Developmental Overview: Ages 0-2

Intellectual Development

  • Children at this age learn by exploring with their hands and mouth. They bang, throw, drop, shake, and put items in their mouths.
  • Hiding things will get more difficult when your child starts to look for hidden objects. By 24 months, he can find things hidden under two or three other items.
  • Learning how to use everyday objects is an important development at this age. Kids learn how to use a spoon. They learn to drink from a cup. They learn to comb their hair.
  • By age 2, a child typically will have a vocabulary of 50 words. As she learns to speak, she’ll use two- and three-word sentences, like “More juice,” “Me want cookie,” and “Up, up.”

Physical Development

  • Children will first learn to hold their head up. Little by little, they begin to roll and to sit (usually by six months).
  • Kids learn to creep, then crawl, pull themselves up, walk while holding onto furniture, stand, and then walk two or three steps without assistance (usually by 12 months).
  • At 24 months, children can begin to run, kick a ball, and walk up and down stairs (while holding onto someone’s hand).

Social Development

  • You can expect your child to imitate facial expressions, and even develop a social smile by three months.
  • Talking begins with babbling, which leads to gradually learning to say and respond to simple words and phrases.
  • Toddlers will play in parallel—near another child, but not with that child.

Emotional Development

  • Crying is the primary means of communication when infants’ and toddlers’ needs are not being met.
  • Similarly, they smile and giggle when they want more of something, and turn their head, shut their eyes, or cry when they want less of something.

Spiritual Development

  • Even very young children discover a spiritual perspective of the world. If parents and caregivers are warm and caring, they’ll find a wonderful world.
  • A sense of spirit is developed through the five senses: seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, and tasting. Spiritual practices that engage the senses (such as having certain foods on a holiday or lighting a candle) are helpful.
  • Making spiritual practices (e.g., music, worship, service, meditation, prayer) a part of family life encourages your children to embrace spirituality.