Most children aged zero to three will:

Double their height between birth and age three
Triple their weight between birth and age three 
Develop teeth and the ability to eat solid foods 
Develop 75 percent of their brain capacity
Learn to crawl and walk 
Develop large motor skills such as running, jumping, and climbing up stairs 
Begin to take off and put on clothes
Begin to control body functions through toilet training

Most children aged zero to three will:

Learn language and communication skills and advance from using single words to phrases to complete sentences
Develop an imagination and begin to create imaginary scenarios and friends
Understand the world primarily through their family
Begin to interact with peers through imitation (Although some children at this age do not yet play directly with each other, they often engage in parallel play.)
Think concretely, retain some information, and process information primarily through their five senses—by seeing, touching, hearing, tasting, and smelling
Identify with and begin to imitate their same-sex parent or guardian
Begin to understand the differences between male and female (gender differences and gender roles)
Imitate the language and behavior of trusted adults

Most children aged zero to three will:
Develop trust for caregivers who fulfill their needs, such as responding when the child is hungry, wet, etc.
Begin to test independence and explore limits, but still seek closeness to primary caregiver
Have relationships primarily with family members who are the most important people in the child’s life at this time
Physically demonstrate feelings, such as kissing and hugging to show love and hitting to show anger
Master the idea of being happy, sad, or angry, but will generally choose to express emotions physically rather than verbally (The “terrible twos” occur when a child is developing a sense of self outside of and distinct from others, and expresses this individuality by saying “no” and by insisting on doing things him/herself.)

Most children aged zero to three will:
Be curious and explore their own body and others’ bodies
Experience an erection or vaginal lubrication


To help children ages zero to three to develop a healthy sexuality, families should:
Touch their genitals for pleasure
Talk openly about their bodies
Be able to say and understand, when taught, the appropriate names for body parts (head, nose, stomach, penis, vulva, etc.)
Help children feel good about their entire body. Caregivers should name all body parts accurately and convey that the body and its functions are natural and healthy.
Touch and comfort children often to help them understand love and how it can be shared. Meeting children’s needs also helps them develop trust.
Help children begin to understand the difference between public and private behaviors and that certain behaviors, such as picking one’s nose or touching one’s genitals, are private ones.
Teach about anatomical differences between males and females while maintaining that boys and girls are equally special.
Teach children that they can say no to unwanted touch, regardless of who is attempting to touch them, and that they have a right to be respected when they say no.
Describe bodily processes, such as pregnancy and birth, in very simple terms.
Avoid shame and guilt about body parts and functions.

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