Birth-to-5 Development

Birth-to-5 Development Muskegon Parentville collage

The 'Incredible Years'

The brain is rapidly developing during the early years of life; such development is profoundly influenced by the actions of adults caring and interacting with the child; and the stage for success or struggles in life is well-established during these critical years. These “incredible years” truly represent a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, which we cannot afford to ignore.



Infant [0-6 mo]


Tips to Help Baby Grow:

  • LANGUAGE: Talk, read, sing and play everday! Copy the sounds baby makes and respond when she laughs or cries.  Baby is learning to communicate long before she can talk.  
  • FEEDING: Cuddle and make lots of eye contact. This is a great time to make your child feel safe nurtured.  Breastfeed if you can.  Breast milk is nature's perfect food and will help develop a strong brain, healthy immunization system, and healthy weight.
  • TUMMY TIME will help you baby develop all the muscles needed to hold his head up, sit-up, roll over, crawl, walk, and even write! Give your child a few minutes of tummy time every day.  
    • Support baby's head and neck. 
    • Never shake a baby!
    • Put baby on his back to sleep.  Don't put blankets, stuffed animals or pillows in the bed with baby.


Baby [6-12 mo]

This is the stage when your baby becomes a real person – actually, that is not totally true; your baby was a real person the moment he was born, but now he is able to respond to you, show you his pleasure and displeasure, and let you know what he needs. He is learning to communicate with you and to show off his special personality.

Toddler [1-2 years]

This is the age of the fast and furious! Your baby can walk, run, climb stairs, and carry and pull toys – often times faster than you can! His little hands are busy too. He is learning to feed himself, dress himself, scribble, and build block towers. He is gaining independence from you and at the same time learning to play with other children. He is learning new words, becoming very interested in stories,  talking in 2-4 word sentences, becoming curious about his world, and possibly driving you crazy with the perpetual “why” questions.

Three Years

Your three-year-old hovers between being a baby and a big girl, sometimes many times a day. She is mastering many physical and balancing activities like climbing stairs one foot at a time, hopping, and maybe pedaling a tricycle. She is engaging in real conversation and she loves pretend play. She is also experiencing strong feelings and may not know how to talk about them yet, which could lead to temper tantrums. On the other hand, she is also developing friendships with other children and feels real affection and empathy for them. This is a wonderful and exciting year of growth.

Learn More about whether your three-year-old is on track and what to watch for.  

Four Years

This is the year for preschool for most kiddos. Your child is developing a set of skills that are essential for success in school and in life – the “executive functions.”  No, this is not a management training program; “executive” refers to how to get things done.

Five Years

This is the BIG year – Kindergarten! Your child is marching off on his own to begin his life of learning! But don’t worry; he’ll be back after school to tell you all about his day. He’ll likely have many stories about all his new friends. Children this age love to be with friends and will want to be just like them.