Stages of development in Children
Children go through distinct periods of development as they grow from infants to young adults. During these different periods, Child’s development occurs in different domains including Gross and fine motor development, cognitive, personal and social, adaptive and communication domains. Childhood development depends on all these domains. There are 7 stages in a human life span. These stages include infancy, early childhood, middle childhood, adolescence, early adulthood, middle adulthood and old age.
First 5 years especially first 2 years of life are extremely important for the normal development of the children. Parents should keep an eye on their child development and it can be easily assessed by comparing with their peers. If they find anything unusual, they should consult their doctor and a detailed evaluation should be done.
Checklists of development:
Many different checklist are created by pediatrician and researchers. However, there are variations in these checklists. So, you would not depend in a single checklist to assess your child’s development. Also you should talk to your pediatrician first for a good approach. The measure you find on checklist may differ with the measures that doctor or pediatrician.
Birth to 18 months:
This is the time period when your child show changes and grow very rapidly. Doctors suggest that talk a lot with your child in this period as it will help them in improving communications skill. Researchers also suggest that:
· Always place your baby for tummy time to strengthen his neck and back muscles. Tummy time is performed when your baby awakens and also make sure you are close by.
· Whenever the baby cries, respond right away. Pick him up and comfort him immediately as it will help to develop a strong bond between 2 of you.
18 months to 2 years:
This time period is considered as toddler years. During this time period, your child needs good sleep, nutritional diet and loving relationships with parents and caregiver.
For creating a safe and nurturing space for the full development of your child, it is advised by doctors that:
· Make your place toddler-proof so they can explore everything without any danger.
· To keep your child’s feeling safe and secure, create a routine and ritual.
· To teach and guide your children, use gentle discipline. Avoid hitting them as it may cause physical and emotional harm.
· Talk, sing and read to your child as it will improve their vocabulary.
3 to 5 years old:
These are the pre-school years and children grow independent and more capable in this time. They are more curious. As their world is expanding with new friends, new experiences and new environments.
During this time, it is recommended that:
· Teach them how to do little chores at home.
· Read to them daily.
· Speak with them in age-appropriate language.
· When their emotions are running high, help them in solving problems.
· When they are playing outside especially near water, supervise them.
School age development:
Children gain independence and competence during this time period. Academic and social challenges at school will after child’s self confidence. Friends become more influential and important for them in this age but they still need parents and caretakers to set healthy habits and tell them limitations.
As a parent your duty is to keep a balance between keeping your child safe, making family connections, allow them making decisions, and encourage them to accept responsibilities.
To keep your child healthy, follow these instructions:
· Provide them opportunities for daily exercise and team or individual sport.
· Create a comfortable, quite and relaxing environment for studying.
· Make sure your child is getting enough sleep.
· Talk to your child about consent and tell them about body boundaries.
· Don’t let them spend too much time in front of screens also monitor their online activities.
What to do if you are concerned?
If you are concerned about your child’s development and think that he might delay some aspects of development, you have many options.
Talk to your child’s doctor first and ask for the screening. Screening tools used by doctors are more detailed than the one on online checklists. He will give you more valid and credible information about your child’s activities and growth
Your pediatrician may refer you to develop specialist such as:
· Pediatric neurologist
· Occupational therapist
Speech/ language therapist