Learn the different stages of development - physical, social, emotional, brain, speech and hearing.

Congratulations on surviving the first six months. Now it gets really fun as your baby grows into a little person and learns to sit, crawl, walk, talk, jump and more. Remember, each child is unique and may not grow exactly as described below.

Keeping track of your child's development

Early childhood health assessments are online checklists designed to help you keep track of how your baby is doing. They are completely anonymous.

The short checklists contain tips and links to practical information relating to your toddler’s healthy physical, social and emotional development. Consider bookmarking the checklists and setting a reminder to complete them at each stage:

Complete the checklists and share the information and any questions or concerns with your family doctor at your child’s next routine checkup or baby visit.

How to be a great parent

Parents often wonder what they can do to help their toddler grow and develop well. As you provide your toddler a safe, secure environment, they form a strong emotional bond with you. This emotional bond promotes healthy growth and development. Read more on parenting your toddler.

Social and emotional development

From birth, babies interact with people around them expressing their feelings and communicating their needs.

As babies grow into toddlers they get better at this but still need help. Part of your role as a parent is to guide and teach them as they express their emotions and develop their social skills.

Learn about your toddler’s social and emotional development at each stage:

Check out ABC's for New Parents, a family-friendly resource on how you can help your child grow to be socially and emotionally healthy.


Routines help your child to know what comes next. This gives them a sense of control and security. When they feel secure, they can relax and explore and learn from what’s around them.

Daily routines help children to remember what to expect and to develop confidence. Routines at this age could include:

  • Family meal time
  • Getting dressed in the morning
  • Getting into the car seat

Learn more about cues and routines.

Physical growth and development

To ensure your child is on track with their growth, have your child’s growth checked regularly at six, nine, 12, 18 and 24 months with your family doctor. To learn more about what is recommended for your child’s growth check out: Is my child growing well?

Physical development is broken down into fine and gross motor development. Fine motor is the ability to control the small muscles that are needed to do tasks such as picking up a small block. Gross motor skills involve using large muscles for things like walking, standing or jumping.

Learn about your child’s physical development at each stage:

Brain development

Birth to age three is an important time for brain development. The number of connections in the brain created at this time, through play and day to day interactions, are more now than at any other time after birth! The more connections made, the more the brain develops.

Learn about your child’s cognitive development at each stage:

Speech, hearing and vision development

Good hearing matters. When children can hear well, it helps them to:

  • Learn to talk
  • Learn about their environment
  • Develop socially
  • Develop emotionally

From six months to age two is the time of first words and sentences. Your child’s ability to talk, in a way you understand, grows quickly during this time.

Learn about language skills development at each stage:

If you’re looking for ideas of ways to engage in play for language development, watch this video on language, numbers and play.

Learn about healthy baby vision.

Hearing can change over time. Repeated ear infections, serious illness, certain medications and head trauma can all affect hearing. It’s important to look out for signs of hearing loss. Learn more about our audiology services.

Learn more about our speech and language services.

Toddler play

Play is a beautiful thing. It helps our children interact with the world around them, understand their actions, learn about emotions and socialize with others. Toddlers are meant to spend most of their days engaged in various types of play. Find suggested play activities by age.

Group activities are a great way to connect with other parents and provide an opportunity for your toddler to socialize with other children. Check out your local community recreation centre, library or StrongStart program. To find other programs in your area, call or text 2-1-1, visit bc211.ca or contact your local public health unit.

Unstructured play is the business of childhood. With this type of play, children follow their own ideas without a defined purpose or outcome. Unfortunately children’s access to this type of play is increasingly limited.

*Organized sports or screen-time (time spent in front of the television, computer, gaming console, tablet, smartphone or any other electronic equipment) are not considered unstructured play.

A child’s work is play. Playing with your toddler helps them to learn about the world around them. It helps them to think through situations, work out problems and draw conclusions. Watch a few videos on how playing builds brains.

Screen time

Screen time means time with TVs, computers, smartphones or other digital devices. Parents hear conflicting messages about how much screen time is ok for a child.

The Canadian Paediatric Society recommends:

  • Children less then two years of age do not have any screen time.
  • Children age two to five have less than one hour per day.

You can set a good example by turning off the tablet, TV or computer and playing with your baby. Toddlers learn best through face-to-face interactions with adults, interactions that may include Skype or FaceTime video chats with caring relatives and friends.

Toilet learning

Most children learn to use the toilet between 24-48 months old. It’s important to make sure your child is ready, both physically and emotionally, before toilet learning. Learn more about toilet learning – when to start, common concerns and teaching strategies.