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Monitoring and Encouraging Physical Development in Early Childhood

How to monitor physical development in early childhood? These are physical, mental and motor skill development markers that can be seen in your child as they grow older. Read more info here!

Every parent wants to make sure that their child is growing properly and hitting all their milestones, especially when it comes to physical development and mental development. You're excited to see them progress from sitting without support to crawling, walking and even running! Read on to learn the behaviours and motor skills to look out for during early childhood, and what to expect from each age range.

Remember, while it's good to keep track of the milestones, watching a checklist too closely can result in unnecessary stress if your child isn't hitting them "on time". You should also talk to your child's healthcare provider if you have any concerns about their progress.


What are the Developmental Milestones?

These are physical, mental and motor skill development markers that can be seen in your child as they grow older. Motor skills can be divided into two categories: gross and fine motor skills. Gross motor skills involve large muscle movements such as sitting, crawling, walking and jumping. Fine motor skills refer to the use of smaller muscles, such as grasping, opening containers and drawing. They are different for each age range, so take a look at the general list below of some of the cognitive and physical development activities your child might be doing at different ages.

1-2 Years Old

At this age, your child would start developing their gross motor skills and simple cognitive skills. They should be able to:

Motor Skills

Cognitive skills

Sit and stand without help

Pretend play (like drinking from a cup)

Push with their feet while sitting on a riding toy

Say mama, papa, and a couple of other words

Drink from a cup

Understand simple commands

Pick up a small item with their thumb and index finger

Point at and identify simple objects and parts of the body

Build a tower of 2-4 blocks

Listen to a story

Draw a line

Recognise and label some colours


2-3 Years Old

At this age, your child’s clumsy “toddling” will turn into a smoother, more balanced walk. With it comes a whole lot more abilities that they're able to explore, such as the following:

Motor Skills

Cognitive skills

Run, jump and hop

Understand the word "no" and stop accordingly

Throw, catch and even kick a ball without losing balance

Speak in sentences of 3 words or more

Push themselves around on a riding toy

Ask questions and stay focused for longer

Turn a doorknob

Knows their own name, age and sex

Pick up objects while standing, without losing balance

Can engage in cooperative play

Flip through a book one page at a time

Understand 2 step commands like, "Give me the toy and then get your socks"


3-4 Years

At this age, your child should have better balance and coordination. For example, they should be able to climb up the stairs without much assistance (but always with you watching). Here are other milestones to keep an eye out for.

Motor Skills

Cognitive skills

Throw a ball overhand with coordination

Learn and sing simple songs

Show improved balance and maybe hop on one foot

Put together a sentence of 3-5 words in a sentence

Easily place a small object in a small opening

Know their own name, age and sex (boy/girl)

Draw a circle

Become less afraid when separated from mother or caregiver for short periods of time

Pedal a tricycle

May have an imaginary playmate

Cut out a picture using scissors (under supervision)

Increased understanding of time


4-6 Years

At this age, your boisterous child will continue to refine earlier skills. They're running faster, jumping higher, and they can even skip and start learning how to ride bicycles. They should also be able to do many of the following.

Motor Skills

Cognitive skills

Skip, jump and hop with good balance

Can count to 10 and over

Can balance on one foot (maybe also with their eyes closed)

Has a vocabulary of more than 2,000 words

Slowly masters playground activities like the jungle gym, see-saw, and swing without assistance

Knows their telephone number

Show interest in organised sports like football and basketball

Can name the primary colours, and even more

Button and unbutton clothes by themselves

Improved math skills

Can write letters and numbers, and draw shapes

Asks deeper questions that address meaning and purpose


Supplementing Mental, Motor and Cognitive Development with Nutrition

While each child develops at a different rate, they all need the right nourishment to help their brain, muscles and body develop! Friso® Gold is newly upgraded with NOVAS Signature Milk, and it contains naturally small molecules with soft structure that’s easy to digest. Good digestion is important to help your child absorb the nutrients that fuel their mental and physical growth. For more information, you can also call the Friso Care Line at 1800-88-1647 for support, available every Monday to Friday, from 8.30am to 4.30pm.

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