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Minnesota Childrens Museum Blog

Last week, we detailed some of the milestones you may be noticing as your child grows. This is a continuation through age five, but keep in mind: the ages and stages described below are general developmental stages that a majority of children reach at the stated ages. It is very important to understand that every child is different!  Please don't panic if every milestone is not reached right on time for your child. Some children meet the milestones ahead of time. Some children just take longer -- for lots of reasons -- and not all developmentally-related.
Some toddlers don't talk by a certain age because they have an older sibling who does all the talking for them! Some little ones would rather go straight to walking from sitting and skip crawling altogether--walking leads to running and they're just in a hurry! Saying a child "should" be able to do something by a certain age can cause great worry for parents if their child has not achieved that particular milestone at that particular age.  Yes, it's extremely important to catch physical, cognitive or social/emotional developmental delays and get the child help as early as possible, but it's also important to remember that each child will develop at his or her own pace. If you are worried about your child's developmental progress, please consult your pediatrician.

Judy Schumacher,
Director of Education and Community Partnerships, Minnesota Children's Museum

At 2 1/2 years
Does your child know a few rhymes or songs?  Does he or she enjoy hearing them?
Many children can say short rhymes or sing songs, and enjoy listening to records or to singing.

What does your child do when the doorbell rings, or when a car door or house door closes at a time when someone in the family usually comes home?
If a child has good hearing and these are events that bring pleasure, the child usually reacts to the sound by running to look or telling someone what she or he hears.

At 3 years
Can your child show that she or he understands the meaning of some words besides the name of things? (Examples: "Put the block on the table." or  "Give me your doll.")
Your child understands and uses some simple verbs, pronouns, prepositions, and adjectives, such as go, me, in, and small.

Can your child find you when you call from another room?
Your child should be able to locate the source of a sound.

At 4 years
Can your child tell about events that have happened recently?
Your child gives a connected account of some recent experiences.

Can your child carry out two directions, one after the other, when given simultaneously (such as, "Find the library book and put it on the table by the door")?
Your child carries out a sequence of two simple directions.

At 5 years
Do people outside your family understand most of what your child says?
Your child's speech is intelligible, although some sounds may still be mispronounced.
Can your child carry a conversation with other children or familiar adults?
Most children this age can carry on a conversation if the vocabulary is within their experience.

Does your child begin a sentence with "I" instead of "Me," "He" or "She" instead of "Him" or "Her?"
A child uses some pronouns correctly at this age.

Is your child's grammar almost as good as your own?
Most of the time, a child's spoken language will match the patterns of grammar used by the adults of his or her family/neighborhood.

Esther Schak
Parent Educator, Saint Paul ECFE


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