by Jane M. Healy, Ages and Stages, by Lesia Oesterreich, M.S.,extension human development specialist, Human Development and Family Studies, Iowa State University and “Learning from mistakes only happens after age 12, study suggests,” from Science Daily, Sept. 27, 2008.