Growth Stages

Pre-Term Infant

Because premature babies are born before they are physically ready to leave the womb, they require extra medical attention immediately after delivery. Your child may need special tests as well as medical help that is different from that needed by full-term babies. It may be a few days or weeks before you can bring your baby home.



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Infant (0-1 year old)

In the first year, babies learn to focus their vision, reach out, explore, and learn about the things that are around them. Cognitive, or brain development means the learning process of memory, language, thinking, and reasoning. Learning language is more than making sounds (“babble”), or saying “ma-ma” and “da-da”. 



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Toddlers (1-2 years of age)

During the second year, toddlers are moving around more, and are aware of themselves and their surroundings. Their desire to explore new objects and people also is increasing. During this stage, toddlers will show greater independence; begin to show defiant behavior; recognize themselves in pictures or a mirror; and imitate the behavior of others, especially adults and older children.

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Toddlers (2-3 years of age)

Because of children’s growing desire to be independent, this stage is often called the “terrible twos.” However, this can be an exciting time for parents and toddlers. Toddlers will experience huge thinking, learning, social, and emotional changes that will help them to explore their new world, and make sense of it.

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Preschoolers (3-5 years of age)

As children grow into early childhood, their world will begin to open up. They will become more independent and begin to focus more on adults and children outside of the family. They will want to explore and ask about the things around them even more.



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Middle Childhood (6-8 years of age)

Middle childhood brings many changes in a child’s life. By this time, children can dress themselves, catch a ball more easily using only their hands, and tie their shoes. Having independence from family becomes more important now. 


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Middle Childhood (9-11 years of age)

Your child’s growing independence from the family and interest in friends might be obvious by now. Healthy friendships are very important to your child’s development, but peer pressure can become strong during this time. Children who feel good about themselves are more able to resist negative peer pressure and make better choices for themselves. 

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Young Teens (12-14 years of age)

This is a time of many physical, mental, emotional, and social changes. Hormones change as puberty begins. Most boys grow facial and pubic hair and their voices deepen. Most girls grow pubic hair and breasts, and start their period. They might be worried about these changes and how they are looked at by others. 


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Teenagers (15-17)

This is a time of changes for how teenagers think, feel, and interact with others, and how their bodies grow. Most girls will be physically mature by now, and most will have completed puberty. Boys might still be maturing physically during this time. Your teen might have concerns about her body size, shape, or weight. Eating disorders also can be common, especially among girls.


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