Child Development
Examples of Developmental Stages
[Cartoon: Dad with baby]


A stage of development is an age period when certain needs, behaviors, experiences and capabilities are common and different from other age periods. Here are some behaviors you might expect to see at certain stages.

Birth to 18 Months

The focus is developing trust. The accomplishment of this is highly dependent on the parents or other caregivers providing care (things like warmth, food, hugging, stimulation).


18 Months to Three Years

The child's task is to establish a distinct self, separate from parent figures.[Cartoon: Toddler running in park]


Three to Seven Years

[Cartoon: Four year old playing with building blocks]The child's major task is to develop a sense of reality that is distinct from fantasy.

  • A primary concern of the child is sex differences, and it includes interest in pregnancy and birth.
  • This is a period of high creativity.
  • There is a strong need to make distinctions between what is real and what is imagined.


Seven to Twelve Years

[Cartoon: Eleven year old in treehouse]The child's task is to develop a sense of values to guide decision making and interests, as well as capabilities that lay the foundation for future decisions.


Twelve to Eighteen Years

[Cartoon: Sixteen year old thinking of being a mom and a business person]The child has two main tasks.

  • To create a personal identity based on the integration of values and a sense of self. The adolescent must establish an identity in relation to society, the opposite sex, ideas, the future, possible vocations, and the universe.
  • The establishment of independence. This can create tension with the family over limits, values , responsibilities, friends, and plans for the future.

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