Social development milestones in Early Childhood
Cognitive milestones represent important steps forward in a child's development. Throughout human history, babies were often thought of as simple, passive beings. Prior to the 20th-century, children were often seen simply as miniature versions of adults. It wasn't until psychologists like Jean Piaget proposed that children actually think differently that adults do that people began to view childhood and adolescence as a unique period of growth and development.
Adults often dismissed the remarkable intellectual skills of infants and very young children, but modern thinkers and researchers have discovered that babies are in fact always learning, thinking and exploring the world around them.
Even newborn infants are actively taking in information and learning new things. In addition to gathering new information about the people around and world around them, babies are also constantly discovering new things about themselves.
From Birth to 3 Months
The first three months of a child's life are a time of wonder. Major developmental milestones at this age are centered on exploring the basic senses and learning more about the body and the environment. During this period, most infants begin to:
- See objects more clearly within a distance of 13 inches
- Focus on moving objects, including the faces of caregivers
- Tell between sweet, salty, bitter and sour tastes
- Detect differences in pitch and volume
- See all colors in the human visual spectrum
- Respond to their environment with facial expressions
From 3 to 6 MonthsIn early infancy, perceptual abilities are still developing. From the age of three to six months, infants begin to develop a stronger sense of perception. At this age, most babies begin to:
- Recognize familiar faces
- Respond to the facial expressions of other people
- Recognize and react to familiar sounds
- Begin to imitate facial expressions
From 6 to 9 Months
Looking inside the mind of an infant is no easy task. After all, researchers cannot just ask a baby what he or she is thinking at any given moment. To learn more about the mental processes of infants, researchers have come up with a number of creative tasks that reveal the inner workings of the baby brain. From the age of six to nine months, researchers have found that most infants begin to:
- Understand the differences between animate and inanimate objects
- Tell the differences between pictures depicting different numbers of objects
- Utilize the relative size of an object to determine how far away it is
- Gaze longer at "impossible" things, such as an object suspended in midair
From 9 to 12 Months
As infants become more physically adept, they are able to explore the world around them in greater depth. Sitting up, crawling, and walking are just a few of the physical milestones that allow babies to gain a greater mental understanding of the world around them. As they approach one year of age, most infants are able to:
- Imitate gestures and some basic actions
- Respond with gestures and sounds
- Like looking at picture books
- Manipulate objects by turning them over, trying to put one object into another, etc.
From 1 Year to 2 Years
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