How Do Newborns, Babies, Infants, Toddlers, Preschoolers and Kids Differ from Each Other

How Do Newborns, Babies, Infants, Toddlers, Preschoolers and Kids Differ from Each Other

While talking about children, we often use terms like baby, infant, and kid interchangeably. However, they are not the same, and knowing the difference between them is essential because each of these terms signifies a stage of development in your child.

Newborn Vs Infant Vs Babies Vs Toddler Vs Preschooler Vs Kid — How Do They Differ?

Children are referred to using various terms like newborn, baby, infant, toddler, or kid, and these terms though used synonymously are different. With each of these terms, comes certain milestones of growth and development for your child. It is important to know these because a failure to reach these milestones may indicate developmental disabilities.

Newborn

newborn

The term newborn refers to a newly born baby and has been in use since the fourteenth century.

What Age is Considered a Newborn 

Newborns are the newly born babies of 2 months of age.

  • Doctors and experts refer to babies aged less than 2 months as newborns.
  • The World Health Organisation considers a child less than 28 days as a newborn.

Growth and Development

The first two months of a baby’s life are crucial, and appropriate feeding and care must be ensured.

  • For the first month, babies go on to steadily gain weight, while their height also increases by a couple of inches.
  • The baby’s nervous system starts maturing, and with it come developments in reflexes, hearing, communication, and emotions.
  • Most of the baby’s movements are reactionary. They respond to external stimuli and even move their arms, legs, and head.
  • Babies cry to communicate feelings like hunger or discomfort. They begin to imitate basic and distinct sounds of the language they hear, laying down their foundation for speech.
  • They start developing an emotional attachment to their primary caregivers and forming bonds of love and trust. You can foster their emotional security by holding them, talking, and playing with them.

When to See a Pediatrician

Babies at their neonatal age can show signs of developmental disabilities like genetic disorders and fetal alcohol syndrome. See a paediatrician if:

  • The baby falls behind in smiling or making eye contact at the appropriate age.
  • The baby does not start babbling around the appropriate age.
  • The baby does not display gestures like grasping .

Infant

infant

The term infant is a combination of two Latin words, “in-” (the opposite of) and “fari” (to speak), meaning “one incapable of speaking.”

What Age is Considered an Infant

Infant and newborns are often used interchangeably but they are in fact, different.

  • An infant is a baby between 0 and 12 months.
  • In terms of the newborn vs infant age, an infant is a broader term that includes a newborn. When looking at infant vs toddler, infants are children up to 1 year of age whereas toddlers are between one and four years old.

Growth and Development 

Up to the age of one, babies grow and learn at a staggering rate. Crawling and standing are infant milestones in development.

  • During infancy, children learn to communicate better — they smile, wave, clap, babble, and some may even start talking.
  • Their motor function improves as they start picking up objects, crawling, rolling, sitting up, standing, and walking with support.
  • Infants grow substantially — they grow around 6-8 inches in height and gain around thrice their birth weight.
  • They develop strong bonds with their primary caregiver, begin responding to their name and basic commands, and play simple games like peek-a-boo.

When to See a Pediatrician

Slow development during infancy can be indicative of Down syndrome or other developmental disabilities. You can consult your paediatrician if your baby is not able to:

  • Crawl or rollover.
  • Sit up or babble.
  • Respond to his name.
  • Wave or reach out for things.

Toddler

toddler

The word toddler emerged in 1793 from the word toddle which describes how babies move around.

What Age is Considered a Toddler 

Toddlers are children who are ready to transition into preschool. Continue reading to know at what age do toddlers start preschool.

  • Toddlers are usually those children between 1 and 4 years of age. But there is no consensus among experts as to the toddler age span.
  • The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Encyclopedia Britannica defines them as children between 1 to 3 years old.

Growth and Development 

The rate of growth and development in children slows down after they turn 1.

  • By 3 years of age, toddlers reach about half their adult height. They learn to walk, climb stairs, move around, and can even help while getting themselves dressed up.
  • They begin to talk and communicate in phrases. They absorb and memorize information rapidly and learn colours, shapes, and the alphabet. Toddlers enjoy songs, rhymes, and simple games.
  • Even during toddlerhood, babies need a couple of naps during the day and 10-12 hours of sleep at night.

When to See a Pediatrician 

The CDC recommends screening for autism during 18-24 months of age or if there are any signs of concern. See a paediatrician in the following cases:

If the toddler doesn’t meet developmental milestones such as

  • Walking
  • Chewing
  • Swallowing
  • Talking
  • Showing an interest in familiar people

Baby

babies

The term baby or “babe” arose in the fourteenth century, and refers to an infant of either sex. It is derived from the word babbling, i.e. baby talk.

What Age is Considered a Baby

The term babies are very wide and can include any young offspring.

  • Baby is an all-encompassing term for newborns, infants, and toddlers.
  • To answer the question of how old is the baby, it is usually up to 4 years old.

Preschooler

preschooler

A preschooler is usually a child between 3 and 5 years of age who has been enrolled in a preschool.

What Age is Considered a Preschooler 

Parents generally enroll their children in a preschool after they turn 3.

  • A preschooler is a child who has been enrolled in a preschool and is usually between the age of 3 to 5.
  • It is the next stage after the toddler.

Growth and Development

The preschool stage is very important as children begin to learn to interact with other children and teachers.

  • Their motor skills improve as they learn to walk, hop, draw, play, and operate things like a scissor or a shoelace.
  • As children start interacting, their social and speaking skills improve monumentally. They begin to focus on people around them instead of themselves and transition from being moody, selfish to well-mannered, and responsible.
  • They also become extremely curious and ask numerous questions that parents must answer so that their intellectual growth is fostered.

Kid

kid

When a preschooler passes kindergarten and enters the first or second grade, he becomes a kid.

What Age is Considered a Kid? 

Preschoolers are often referred to as kids, but the two terms are different.

  • By the time a preschooler has entered the first or second grade, he is 6 years old. A kid is a child between 6 and 12 years of age.

Growth and Development 

As the child grows older, they become more intelligent and emotionally mature.

  • A kid’s movements are more stable and graceful. They begin to lose their milk teeth and grow permanent teeth. They can run, ride a bike, play, and learn skills like painting, dancing, and singing.
  • They begin understanding their school subjects and start reading and writing.
  • They also learn to share, interact, and compete with their friends.

The terms newborn, infant, baby, toddler, preschooler, and kid are not usually interchangeable and connote different ages stages of growth and development. It is important to know the difference, as it will help you understand the development of your child and the physical and emotional changes they go through.

Also Read:

Newborn Growth and Development
Baby Growth and Development
Toddler Growth and Development