Child Development Stages & Milestones | Kids Clinic Singapore


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(Last updated: 27 May)

Toddler Milestones (2 to 6 years old)

Although no two children are exactly alike, distinct development patterns can be observed in your children aged two to six years old. If you observe any abnormalities in your child’s development, please consult your paediatrician early.

How is Your Child Developing in The Trying 2s?

  • Walks alone. Rises without using hands. Able to run. Walks up and down stairs two feet per step. Kicks a ball. Climbs onto and down from furniture unassisted
  • Builds tower of six cubes. Turns picture book pages one at a time. Scribbles on his or her own. Might use one hand more often than the other
  • Able to put on simple clothes without help (often better at removing clothes than putting them on). Dry by day
  • Able to communicate needs such as thirst, hunger, need to use the restroom
  • Joins two to three words in sentences. Vocabulary has increased to about 50 – 300 words
  • Recognizes details in pictures. Knows body parts
  • Uses own name to refer to self
  • Understands two-step command (“give me the ball and then get your shoes”)
  • Imitates behaviour of others, especially adults and older children
  • Begins make-believe play
  • Demonstrates increasing independence
  • Begins to show defiant behaviour
  • Negativism: “No, No, No….!” is a very common response for children at this age Temper Tantrums: Throw temper tantrums when you don’t give them what they want, but get over them very quickly too
  • Temper Tantrums: Throw temper tantrums when you don’t give them what they want, but get over them very quickly too
  • Great Curiosity: They like to explore – test things, taste them, press them and squeeze them
  • Possessiveness And Destructiveness: They do not like to share their things and can get rough with toys when asserting their ownership. They also like to investigate everything, so toys should not be easily broken or torn apart
Developmental Milestones: 2 Years Old
Your 2-year old child can build a tower with 6 cubes, put on simple clothing without help and has a vocabulary of 50 to 300 words

Tips For Handling 2-Year-Olds:

Two-year-olds are at a stage of exploring the world around them and are trying to master skills on their own. They seek to attain independence and to satisfy their curiosity. Thus, when they are upset, they give vent to outbursts of tantrums and anger. Try the following:
  • Give plenty of opportunity for exploration in their environment. Provide playthings they can touch, press and taste. Equip them with toys that stimulate imagination and promote exploration
  • Distract the child when he is frustrated, by giving other activities. Or help him if he can’t handle a certain task
  • Provide durable toys that are not easily broken
  • Create a game out of the task you would like him to do if the child answers with a “No!”

How is Your Child Developing in The Trusting 3s?

  • Can briefly balance on one foot. May walk up the stairs with alternating feet (without holding the rail). Can pedal a tricycle
  • Copies circle. Imitates cross and draws man on request. Builds tower of 8 cubes. Has good pencil control. Can cut paper with scissors. Can thread large beads on a string
  • Can sort objects into simple categories. Recognises and identifies almost all common objects and pictures
  • Has a vocabulary of many hundreds of words. Composes sentences of three to four words. Uses plurals and pronouns (he/she). Understands concept of “mine” and “his/hers”. Frequently asks question
  • Knows own name, age, and gender (boy/girl)
  • Strangers can understand most of her words
  • Can dress self, only requiring assistance with laces, buttons, and other fasteners in awkward places. Feeds self without difficulty. May have daytime control over bowel and bladder functions (may have night time control as well)
  • Anxious To Please: Children obey the rules eagerly at this age because they like to please adults to obtain approval and acceptance
  • Cooperative: They enjoy following orders and working with other children. They also like to share now, because they are very interested in other people
  • Very Energetic: They are on the go almost every minute of the day and tire themselves out easily
  • Highly Imaginative: They exist in a world of make-believe and are not yet able to distinguish between the real and the imaginary
Developmental Milestones: 3 Years Old
At 3 years old, your child has good pen control and can copy circle shapes, and can compose short simple sentences

Tips For Handling 3-Year-Olds:

  • Praise the child for work well done, for obeying and for helping out
  • Provide active games and fun for the child, but be sure to give him rest periods throughout the day
  • Give time and materials for imaginative play
  • Organize cooperative activities for the child and his siblings, and with nearby children
  • Reward him for working together with others

How is Your Child Developing in The Frustrating 4s?

  • Hops and stands on one foot up to five seconds. Kicks ball forward. Catches bounced ball most of the time.Throws a ball overhand with coordination
  • Builds a tower of 10 cubes. Draws circles and squares. Draws a person with two to four body parts. Uses scissors. Begins to copy some capital letters
  • Has a vocabulary of more than 1,000 words. Easily composes sentences of four or five words
  • Understands the concept of counting and may know a few numbers
  • Follows three-part commands
  • Recalls parts of a story
  • Understands the concepts of “same” and “different”
  • Argues with other children. Plays games co-operatively
  • Dresses and undresses with assistance. Attends to own toilet needs
  • Inquisitive: This is the age of many questions. Even when answers are given, the 4-year-old continues to ask “Why?”
  • Talkative: Because of their increasing capacity for language, children have a tendency to speak constantly
  • Emotionally Unpredictable: At 4, children can and often burst into laughter and tears at the same time! There are also sudden bouts of anger but the tempests are over quickly
  • Lively And Sociable: Full of energy and life, they enjoy being with other people now!
  • High Motor Drive: Their need for muscular movement drives 4-year-olds to constant activities
Developmental Milestones: 4 Years Old
Your 4-year old is inquisitive and frequently asks questions, with a tendency to speak constantly

Tips For Handling 4-Year-Olds:

  • Encourage the child to ask questions. If you do not have the answer, find out the answer together with the child by looking up an encyclopedia, visiting the local library etc
  • Promote plenty of large motor skill activities. Allow them to climb, swing, ride a bicycle, jump etc. Be sure to take safety precautions
  • Talk to your child, read to your child. Build his vocabulary skills. Let him take part in your conversations
  • Give opportunities for the child to have social activities. Let him invite friends home for a party, or have a popcorn night

How is Your Child Developing in The Fascinating 5s?

  • Skipping, jumping, and hopping with good balance. Maintaining balance while standing on one foot with eyes closed. Well-developed ball skills
  • Draws person with body and copies a triangle. Colours pictures carefully. Writes name. Prints some letters
  • Vocabulary increasing to over 2,000 words. Speaks sentences of more than five words
  • Talks about the past, present and future with a good sense of time
  • Dresses and undresses alone. Shows caring attitudes towards others. Copes well with personal needs
  • Aware of gender
  • Able to distinguish fantasy from reality
  • Language Skills: As they are good in language skills now, children love to talk, tell stories and question adults
  • High Initiative: Usually, they want to start a conversation or to try new things
  • Vigorous And Noisy Group Games: Having a group of friends of their own age. Chooses own friends
  • Need for Approval: The approval of being “good boy” or “good girl” is all-important at this stage, so there is a definite desire to cooperate with both parents and teachers
  • Sense of Responsibility: They feel “grown-up” when they do little tasks and duties and are always keen to help mum and dad do things
Developmental Milestones: 5 Years Old
At 5 years, your child likes starting a conversation or trying new things

Tips For Handling 5-Year-Olds:

  • Give some time for conversation with your child. Read stories together. Encourage them to tell stories or share jokes with one another
  • Distinguish good work and compensate them appropriately
  • Organise games for them and do support them to join in group games. Set aside watching TV and get them out for the exercise they need
  • Teach children to be responsible in the home such as setting the table, drying dishes, picking up toys etc

How is Your Child Developing in The Sociable 6s?

  • Learns to skip with rope. Copies a diamond. Knows right from left and number of fingers. Ties shoe laces
  • Draws with precision and to detail. Developing reading skills well. May write independently
  • Talk fluently and with confidence
  • Short Attention Span: Easily distracted, some children at this age lack concentration on any one task
  • Highly Active And Restless: Fidgety and restless, they are full of energy that they simply can’t sit still. They are always involved in active play like running, jumping and tugging
  • Eager To Learn: Everything is interesting to them. Reading books, enacting stories and watching cartoons are their favourite activities
  • Highly Competitive: They are eager to participate in games and play and are very sensitive about their performance
  • Strong Gender Affinity: There is a strong preference for friends and playmates of the same sex at this stage
Developmental Milestones: 6 Years Old
Your 6-year old is full of energy and eager to participate in games and playing

Tips For Handling 6-Year-Olds:

  • Develop in your child an interest in nature
  • Introduce lots of books, tapes, songs and educational videos to your child
  • Allow time for outdoor activities and things that hold his interests
  • Teach your child how to play and participate in group games. Highlight the values of team effort, group spirit and having a good time rather than the significance of winning
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