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The principles, stages and sequences of growth and development in children

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There are many developments throughout a child’s life such as physical development, social and emotional development, intellectual development and communication development. Physical development is when the body changes and you start to develop fine motor skills such as writing. Social development is when you start meeting new people and become more involved in relationships and the society. Emotional development is when you start expressing your own feelings and emotions about different situations.

Intellectual development is when you start learning new things, this is also called cognitive development. Communication development is when you start using speech to communicate and start listening to others talking. There are three main principles of development, the first one is that development starts from the head and works down the body, the second is the development happens in the same order no matter what but may occur at different rates and the last is that all area’s of development are linked together. The five stages of development are infancy, early years, childhood, puberty and adolescence.

Infancy starts from birth to one year, early years start from one year to three years, puberty starts from eight to twelve years and lastly adolescence starts from thirteen to sixteen years. A milestone of development refers to the age at which most children should have reached a certain stage of development, for example, walking alone by 18 months, or smiling at 6 weeks. Many children will have reached that stage of development much earlier, but the important thing is whether a child has reached it by their milestone age.

Average ages are set for development stages, and these will be different. An average age is in the middle of the range of ages when all children reach a certain age, for example, for the walking the range can be from 10 months to 18 months which makes the ‘average’ age for walking 14 months. The important thing to consider is that all children develop at different rates and may be earlier achieving some aspects of development and later in others so therefore no one must become objective. Infants at birth have reflexes.

A reflex is an automatic body response that the person has no control. Blinking is a reflex which continues throughout life. There are other reflexes which happen in infancy and also disappear a few weeks or months after birth. Some reflexes, such as the rooting and sucking reflex, are needed throughout life. The rooting reflex causes infants to turn their head toward anything that brushes their face which helps them to find a breast or bottle for a feeding. When an object is near an infant’s lips, the infant will begin sucking immediately.

This reflex also helps the child get food. This reflex usually disappears by three weeks of age. The Moro reflex or “startle response” occurs when a newborn is startled by a noise or sudden movement. When he/she is startled, the infant reacts by flinging the arms and legs outward and extending the head. The infant then cries loudly, drawing the arms together. This reflex usually disappears after two months. During infancy a baby’s body will be growing, its senses will become stronger and its personality will start to develop.

An Infants physical abilities are: can lift head while lying on stomach, can roll over both ways, can sit without support, can pass an object from one hand to another, can stand holding on to someone or something, can pull up to standing position from sitting position, can pick up a tiny object and can walk holding on to furniture. An infant’s social and emotional developments are: can respond positively to the main carer, can seek attention, can become interested with things around them, can recognise familiar and unfamiliar faces and can start to play alone.

Infants intellectual developments are: can turn to soft light, can put everything in its mouth, can look in correct direction for falling toys, and can recognise familiar people at 6 metres. Finally infants communication developments are: can cry when basic needs require attention such as hunger/tiredness etc, can become quiet and turn its head towards the sound of the rattle near its head, can babble loudly and tunefully, can know its own name and ca understand ‘no’ and ‘bye-bye’.

A child in its life will never grow as fast as when it is an infant than at any other time after its birth. The physical development throughout early years is: can walk and run on full feet, can use spoon well, needs assistance during getting dressed, can ride tricycle, can build tower of nine blocks, can draw a person with a head and can snip with scissors.

The social and emotional developments during early years are: can show concern when another child is upset, knows their own identity, can have greater social awareness, can have close friends and can play alongside others. The intellectual developments through early years are: can point to parts of body, can paint with brushes, can point to interesting objects outdoors and can tend to enjoy picture books.

To finish off with the communication development are: can hold simple conversations, can count to 10, can be understood by strangers and can still make mistake of tenses. For the duration of childhood, physical development is less dramatic than in early childhood however the developments are: can tie and untie laces, can ride a bike and skate, can improve physical skills that have already developed, and puberty starts around 10 for girls and an increase to their body strength.

Their social and emotional developments are: can be able to form firm friendships, can play in separate gender groups and may have concerns about thoughts of others about them. Their intellectual developments are: can reason and apply logic to problems, can become more creative with play and can read and write confidently. Communication developments made are: can give full name, age, address and birthday, can enjoy jokes and singing etc. and can accurately copy accents heard. Adolescence is the phase of switch from being a child to an adult.

The decreases in physical developments are: brains can develop with increase of reaction time and co-ordination, for girl’s puberty is complete at about 14 and period’s start and for boy’s puberty is 13-16 and they will become stronger than girls. The social and emotional developments that occur are: the body change and this therefore can upset self esteem, need to resolve changes in adulthood, want to spend more time with friends than family and peer pressure becomes a huge influence.

Their intellectual developments are: will question sources of information, will become globally aware and choice relating to future education and careers being thought about. Finally the communication developments are: most children are fluent speakers, readers and writing of their language. In conclusion, development occurs throughout everyone’s life no matter what. Things such as physical development, social and emotional development, intellectual development and communication development are all natural causes which help progress everyone’s abilities.

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