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Child Development Stages

As they grow, children go through different stages.  The kind of childcare they need changes with them. 


Infants (birth -14 months) need feeding, diaper changes, sleep, affection and one-on-one contact.  If your child is between 6-13 months, he or she may experience stranger and separation anxiety. Infants need a calm, relaxed environment; to be held gently and talked to; soft warm materials; consistency in caregivers; and an opportunity for mobility. Young infants need to follow their own sleep and eating schedules.


Toddlers (ages 15 months to 2.8 years) are full of energy and like to explore.  They need a variety of activities – toys, water and sand tables, art projects, outdoors play - to stimulate them.  They enjoy being with other children, but may have trouble playing with them.  Older toddlers will be learning to use the toilet.  Toddlers need close supervision and personal attention; consistent limit setting; opportunities for language development; to be talked to directly; to be encouraged to do things for themselves; space to move about; and appropriate materials.


Preschoolers (ages 2.9 to 6 years) are starting to form friendships with other children.  They are learning to use language to express their needs and relate to others.  They need a balance of quiet play, active play, and group play and individual time.  Preschoolers need opportunities for choice; accessible materials; to be involved in appropriate activities; opportunities to increase language and other skills, as well as their understanding of the world; to learn to interact with peers; consistent and supportive responses from adults.

School-age Children

School-age children (ages 6-14 years) can do many things for themselves, but still need adult supervision.  They can express themselves, understand and obey rules, and take care of equipment, supplies and belongings. After school, children need time to relax, play and do homework.


Content provided with permission from the Action For Boston Community Development, Inc. (ABCD)


If you would like to talk to a Partners EAP Consultant for assistance with issues related to child care, please call 866-724-4EAP.

In case of emergency, please call 911 or your local hospital emergency service.


This content was last modified on: 03/17/2017

Partners EAP is not a service for the general public.

In case of emergency, please call 911 or your local hospital emergency service.

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