Developmental Milestones in Childhood and Family Impact

  1. What are the major milestones related to the physical development in early, middle, and late childhood? Briefly describe these milestones.
  2. What are the major milestones related to the cognitive development in early, middle, and late childhood? How does cognition change from early, middle, and late childhood?
  3. What role does Piaget’s Cognitive Development Theory and Vygotsky’s Social Constructivist Approach play in understanding cognitive development in early, middle, and late childhood ?
  4. What are the major milestones related to the socioemotional development in early, middle, and late childhood? What types of changes occur in peer relationships from early, middle, and late childhood?
  5. How can families impact the development of young children?
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  1. What are the major milestones related to the physical development in early, middle, and late childhood? Briefly describe these milestones.

Biologically, physical development occurs as the child ages. The child begins to explore their world and meet their goals through ineration with the world and others.

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Physical development in early, middle, late childhood is linked to:

  1. nervous system development,
  2. body’s physical properties,
  3. child’s motivation to reach age-specific goals,
  4. Environmental support for the skill.

The milestones for gross motor skills continue to improve through early, middle and late childhood, which include:

  1. Improved walking, running, jumping, learned organized sports?skills – positive and negative sports outcomes.
  2. Specifically, milestones for fine motor skills increase through the three stages of childhood, which involves more finely tuned movements, such as finger dexterity:
  3. Early Childhood: pick up small objects e.g. some difficulty building towers, by age 5: arms, hands, and fingers move together.
  4. Middle and Late Childhood: writing and drawing skills emerge and improve, steadier at age 7, by 10-12 can do quality crafts, master difficult piece on music instrument (Source: Santrock, 2007, from

Early Childhood (about 2-4)

Ages 2 to 3

Children become more comfortable with motion, increasing speed, and coordination. Most begin to:

  1. Run forward
  2. Jump in place with both feet together
  3. Stand on one foot, with aid
  4. Walk on tiptoe
  5. Kick ball forward

Children are able to manipulate small objects with increased control. Most can:

  1. String large beads
  2. Turn pages one by one
  3. Hold crayon with thumb and fingers instead of fist
  4. Draw a circle
  5. Paint with wrist action, making dots and lines
  6. Roll, pound, squeeze, and pull clay

Ages 3 to 4:

  1. Movement and balance improve. Most children can:
  2. Run around obstacles
  3. Walk on a line
  4. Balance on one foot
  5. Push, pull, and steer toys
  6. Ride a tricycle
  7. Use a slide without help
  8. Throw and catch a ball

Children’s precision of motion improves significantly. Most are able to:

  1. Build a tall tower of blocks
  2. Drive pegs into holes
  3. Draw crosses and circles
  4. Manipulate clay by making balls, snakes, etc.

Middle Childhood (about 4-7)

Ages 4 to 5, which continue to develop more into late childhood:

Children are now more confident, and most are able to:

  1. Walk backwards
  2. Jump forward many times without falling
  3. Jump on one foot
  4. Walk up and down stairs without assistance, alternating feet
  5. Turn somersaults

As a child enter school, she or he beging to write and most children can:

  1. Use safety scissors
  2. Cut on a line continuously
  3. Copy squares and crosses
  4. Print a few capital letters


Late Childhood (about 7-11)

  1. Period of uneven growth of bones, muscles, and organs can result in awkward appearance.
  2. Early onset of puberty can present difficulties for girls (see self-concept); for boys, it can result in adult expectations more appropriate for older boys.
  3. Since some adolescents begin puberty during middle childhood, children need access to information about sexuality and puberty prior to the middle-school years. ()
  4. What are the major milestones related to the cognitive development in early, middle, and late childhood? How does cognition change from early, middle, and late childhood?

Generally, the major milestones related to cognitive development in childhoods are related to age and brain maturation (Piaget), which include the development of learning and thinking skill, which change qualitatively through childhood. Early childhood

Early Childhood (about 2 – 5/7) (Pre-operational Stage)

Preoperational (Piaget) (Magical Thinking and Egocentricism)

  • Mental operations are internalised forms of actions that are mastered during infancy
    . ordering
    . combining
    . separating
  • Pre-operational child can reason about simple problems but system lacks critical linkages and is not internally consistent
  • child only able to focus on one salient feature of task at a time [conservation]
    *child characterised by egocentrism – can look on world only from own position [perspective taking task]

Between ages 2 and 3, as the child ages, learning occurs through a child’s own exploration.

  1. Respond to simple directions
  2. Choose picture books, name pictured objects, and identify several objects within one picture
  3. Group objects by category
  4. Stack rings on peg in order of size
  5. Identify themselves in the mirror, saying “baby” or their own name
  6. Relate what they are doing to others
  7. Observe and imitate more complex adult actions (for example, housekeeping play)

Between the ages of 3 and 4, as children have more experiences in the world, their thinking and analytic powers grow. The child learns through observing and mentally “sorting” objects according to their physical properties.

  1. Understand concepts like grouping and matching (for example, recognizing and matching colors)
  2. Organize materials on their own, for example by stacking blocks or rings in order of size
  3. Identify parts of a whole, like a slice of pie
  4. Draw, name, and briefly explain somewhat recognizable pictures that are meaningful to them
  5. Actively seek information through why and how questions
  6. Tell you their full name and age
  7. Attend to an activity for a longer stretch of time (between 5 and 15 minutes)
  8. Learn both by observing and listening to adults’ explanations
  9. Show awareness of past and present. (

Middle Childhood (about 4-7 years) (still pre-operational) (Pre-logical Thinking)

1) Between the ages 4 to 5, cognitive development progresses in complexity e.g., intuitive thinking emerges, Piaget’s concept.
2) Logical thinking with limited ability to extend logic to abstract concepts; disdain for imaginative and illogical thinking of early childhood.
3) Accumulation of much general knowledge.
4) At this age, children actively seek information and new experiences from the people in their environment.
5) Gradual development of ability to apply learned concepts to new …

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