The Basics of Child Development
“Child development refers to the sequence of physical, language, thought and emotional changes that occur in a child from birth to the beginning of adulthood.” - Kid Sense Child Development
There are many checklists and parenting books that outline what stages and milestones children should reach depending on their age. But it’s important to remember that every child is different and there are so many different factors that can affect what they do and when.
In fact, hardly any of these checklists match each other, there’s usually at least one milestone not included. These should only be used as a guideline to help you have regular check-ins and assess certain patterns that you otherwise might not notice.
If you have any concerns about your child’s development, for example you feel they should be speaking already, or playing differently with friends, you can speak to a doctor / professional so that they can assess them correctly. They will be able to do so taking into consideration your child’s personality, different external circumstances that may have an influence on them, and other developmental stages.
For the answers to your most frequently asked questions about child development, including how to support them as a parent / carer / guardian, please continue to the FAQ section below.
Frequently Asked Questions
Child development involves the changes and processes children go through as they grow. This is in all aspects within physical, cognitive, language and social-emotional development.
You can break down the stages of child development into various ages, but the most common ones are Newborn (0-3 months), Infant (3-12 months), Toddler (1-3 years), Preschool (3-4 years) and School age (4-5 years).
Within these age groups there are a number of different milestones that are looked at, including when they first start following objects, crying differently depending on their needs, walking, etc. These can be categorised in the following:
- Cognitive Development
- Social and Emotional Development
- Speech and Language Development
- Fine Motor Skill Development
- Gross Motor Skill Development
You will know your child best so any concerns should be addressed. If there are any problems, it’s best to catch them early. Speak to your child’s doctor right away so that they can assess them.
You should also remember that every child develops and grows differently and will reach milestones at different rates.
- How can I support my child’s mental health?
Early child development is known to have a significant impact on who they are as adults and their future well-being. It influences how they handle struggles in life, interact and communicate with others, learn, and much more.
Some of the most common and supported ways to support a child’s brain development are through positive experiences, playing with them, comforting them (they can feel stressed and know when they are supported), and reading to them.
“Positive parenting is the continual relationship of a parent(s) and a child or children that includes caring, teaching, leading, communicating, and providing for the needs of a child consistently and unconditionally.” - Seay
Research into positive parenting indicates that the goal is to teach independence and support the child’s self-esteem through positive discipline. Some tactics include:
- Having clear and consistent rules
- Listening to them fully
- Recognising and acknowledge good behaviour
- Having realistic expectations
- Leading by example
This blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
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