How Your Child Grows from Baby to Tween

Your kid is growing and learning with each passing day. You need to note what to expect from them — physically and mentally.

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As a parent, you want to know whether your child is on track and what to expect at any age. You can help your child towards appropriate activities, and get greater insight into why junior does, thinks or acts in certain ways. Do remember, however, that no two children are alike or develop at the same pace. If you are worried that your child is not “achieving their goals”, speak to your child’s teacher or doctor, who may refer you to a specialist.

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0 to 3 years

In the first three years, you’ll see an amazing transformation in your baby — he’ll morph from a helpless, mewling and puking bundle into an all-running, jumping, speaking, potty-trained little person with a distinct character.

Physical

Baby grows stronger with each passing day. His neck muscles strengthen and he learns to grasp and control objects. By the end of the first year, he will be crawling, coasting and maybe, even walking! Hand-eye coordination increases in leaps and bounds this year; keep your little one stimulated with activity centres that fit across a stroller, car seat, or bouncy chair. From 18 months, your toddler is more mobile and will soon be running. By 3, your mini-dynamo can run, kick a ball, jump and walk backwards. Encourage lots of physical activity and games.

Mental

Babies 0 to 12 months learn by using their senses. They love discovering — touching and mouthing objects, hearing voices and music, and seeing fascinating sights. So, play with your baby — that’s how they learn. Try a simple game of hiding objects to find, and peek-a-boo. They will help develop your child’s memory and teach them about object permanence.

By 2, your toddler should have a vocabulary of 20 to 50 words, and be able to use two- to three-word phrases; they will labels fruits, animals, vehicles, colours and toys, and love to say “No!”

By 3, your little learner has a vocabulary of at least 100 words. They can speak in short phrases, enjoy stories and rhymes, and sing simple songs. Children this age begin asking “What?” and “Why?” Keep talking and reading to your child, and share your knowledge. The world is a very exciting place.

Social and Emotional

Babies respond to sound, especially their parents’ voices. In the first few weeks, tjeu begin to recognise voices and makes small “throaty” noises in response. At about 2 months, your baby smiles. From 4 months onwards, they laugh and squeal with delight, and whine when a toy is taken away.

From 18 months, you may begin a battle of wills with your toddler as they tries to assert their independence. For example, bath time for your 2-year-old may be a struggle, but once in the tub, they won’t want to come out. If coaxing doesn’t work, make a game out of a task you want them to carry out.

At this age, they’ll make use of a powerful weapon against you — the temper tantrum! These usually occur when junior is angry, tired, frustrated, or does not get their way. Ignore the tantrum or give them a time-out. With lots of patience and love, you can turn the terrible twos into terrific twos.

Between 2 and 3, your little one will start showing interest in other children. Playmates are important, so encourage them to interact with peers by arranging play dates, taking them to the playground or joining a playgroup.

10 baby milestones to watch out for