As your child grows and moves through all the developmental milestones, you’ll notice major changes in the way he or she reasons, thinks and solves problems. These changes are due to cognitive development. Understanding where your child is cognitively at different stages can give you major insight into his or her behavior and how to best relate to your child. Here are some cognitive developmental milestones by age.
0 to 3 months
Babies usually can recognize your voice and turn their heads towards it. They don’t yet understand that they can make things happen. Babies at this stage don’t have object permanence, meaning if they don’t see someone or something, the object or person doesn’t exist to them. Babies at this age are not scared of strangers for this reason.
3 to 6 Months
Babies start understanding that they can make things happen at this age. They also understand that they are separate from the world around them. They can categorize items in their mind, like knowing the difference between a cat and a dog. Babies enjoy seeing reflections at this age. At about 6 months old, babies begin to develop memory recall and recognition. This means that your baby can recognize objects and remember things. 6 month old babies should be able to find partially hidden objects. Children at this stage should also be exploring things with their hands. They will try to get objects that are out of reach.
7 to 9 Months
Babies at this age usually know their own names. They can plan their activities, like crawling towards a favorite toy or investigating a bucket of blocks. They begin to use toys correctly, like mimicking driving with a toy car or cuddling a teddy bear. Babies can mimic well at this age.
9 to 12 months
At this stage, babies may begin to have separation anxiety because they realize that you do continue to exist even when they can’t see you. They begin to better plan their behavior and anticipate what may happen.
12 to 18 Months
Babies at this age are able to more effectively let you know what they need with a mixture of their actions and words. For example, your baby may point to the fridge and say “milk.” Babies’ memory recall is much improved at this age. You may find they imitate things you did as far back as last week.
18 months to 2 years
Young toddlers usually begin to string words together at this age, first two at a time. They can solve simple problems by thinking about them rather than by trial and error. At this stage, children can get frustrated when they’re not effectively able to communicate what they need, which results in tantrums.
2 to 3 years
There is a world of change in toddlers’ thinking during this year. Between the ages of 2 and 3, children develop the ability to group objects based on color, size, shape and other characteristics. They can name and identify objects in pictures. Pretend play is important to their developing cognition. They can imitate adult actions fairly well, like pretending to drive. Children can typically follow instructions with two steps at this stage. They can usually understand numbers and letters, so this is a good time to begin teaching numbers and ABCs. Toddlers enjoy sensory play with clay or bubbles. They also begin to draw and enjoy doing simple arts and craft projects. By the age of 3, your child’s attention span can be up to 15 minutes for an activity. Toddlers ask many “what” and “why” questions to understand the world around them.
At Sparkles! we pay attention to various developmental milestones of all kinds and adapt our curriculum to meet your child’s needs. Have a question? Contact us today. A Sparkles! team member would be happy to help.