Child development

Child development

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Child development is the process of physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development from conception through adolescence. Development begins at the moment of fertilization and is a lifelong continuous process. The stage of development refers to what a child can do at a specific age or age group. The table below provides an overview of child development in the different domains (physical, social, emotional, and cognitive) across the developmental stages: conception until adolescence. Physical development of a child happens at periods and times that are different for all children. Physical development refers to the growth of body organs and systems, as well as the development of muscle strength, control, coordination, and endurance.

Social development is the process of acquiring skills that allow an individual to interact with others. Social development happens in a series of steps: attachment, developmental stages, and peer relations. In this stage, children are beginning to learn about the world around them and their parents play an important role in their physical, social-emotional, and cognitive development. Children learn to communicate with others and they start listening more to what people are saying (Cacciatore et al., 2019).

The emotional development of a child happens at various times and in various ways. Emotional development refers to how children respond to the environment, their relationships with others, and how they express their feelings and emotions. They begin to smile at the age of 2 to 3 months and begin to laugh around the age of 4 months. They show feelings such as fear, grief, and surprise between the ages of 2 and 6 months. They develop stranger fear between the ages of 5 and 6 months. At six months, they can imitate the expressions of others (Cacciatore et al., 2019). Cognitive development is the acquisition of new knowledge, skills, and understanding that enables an individual to become more competent in a particular domain such as language, science, math, or social skills. Cognitive development can be described by different models which include biological markers, cognitive functioning tests, psychometric tests, behavior rating scales, and cognitive psychology tests.

In a globalized world with more than 200 countries and languages, the concept of “culture” is difficult to pin down. Cultural values can be influenced by religion, race, ethnicity, or geography. Cultures are also constantly evolving and adapting in response to many factors including political upheaval, war, or natural disasters. The United Nations Children’s Fund estimates that “about 130 million children live in difficult circumstances due to poverty” (Masten, 2018). When children experience negative influences such as high rates of violence or low rates of education they often suffer from impaired physical health or developmental delays. One area where almost all children experience some degree of cultural influence is language. Most children in developed nations learn at least two spoken languages by age five; by adolescence, they are typically fluent in an average of four languages.

Children from middle-class families generally have greater access to resources and opportunities than children from low-income families. In the United States, for example, more than one in five children live in poverty. According to a recent study by The Annie E. Casey Foundation, less than half of children who grow up in families earning less than $15,000 per year will graduate from high school on time. The situation is not much different in developing countries where an estimated 68 million primary school-age children are not enrolled in school. The disparity between rich and poor is also apparent when it comes to many health indicators.

The political landscape of a country may be defined by the level of economic development, armed conflict, religious and ethnic diversity, or totalitarian rule. For example, life expectancy in Iraq is currently 37 years and almost one in four people are living under military occupation. In some countries, political issues like ethnic tension have led to violence against children as well as forced child soldiers (Masten, 2018).

A classroom is a place of learning and play for children. The adults in charge need to understand the developmental tasks that children are undertaking at specific age levels. Using several frameworks, a range of children’s developmental tasks can be conceptualized. Implementing those tasks into the classroom will help children to feel more comfortable and confident. Adults have an important role in their development as well. Teachers need to know about their development stages, which starts with understanding the major theoretical frameworks such as Jean Piaget’s and Lev Vygotsky’s (Baltes, 2019).

Jean Piaget was a Swiss child psychologist who made important contributions to developmental psychology. He observed children’s behavior in the classroom environment and studied their cognitive development. In his theory, he emphasized that development takes place as a result of interaction between an active child and his or her environment (Devi, 2019). That interaction leads to cognitive advances one stage at a time. For example, if caregivers change their stimulation level, children will advance to the next level of development.

In conclusion, children have different needs and adults need to know about their developmental stages so that they can provide the needed stimulation for each stage. The children will feel more comfortable when they receive supervision. When people study the development of a child and the different factors that influence his or her development, it will be easier to understand what goal he or she should have reached on a particular day and how can one change the situation.


Baltes, P. B. (2019). Life-span developmental psychology: Observations on history and theory revisited. In Developmental psychology (pp. 79-112). Routledge.

Cacciatore, R., Korteniemi-Poikela, E., & Kaltiala, R. (2019). The steps of sexuality—a developmental, emotion-focused, child-centered model of sexual development and sexuality education from birth to adulthood. International Journal of Sexual Health, 31(3), 319-338.

Devi, K. S. (2019). Constructivist Approach to Learning based on the Concepts of Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky. the NCERT and no matter may be reproduced in any form without the prior permission of the NCERT, 44(4), 5-19.

Masten, A. S. (2018). Resilience theory and research on children and families: Past, present, and promise. Journal of Family Theory & Review, 10(1), 12-31.

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