Ages 0-2: Developmental Overview

What to Expect

Two babies playing outside with a flowerEvery child is unique, and every family deals with different issues. There are some things, however, that many parents deal with around the same time. The way parents choose to deal with these issues has an important impact on how healthy and competent their children grow up to be. That’s why we’ve organized our information into the ages & stages of child development.

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.