Child development is the sequence of changes that occurs in a child up until adulthood. The changes include physical, thought, language, and emotional. This process covers a child’s total dependence on the parents to increase independence.
Genetics, environmental factors, and the child’s learning capacity strongly influence a child’s development. Also, with just the proper home-based practice, targeted therapeutic intervention can actively enhance a child’s development
The different aspects of growth and development in a child are measured in the following ways:
- Cognitive development – This is the ability to learn and problem solve
- Social interaction and emotional regulation – The ability to interact with others and master self-control
- Speech and Language –the ability to understand and use language(s), as well as reading and communicating
- Physical Development – the use of fine motor (finger) skills and gross motor (whole-body) skills
- Sensory development – the registering of sensory information for use
Theories of Child Development
Although history, there are countless theories on how we develop from infancy to adulthood. Proponents of such theories include Erik Erikson, Jean Piaget, Sigmund Freud, and Lev Vygotsky.
According to Sigmund Freud, children move through specific stages of development due to innate unconscious sexual desires, which end in adulthood. This theory is called the Stage theory of development.
Erik Erikson also came up with a different stage development theory. According to Erk, social relationships as a driving force in the development and referred to the developmental tasks as psychosocial stages. Erikson’s approach is one of the most comprehensive and covers human development from birth through old age.
Lev Vygotsky, like Erk Erikson, also focuses on social interactions in a child’s development. He proposes a theory in which he likened children to an apprentice role with parents mentoring them through developmental tasks.
On the other hand, Jean Piaget proposed a theory of cognitive development that suggests that children move through four different stages of learning. His approach focuses not only on understanding how children acquire knowledge but also on understanding the nature of intelligence.
The four of Piaget’s stages are:
- Sensorimotor stage: Birth to 2 years
- Preoperational stage: Ages 2 to 7
- Concrete operational stage: Ages 7 to 11
- Formal active stage: Ages 12 and up
Jean Piaget proposed a theory that fundamentally differs from Lev Vygotsky’s.
While Vygotsky emphasized society and culture and not so much curiosity and active involvement, he believed that external factors like culture and a child’s environment; and people such as parents, guardians, and peers play a more significant role.
Piaget, on the other hand, believed that development is fueled mainly from within.
How do children learn common stereotypes?
In recent years, research on children between the ages of 4-6 has proven that if you tell young children that a particular group is good at something, they are likely to infer that the other unmentioned group is not so good at it.
This particular theory sticks if the children believe that the person making the statement knows what they are talking about
Parental management of family conflict and stress & child development
An environment where there is conflict – including family conflict and stress isn’t the best environment for child development. These are not just conflicts between partners/guardians but also any difficulties with their children.
Family conflict and stress sometimes stem from outside pressures such as poverty and racism.
The ability to manage and sometimes set aside conflict is mainly the decision of the parents/guardians for successful child development. Sometimes, the solutions are beyond the grasp of parents, like teachers and schools, policymakers, service providers, and businesses bear considerable responsibility for developing education, adapting work, creating support, and decreasing poverty in ways that can reduce family conflict and stress.
This is where a child rejects a parent with who they hadf a previously good relationship through no fault of that parent.
This process where a child becomes estranged from one parent as a result of possible psychological manipulation by the other parent. Further details information can be found on The child and family blog.
The Home learning environment
It is essential to take an interest in your child’s learning at home. This involves making your house a positive home learning environment.
Children develop and learn as a result of the spaces they are exposed to. It is a combination of the actions of immediate family members and the spaces available to your child to learn with or from, including your child’s exposure to books, objects, people, and everyday experiences to help them make sense of their world.
The most important feature is their interactions with people who provide the love, security, encouragement, conversation, and positive role models to help your child thrive. A good home learning environment encourages children and young people to have positive attitudes to learning, curiosity, and confidence in themselves.
This means every time a family spends time with each other, for example, during family mealtimes, is essential for a child’s development and wellbeing.
Daily physical activities help a child’s development by providing opportunities to move, play, learn and develop skills. It also helps with their mental wellbeing
Play Deprivation: What is it? And how can we avoid or recover from it?
As mentioned above, play is crucial for a child’s mental wellbeing. While there is no agreed-upon definition of the term ‘play,’ it can be described by the following.
It is fun
- It engages the player
- The player is allowed to freely choose a play with no predetermined end goal
- It is intrinsic within each of us.
It follows that play deprivation occurs when children do not play. According to Hughes, It is the term for depriving children of experiences that are developmentally, biologically, and socially essential
Factors including: may cause play deprivation
- Unsafe play spaces and insufficient pieces of play equipment
- Too many organized sports and not freely enough chosen plays
- Very short recess or playtime at school
- High consumption of technology, including viewing and video gaming
- Over vigilant parents/educators concerned with safety and giving little access to free, open-ended play
When children are play-deprived, the results can be disastrous.
If a child suffers a moderate to severe play deprivation, it could lead to:
- an inclination to become inflexible in thought
- Low impulse control
- less self-regulation
- Aggressive nature
- Instability and shallowness in interpersonal relationships
So can children overcome play deprivation? The answer is Scaffolding!
In scaffolding in a play, the adult prepares the environment and maximizes the interaction between the child and them. It requires being fully present, ensuring you are at a child’s level, and following your child’s lead through play.
The scaffolding process is different for each child depending on the level of play deprivation. It may have to be overly structured to start with to support independence in a child, or it may just be playing next to a child and mimicking their movements.
It is important to note that there should be no end goal in scaffolding; be flexible and have fun with your child. The idea we are selling is that play is full of fun, and they are in control of their play
Play deprivation is a severe problem that we must address promptly!