2 years old
· Speaks about 50 words
· Links two words together
· Speaks clearly enough for parents to understand some of the words
· Can name a number of objects common to his/her surroundings
· Responds to such commands as “show me your eyes (nose, mouth, hair)”
· Becomes aware of his/her identity as a separate individual
· May become defiant; may have temper tantrums
· Becomes interested in playing with other children
· Separation anxiety begins to fade
· Plays games like tag, hide and seek
· Plays a role in “pretend” games like house or school (mom, dad, teacher)
· Shy with strangers, especially adults
· Claims certain articles as being his/her own.
· Begins to play make-believe
· Begins to sort objects by shape and color
· Finds hidden objects
· Points to at least 5 body parts
· Walks alone and stands on tiptoe
· Climbs on furniture and begins to run
· Builds a tower of six or more blocks
· Empties objects from a container
3 years old
· Speaks 250 to 500 or more words
· Speaks in three-and four-word sentences
· Uses pronouns (I, you, we, they) and some plurals
· States first name
· Knows at least three prepositions, usually in, on, under
· Has most vowels and the consonants p, b, m, w, n well established
· Readily follows simple commands even though the stimulus objects are not in sight
· Imitates parents and playmates
· Takes turns
· Expresses affection openly
· Easily separates from parents
· Asks “why” questions
· Correctly names some colors
· Copies a circle
· Understands the concepts of same and different
· Walks up and down stairs, alternating feet
· Kicks, climbs, runs, and pedals a tricycle
· Builds a tower of nine or more blocks
· Manipulates small objects and turns book pages one at a time
4 years old
· Answers simple questions
· Speaks in complete sentences
· Uses prepositions (under, beside, in front)
· Speaks clearly enough for strangers to understand
· Articulates /b/, /d/, /k/, /g/. /f/, /y/
· Average sentence length = 4 words
· Cooperates with playmates
· Tries to solve problems
· May have a best friend
· Becomes more independent
· Becomes involved in more complex imaginary play
· Prints some capital letters
· Draws a person with two to four body parts
· Understands the concepts or morning, afternoon, and night
· Stands on one foot for at least five seconds
· Throws ball overhand, kicks ball forward and catches bounced ball most of the time
· Dresses and undresses
· Uses safety scissors
5 years old
· Understands rhyming
· Uses compound and complex sentences
· Uses future tense
· Speech should be completely intelligible, in spite of articulation problems
· Should have all vowels and the consonants, m, p, b, h, w, k, g, t, d, n, ng, y (yellow)
· Wants to be like friends
· Follows rules
· Understands gender
· Wants to do things alone
· Follows simple rules in board or card games
· Uses imagination to create stories
· Correctly counts 10 or more objects
· Copies a triangle and other geometric patterns
· Understands the concepts of time and sequential order
· Stands on one foot for at least 10 seconds
· Hops, swings, and somersaults
· May learn to ride a bike and swim
· Brushes own teeth and cares for other personal needs
· Eye Contact - To encourage eye contact always try and get down to your child's eye-level when you speak to them. Encourage your child to be in the same room and to face you when they are talking to you. When your child communicates, respond and wait for the child's response, don’t rush communication. It is important to wait because some children need more time to process the language and formulate a response. You can help cue a response by looking expectantly at your child and smiling. Try not to communicate when you are busy with something else, stop and take the time to listen and respond to your child.
· Turn-taking - Turn-taking skills usually start to develop in the first few months of life when the baby makes a gesture or noise and receives or waits for a response from the mother. The baby soon learns to make another noise or gesture when the mother responds. Turn-taking is a vital communication skill for children to learn as it is one of the basic fundamentals of positive and successful interaction. When playing turn-taking games with a very young child it might be worth avoiding the use of pronouns such as “my, your, his, her” etc as this may be confusing. Use names such as "John's turn", "Mom’s turn" etc... Daily interaction with your child should produce lots of turn-taking opportunities. Remember to face your child, be at their level and give eye contact. Turn-taking can also be practiced with all manner of games that require 2 or more people to take turns.
· Building a tower: take turns in putting the blocks on a tower until it collapses.
· Blowing bubbles: take turns in blowing bubbles.
· Dice and board games: this requires turns. Board games for older children are good for turn-taking skills because they have rules and structure.
· Sing Nursery Rhymes - sing a familiar nursery rhyme to your child, but leave off a word or two from the end of each verse and wait expectantly to see if they attempt to sing the last words. If your child makes an attempt at the final words, resume your turn and start the next verse.
· Listening skills - You can work on listening skills by asking your child to pause and listen, and then acknowledge, when he hears a sound, such as a bird singing or a car passing. Some children will often interrupt, it is important to calmly stop them and tell them that it is your turn to speak and they must display “good listening”. A simple game to play for listening and attention skills is “Ready, Steady …..Go”. You can use a number of toys for this game (ball, toy car, row of dominoes, balloon), but the object of the game is to get your child to wait and listen. Get them to hold the toy ready to let it go, say “ready…steady….”, then pause and let them wait for you to say “GO” before they release the toys. You can increase the pause between words, or say “wait” before you say “GO”.
· Body language and using gesture - Try to use body language and gesture when you speak. This helps the child understand what you are saying, but it may also teach them to do the same so that they can make themselves understood more effectively. Body language plays a huge part in helping others gain meaning from what we say, this is a good skill for children to learn, especially if their speech is not clear in the early years.
Activities to Develop Early Childhood Cognitive Skills:
· Hide and Seek (and variations: count by twos, fives, tens)
· Simon Says
· Twenty Questions with increasingly helpful clues
· “Hotter/Colder” (hide something and guide with clues to proximity)
· “Pictionary” (not the real board game, but just you and your child with a piece of paper
· “Highlights” or Puzzlemania magazine (some activities are too hard, but others are fine)
· Board Games, such as: Memory; Connect Four; Dominoes; Dot to Dot game; Tic Tac Toe; Battleship; Old Maid; Uno; Candyland (the easiest); Chutes and Ladders (slightly harder); Guess Who? (harder)
· Toys such as: Megafort (strategy, imagination); Tangrams or mosaic-type games; harder Lego sets (deduction, directions; puzzles (25 pieces for beginners, up to 300 pieces for a 5 yr old)
· Sensory/Motor: obstacle course; putting away silverware (no sharp knives obviously); matching/folding socks; filling dishwasher (plastic items); “What Do You Feel?”: blindfold and feel/identify objects in sand, rice, beans, or brown bags
Remember that with cognitive development, you are trying to grow and exercise thinking skills. All Problems are Opportunities. The more problems your child encounters and works out, the more efficient thinking will take place. This is because little children learn a lot by memory and routine. Simple chores and house projects are great teachers. Real-life applications with problems to work through, will stimulate your child's cognitive development.
. Reason through their own situations with them—ask the right questions and wait for them to respond, don’t just fix everything or tell them the right conclusion.
. Be prepared to “be in the moment.” Learning opportunities come up frequently with preschool children where they’re open to your guidance/moralizing, but you have to be prepared to do it on their timetable… (usually never yours!)
. Allow your child to make harmless mistakes and learn from them.
. Tell them something isn’t right and let them guess. As in, “We can’t go to bed until we’re all ready. But we’re not ready yet. What do we have to do?”
Always, always, always ask questions like, “What do we do next?” “What should you do?” “What do we need?”… This teaches children to think before they act, cry, or seek help. Most three to five year olds verbalize their thinking aloud rather than silently, so you can figure out what’s making them upset or stuck. Older children may be able to answer Why? or What If? scenarios, which gives you a chance to get inside their thinking process and embellish or refine it.
If You Think Your Child May Have Gross Motor Difficulties:
If You Think Your Child is Having Fine Motor Difficulities: