Difference Between Growth And Development (8 Facts)

Whether you are a parent or a teacher, it’s in your best interest to know the differences between growth and development. Having a clear understanding of the two terms will help you in formulating appropriate learning styles to improve your child’s understanding. Often, these two terms are used interchangeably to mean the same thing, but in reality, they are quite different in more ways than you can imagine.

Difference between growth and development? Growth is a measurable attribute of your child, such as their height and weight. Development is both qualitative and quantitative. It is both, as development can involve ideas such as intelligent quotient (IQ), which can be quantified as a numerical value, but is nonetheless an arbitrary measurement of something qualitative, the cognitive ability.


In this article, I will be explaining the main differences between growth and development. Hopefully, you should be in a good position to make informed decisions in matters related to your child’s education and general wellbeing. The knowledge discussed in this article is of vital importance to debunk various myths associated with growth and development. Also, you can use this knowledge to improve your teaching and nurturing skills.

Importance of Understanding The Differenence between Growth & Development

Before teaching any subject to your child, it is important to possess a vast understanding of growth and development. This knowledge is crucial in helping you formulate ideal learning styles to disseminate various learning concepts. Remember, each child is unique based on their IQ and cognitive development. By understanding such differences, you can break down your workload based on how you intend to ensure that content is understood with ease.

Understanding the differences between growth and development is also important when identifying appropriate disciplinary measures when your child is misbehaving. You can make a behavioral assessment plan and implement it based on your child’s mental and cognitive skills.

Growth refers to an increase in size evident through physical change. Growth is also used to refer to consistent growing and an increase in value. When your child increases in height and weight, then they are experiencing a growth process.

On the other hand, development refers to a process of gradual transformation. It is an improvement in the level of functioning based on the acquisition of skills. Development isn’t easily identified from a glance but only through a comprehensive evaluation of your child’s performance on various skills and memory retention.

Illustrated explanation of the difference between Growth & Development

Differences Between Growth And Development

1) Growth mainly focuses on quantitative improvement while development is associated with both qualitative and quantitative improvement. For instance, growth is associated with measurable changes in weight and height. When your child’s weight increases from 35 kilograms to 40 kilograms, then the 5 kilogram increment is attributed to growth.]

On the other hand, development is identified when substantial changes in IQ are recorded in your child’s brain power. For instance, your child’s IQ level is relatively low during childhood but can improve significantly into adulthood. Your child’s IQ level can improve from 50 to 90 after honing their creative and critical thinking skills.

2) Growth ends at maturation while development continues until an individual’s demise. As a teacher or parent, it is important to note that growth ends at maturation. Your child will experience various changes associated with growth between childhood and maturation at adolescence.

This means that your teaching approach will be different at age 6 and age 15. At 6 years, your child needs simplified information that they can understand because their brain can only process basic information. At 15 years, your child’s brain has improved significantly, and they are in a unique position to grasp and retain complex information based on their improved information processing skills.

Development is a consistent process and continues throughout life. Your child has the unique potential to absorb as much knowledge and skills to handle various life challenges into adulthood. Even at 50 years, they can exhibit advanced skills such as oratory and problem-solving skills based on their vast experience.

3) Growth is dependent on cellular changes while development is dependent on organizational transformation. Growth begins at conception and progresses into adulthood. From conception, your child’s body experiences massive changes based on changes in cellular growth. An increase in cellular size and number indicates that your child is undergoing growth.

Development is often witnessed at a home or school environment when your child experiences skillset changes. This simply means that any skills learnt such as reading or arithmetic are indicative of your child’s development changes. The older they get, the more likely they are to understand complex skills associated with computation and reasoning.

4) Growth is associated with the progressive physical change from one stage to another. On the other hand, development is the gradual transformation of behavioral and skill set changes. Differences in body size that are evident in clothing size changes reveal the growth changes experienced by your child. Also, you might have noticed that your child consumes more food than before. This can only mean that they are growing.

Development is usually characterized by behavioral and skillset changes. Your child might outgrow certain childish behavior as they approach adolescence or acquire advanced writing, oratory and computation skills. These changes aren’t out of the ordinary but only attest to the development changes experienced by your child.

5) Growth is external while development is internal in nature. Regardless of your location or occupation, you can observe your child’s growth based on visible external features. These features include increased body parts sizes such as hands, legs, ears, and much more. These changes usually manifest over time based on improved nutrition and general wellbeing. It is important to note that family instability can also affect your child’s proper growth. Too much stress from domestic strife subjects your child to stunted growth.

Unlike growth, development is an internal process and isn’t visible by the naked eye. Instead, it requires a comprehensive evaluation of your child’s reasoning, creativity and innovation to ascertain their development status. This can be achieved by setting various tests designed to evaluate your child’s IQ in relation with creativity and reasoning. Based on their performance, you should be in a unique position to accurately determine their development level and the changes that ought to be made to rectify the situation.

6) Growth dictates changes in physical appearance while development dictates change in the character of an individual. Growth is easily discernible based on changes in physical appearance. These changes manifest over time and include increased body size and voice intonation. Whether such changes are visible based on hair transformation or skin tone, you can rest assured knowing that your child is experiencing growth changes.

On the other hand, development pays much emphasis in the character changes of an individual. Your child might have been naughty during their early age but over time, they are likely to transform into a mature young adult. With each passing day, they outgrow certain habits that can only be traced back to character changes.

7) Growth takes place within a limited scope of time while development takes place within a vast scope of time. This means that growth spans from conception to adolescence depending on your child’s growth rate. During this period, your child undergoes progressive body changes designed to transform them into adults. By 25 years of age, your child’s growth rate will have peaked.

Development isn’t confined by time or age. Your child can acquire a plethora of skills to handle various tasks and challenges regardless of their location or background. The best part about skill acquisition is that it can still happen beyond 35 year old if the determination and commitment exists.

8) Growth focuses on one aspect of your child’s life. On the other hand, development focuses on several aspects of your child’s life such as emotional state, intelligence and interpersonal skills. Naturally, growth is a size-oriented process from conception to adulthood. With every increase in body size, you can monitor your child’s growth rate.

On the other hand, development is an all-inclusive process designed to analyze various aspects of your child’s life. This usually stems from the need to evaluate their capacity to interact with their peers and adults in an effective way. While their interpersonal skills might be unpolished at a young age, your child is expected to make improvements based on their advanced critical thinking and reasoning skills as they get older.

Summarized Table Comparing Between Growth & Development

Measurable physical changes (e.g., height, weight)Both qualitative (e.g., behavior, skills) and quantitative attributes (e.g., IQ)
Ends at maturationContinues throughout life
Dependent on cellular changesDependent on organizational transformation
Associated with progressive physical changeGradual transformation of behavioral and skill set changes
External in natureInternal in nature
Affects physical appearanceInfluences character
Occurs within a specific time frameOngoing throughout life
Growth is about physical changesDevelopment involves behavioral and skill set changes
Growth is size-orientedDevelopment evaluates various aspects of life such as emotional state, intelligence, and interpersonal skills
Growth is often visibleDevelopment requires comprehensive evaluation
Growth can be affected by external factors like nutritionDevelopment is influenced by learning and experiences
Growth is often associated with ageDevelopment can vary greatly among individuals of the same age

Test Your Knowledge

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It’s understandable for most people to use growth and development interchangeably. But as a parent or teacher, you need to stand out from the group and classify these two terms with a professional perspective. This makes it much easier to plan your teaching schedule and implement ideal strategies designed to yield optimal learning results for your child.

By understanding these aspects of growth and development, parents and teachers are better equipped to foster an environment that facilitates not just learning, but also holistic well-being.

Our Comprehensive Article on Growth & Development

F.A.Q. on Difference Between Growth And Development in Children

What are the key differences between growth and development? Growth refers to the measurable physical changes like height and weight, while development encompasses both qualitative and quantitative changes, including cognitive abilities and emotional intelligence.

Why is it important for parents and teachers to understand these differences? Recognizing the nuances between growth and development aids in formulating effective teaching methods and disciplinary measures. This tailored approach ensures that children can absorb information more efficiently, facilitating better learning outcomes.

Can growth and development be measured in similar ways? Not exactly. Growth is often measured through straightforward metrics like height and weight. Development, however, may require comprehensive evaluation techniques like IQ tests or behavioral assessments to understand cognitive and emotional growth.

How do growth and development impact learning styles? Growth usually has less impact on learning styles, which are more influenced by a child’s developmental stage. As a child develops, their cognitive capacities grow, demanding teaching methods that challenge and stimulate their intellectual curiosity.

Are growth and development influenced by external factors like nutrition? Yes, both growth and development are significantly impacted by external factors. Adequate nutrition and a stable emotional environment are crucial for physical growth and holistic development.

Do growth and development have distinct timelines? Growth often occurs within specific age ranges and generally slows down after adolescence. Development is a lifelong process, continuing to evolve based on experiences and learning.

How do these concepts influence my child’s future learning potential? Understanding growth and development can lay a strong foundation for future learning. Tailoring educational approaches to these aspects ensures that your child is not just growing but also developing in cognitive and emotional dimensions.

Can growth be affected by stress or external environmental factors? Absolutely, factors like stress or family instability can lead to stunted growth. It’s vital to maintain a positive environment for the child to ensure optimal growth and development.

Engage Your Child’s Growth & Development (Getting Edugaged)

  1. For your child’s growth, know the measurable objectives.
  2. For your child’s development, understand the subjective objectives.
  3. Always have a clearly defined objective to guide you. This will help to keep you realistic about your child’s growth and development goals.
  4. Aim to bring about your child’s best self.

Related Questions

Does growth and development influence your child’s future learning potential? Growth and development have the unique potential of influencing your child future learning potential. When implemented accurately by seasoned experts, your child will have a strong education foundation to understand advanced concepts with ease.

Does nutrition play an important role in growth and development? The benefits of nutrition in improving growth and development cannot be stressed enough. As a parent or teacher, it’s important to ensure that your child is provided with a balanced diet and adequate rest to ensure that their growth and development process is uninterrupted.

Info Box

This article is part of the Child Development series. Check out the guide to become a skillful parent.

Related Articles On Child Development

Factors affecting growth and development of a child.

What are the 5 stages of child development?

How a growth mindset leads to higher achievement?

How to motivate a child to study?

What are the good habits for kids?


differences, growth & development, growth and development, Parenting, Teaching

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  • Growth is the systematic means adding height and weight while development is the process of acquiring knowledge and value which last till death.

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