Legislative changes are in effect from 1 July 2019. We are introducing new ways of working with our tamariki, family/whānau and communities and new content is being added to the Practice Centre. Check out our 'What we’re working on' section. We welcome your feedback.

What we're working on

Page URL: https://practice.orangatamariki.govt.nz/previous-practice-centre/policy/caring-for-children-and-young-people/resources/age-developmental-stages/
Printed: 22/10/2019
Printed pages may be out of date. Please check this information is current before using it in your practice.

Age and developmental stages

Updated: 12 June 2017

Whenever we engage with a child or young person we need to consider their developmental age. We want all children and young people to reach their full potential and keeping an eye on their development and providing support that will help them meet their milestones is vital.

This resource provides social workers with a quick guide to the age and developmental stages of children and young people and ideas about how to interact with them to aid your understanding of their development. Remember that all children and young people will vary in their individual development, and the impact of trauma and abuse can have a significant impact on typical developmental pathways. Also keep in mind that:

  • development does not occur in a straight line or evenly
  • the pace of development occurs more rapidly in the very early years than at any other time in life
  • the achievement of specific developmental milestones depends very much on the opportunities the child or young person has to practice them and on the experiences available to them
  • developmental delays in one area will impact the development in others
  • general health affects development and behaviour - minor illnesses will have short to medium-term effects, chronic ill-health can have long-term effects, and nutritional deficiencies impact negatively on developmental progression (Department of Human Services, 2007).

If you or the parent/caregiver has concerns about the child or young person's progress, seek professional advice.