Healthy Children

We have many ways to help you keep your children healthy:

  • Encouraging regular well-child checkups with the doctor
  • Reminding you about immunizations (shots) to prevent dangerous illnesses
  • Giving you information about healthy eating and physical activity
  • Making sure your child gets the right care at the right time
  • Educating you about living with and treating your child's health problems

In this section of our website, you will find children's health care basics and some resources you can visit to get more information. This website is not meant to take the place of your child's health care providers' advice.

How Infants and Children Grow

Infants (0 to 1 ½ years old)

Babies start to connect with the world as soon as they are born. They begin communicating with people around them as young as one month old. Babies relate to those who care for them through smiling, making faces, and crying to show pain, anger and fear. Babies also cry if they are frustrated.

Around 12 to18 months old, most babies start to say their first words. Babies also begin to walk around this time. It's important to remember that some babies start to walk or talk earlier or later than others.

Toddlers - (18 months to 3 years old)

About 18 months old, children start to become more independent. Toddlers can refer to themselves by name, and know they are an individual.

At this age, children begin to develop social skills. They can play with other children for short periods of time.

Toddlers express their feelings more strongly than infants. They might scream with delight when they are happy. Or they might throw tantrums when they are angry or frustrated.

Toddlers are also growing up physically. They may be able to jump, run easily, feed themselves, kick balls and throw things. About three years old they should learn to use the toilet.

Preschool (4 to 5 years old)

During this time, children's large motor skills continue to develop. They begin to run, jump, climb and throw things. Their fine motor skills are also developing. Preschoolers can usually use their hands to draw, paint, use scissors and tie their shoes. They can also group objects together that have similar colors or functions.

Preschoolers usually know and can speak about 1,300 words. At this time, they also begin to understand the concept of time.

At this stage, children begin to develop more advanced social skills. Preschoolers have a strong need for friends. They may even have imaginary friends. Children at this age also like to be around older children and adults. They can usually share with others and love to role play.

At this time, children want to learn the rules. They begin to understand the difference between right and wrong, and the difference between truth and lies.

School age (6 to 12 years old)

Children at this age begin to think through and solve problems. They might start a collection, which teaches them how to classify objects. School-age boys and girls usually play separately.

School-age children express their feelings freely. They can be moody and impulsive. Children at this age begin to make choices based on how they see the world. They learn to set standards for themselves and accept responsibility. At this age, children still see their parents as perfect or unable to make a mistake.

School-age children begin to do the same things as their classmates or friends. They are very sensitive to negative comments. They worry about their friends' opinions of them. This is also when children begin to make fun of other children for being different.

Want more information about your children's growth and development? Here are some websites to visit:

Kidcentral TN

The Governor's Children's Cabinet has launched a website that provides information on health, education, development and support to Tennessee families, as well as a searchable directory to locate State Services. You can also create your own private profile on the kidcentral tn site to receive information that matters to the specific needs of your own family, including exploring developmental milestones based on your child's age.

Visit to explore the site, Tennessee's one stop shop for information on health, education, development, and support. The site includes a comprehensive directory of state-operated and state-funded services for children and families.