The Toddler Stage: From the time a baby reaches his first birthday until they are 3 years old, he is considered a toddler. The toddler's sense of independence is magnified. This creates situations that most caregivers consider challenging. Safety is a major concern at this stage. Poisons, cleansers, sharp objects, and other dangers must be locked up or out of reach at all times. The ever-curious toddler quickly begins to develop strength, balance, and agility. This is an important time to teach boundaries and begin enforcing rules. Parents may find that as the child develops a sense of independence, he will try to influence his world as much as possible. Stubbornness, tantrums, and simply being uncooperative are normal behaviors at this age. To the relief of most parents, this stage also brings the ability to control the bladder and bowels.
The Preschool Stage: During the preschool stage 3 to 6 year old children are busy developing skills that will give them confidence in social situations while making friends and learning to participate in group activities. Understandable language skills, vocabulary, and communication in general increase their relationship status both at home and with their peer group. These children start learning the difference in good and bad, or right and wrong actions.
Early School Age Childhood: Cognitive function, or thinking and learning skills, are the primary developments in 6 to 8 year old children. These early school age children are learning to socialize and relate to others their age. They are busy exploring their changing environment and their broadened horizons. Development of self-esteem is important for this age group. They begin to form groups, learn to make friends, and notice gender related activity preferences. Social and psychological development takes a sharp upswing as the children become involved with peer groups and competitive classroom activities.