Children usually progress in a natural, predictable
sequence from one developmental milestone to the next. But each child grows and
gains skills at his or her own pace. Some children may be advanced in one area,
such as language, but behind in another, such as sensory and motor
Milestones usually are grouped into five major areas:
physical growth, cognitive development, emotional and social development,
language development, and sensory and motor development.
Physical growth and development
Most children by age
2.5 in. (6 cm) and gain about
7 lb (3 kg) in a
Start to show a growth pattern related to gender: girls are
starting to get taller and weigh more than boys.
Lose about four
baby teeth each year. These are replaced with permanent teeth.
Thinking and reasoning (cognitive development)
children by age 9:
Know that objects have uses and can be
classified into different categories. For example, they recognize that a carrot
is something to eat and is a type of vegetable.
Can read and
understand longer sentences up to 12 words.
Can add and subtract
2-digit numbers, understand fractions, and are learning how to borrow and carry
Like organization and planning, such as making plans ahead
of time with friends.
Think independently. Most children are
improving their decision-making skills.
Can accomplish increasingly
more complex tasks and projects in school, such as book reports.
Emotional and social development
Most children by
Recognize basic social norms and appropriate
Can control their anger most of the
Have caring, solid friendships.
Have gained a
strong sense of empathy, which is understanding and being sensitive to the
feelings of others.
Have more stable emotions than in the previous
year. Mood swings may still occur, but not as frequently as
Have overcome most fears that were common in earlier
childhood. But they often start having more anxiety from common stressful
situations, such as school performance.
Are curious about
relationships between boys and girls. Few will admit to this interest—most will
insist that they are horrified by the opposite sex.
Most children by age 9:
Read frequently and enjoy
Often read with a goal of learning about something of
Have speech patterns that are nearly at an adult
Sensory and motor development
Most children by age
Enjoy active play, such as bike-riding,
swimming, and running games (such as "tag").
interested in team sports.
Get dressed, brush hair, brush teeth,
and get ready without any help.
Use simple tools, such as a hammer,
Like to draw, paint, make jewelry, build models, or
do other activities that use their fine motor skills.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.