Children have different needs as they grow. Read on to learn about what these needs are and how you can meet them.

A Guide to Child Development

As children grow, their needs change, so your parenting techniques must evolve to meet these needs. This child development guide will give you an idea of what children need based on their age.


At the ages of 1 and 2 years old, growth occurs quickly. Improved motor skills and verbal abilities let children traverse their homes and communicate desires, but when things do not go their way, they may throw a temper tantrum. This is known as the “terrible twos.” When a toddler throws a tantrum, you should remove your child from the situation, such as the grocery store, movie theater, restaurant, etc., in order to teach them that the behavior is not appropriate.

Your child should also potty train during this stage, eat a healthy diet, and sleep up to 14 hours per day.


At the ages of 3 to 5 years old, your child should enter preschool. School helps them experience social and emotional growth. Socialization with other children and teachers teaches them emotional control. They develop an interest in learning, pleasing their parents, and playing with children their age. Some separation anxiety is normal.

Children become more independent at this age and learn to dress themselves. They should want to do many activities on their own to exert their independence.

Ensuring a healthy diet and consistent sleep patterns increases in importance.

Grade School-Aged Children

From the ages of 6 to 9, your child attends grade school. They learn quickly at this age and often come home excited to show you what they did in school. This important time of socialization consists of deepening friendships and hobby development.

Their increased independence also comes with a bit of defiance, and they may balk when you tell them to clean their room, do their chores, or do their homework. Your discipline regimen in this phase should include both negative consequences and positive reinforcement.

Children should be learning the importance of hygiene and doing things like brushing their teeth without prompting. Nutrition and sleep continue to be important in this stage, so they should be eating their vegetables and going to bed on time.


From the ages of 10 to 12 years old, puberty may start for some children. Girls’ bodies and brains develop more quickly than those of boys. They may enter puberty earlier, and this can cause body image issues to develop. Boys, on the other hand, often pride themselves on their bodily development, especially muscle development. Puberty consists of hormonal changes, too, which can result in mood swings.

Tweens often want to spend more time with friends and less time with family. They might exhibit a more disrespectful attitude, but that is developmentally appropriate behavior for their age. You must change your discipline techniques as they now enjoy time spent in their room. More effective strategies include restrictions on using the internet, taking away their cellphones or gaming systems, etc.

Continue to teach good nutrition to your children and ensure they sleep at least nine hours per night. Between nine and 12 hours of sleep is normal at this age range.


Between the ages of 13 and 18, physical growth eventually slows, but you may struggle to keep your child in clothes that fit in their early teens. By their mid-teens, they go through an emotional maturity growth spurt and a reduction in moodiness.

You need to help them learn how to handle adult responsibilities so they are ready to leave home. Continue disciplining your teen with negative and positive consequences. When they show evidence that they are not ready for the responsibility, reduce their curfew or delay them getting a driver’s license.

Teach your child appropriate problem-solving so their social and emotional skills develop as well. They have to be able to function completely on their own because they will soon move out. Speak positively about your experiences at work, and let them understand that a career and living on their own independently is an enjoyable aspect of life.

You can help your child grow up to be a productive adult by following these developmental guidelines and doing what you can to help them grow emotionally, intellectually, and physically.

Disclaimer: The information posted on this page is for educational purposes only. If you need medical advice or help with a diagnosis, contact your medical professional.

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