Being a teacher and parent, we will want to know the 5 stages of child development. Having an understanding of the 5 stages of child development can let us better prepare ourselves for interacting with a child appropriately. This can help us build an engaging interaction with the child.
The 5 stages of child development:
- Newborn development
- Early childhood
- Play age
- School age
In this article, I will be explaining about what you can expect at each stage of child development. Additionally, you will get to learn tips on interacting with the child at each stage. This article will give you the knowledge to take advantage of the 5 stages of child development for better teaching and nurturing.
Why Are There 5 Stages To A Child Development?
Child development doesn’t happen overnight. It is a systematic process that consists of critical stages that define your child’s capacity to respond to the external environment, understand and react to various stimuli and nurture relationships with their peers and adults. It is through these stages that the child learns important skills that define them into adulthood.
Failure to ensure that each stage is addressed adequately places the child in severe risk of underdeveloped skills in certain areas. For instance, exposing your child to too much technology at a young age might seem like a savvy thing to do but it often contributes to stunted communication skills. Rather than build up their communication skill by talking with their peers or adults, your child’s constant exposure to technology slows their language development and social skills. As a parent, there has never been a better time to monitor your child’s progress through each stage with precision.
Apart from the social skills, child development plays a significant role in improving their decision-making, cognitive skills and personality traits. A common area often neglected is child mobility due to the rampant exposure to technology at an early age. The 5 stages of development dictate the need to incorporate an all-rounded approach to raise your child. That means ensuring your child must have adequate time to develop their speech, play with their peers, and improve in their creativity and decision-making skills.
In short, the 5 stages of child development define the type of adult your child will grow into. Without them, nurturing a child into a responsible and mature adult will be a difficult task.
1) Newborn development
This is the first stage of development and stretches from birth to 18 months. During this period, your child mainly learns through touch and visual experiences that are highlighted by their sensory perceptions. Have you ever wondered why your child constantly touches objects and even tries to put them in their mouth? This behavior is attributed to their need to understand objects in their environment. By tasting objects, your child can identify pleasant and unpleasant things.
During this crucial development stage, it is critical to form a strong bond with your child. This relationship from a primary caregiver will help your child develop within a consistent and loving condition during their newborn period.
During this stage, your child is focused on identifying the faces around them. They may begin to babble and coo by the second to the fourth month as they attempt to communicate with you.
It is advisable to introduce your child to various colors to develop their vision. This makes it much easier to progress and pick up on new skills as they grow older. Additional reflexes such as moving their head when cheeks are stroked and opening their mouths become a common phenomenon.
It’s common knowledge that children learn and develop new skills much quickly. Between 18 and 24 months, your child can control their head movements and clasp their hands. By nine months, your child is on course to learning how to sit without your support, respond to their name and babble a few words. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to find them babbling words associated with mother as their primary caregiver. Their diverse skills have now extended to crawling and picking up objects on their own.
As a parent or teacher, it’s imperative to engage your child in pickup games to improve their mobility. You can do this by rolling them a ball and motioning them to roll it back to you.
More importantly, this stage is characterized by a learning pattern in which the child understands the cause and effect of their actions.
3) Early childhood
As the name suggests, this development stage ranges between 18 months to 3 years of age. At this stage, your child should be well versed with walking without help, holding crayons, going up a staircase and building model blocks. On a cognitive level, they can form short sentences and follow simple directions with ease.
As a parent or teacher, it is important to instill autonomy in your child. This simply means that they should assert their stance by declaring “YES” or “NO” to choices that affect them. Your relationship with your child is the most important factor at this crucial juncture in their development. Traits such as autonomy and self-control are usually nurtured during this stage. So, the next time you find your child having a hard time making decisions, kindly nudge them by using motion-based benefits.
4) Play age
All work and no play can make your child dull, as a parent you wouldn’t want your child to experience this feeling. Allocating adequate hours for your child’s play sessions can yield more benefits than you can imagine. From developing strong bones and muscles to improving creativity, the play age holds an important role in your child’s development. In the play age, your child is gradually curious about their surrounding environment and wants to emulate you as their role models.
Have you ever noticed your child taking up a mother figure or father figure role during their play sessions? Or do you find them playing various professionals such as a doctor or pilot? Such behavior is often a direct reflection of their occupational preferences based on your influence in their upbringing.
The best part about this stage is the impressive need of your child to develop a sense of responsibility for their behavior. At this stage, your child is subconsciously wired to take initiative for their various actions.
5) School age
The School Age ranges between 6 to 12 years as your child progresses through middle childhood and into adolescence. During this crucial stage of development, your child is keen to learning and exploring by mastering various skills and enriching their knowledge. Having developed cognitive skills, your child develops stronger friendships with their friends and schoolmates while also nurturing a bond with their nuclear family. This stage is widely attributed to be a crucial pillar in a child’s work ethic and self-confidence.
This stage is also synonymous with the development of sexual characteristics and interest. It isn’t surprising to find your child developing an interest in a classmate or friend. While this is completely normal, you still need to advise your child on how to handle their emotions.
The school age isn’t just laced with positive traits. It is also characterized by worrying disorders such as ADHD that are manifested through compulsive behavior and difficulty to pay attention to important concepts. If untreated, ADHD can progress into adulthood and lead to grave consequences on a personal and family level.
Making The Most At Each Stage
In a nutshell, effective growth and development simply entails optimizing each stage to your child’s benefit. The newborn development stage calls for an optimal bond with your child to improve their speech and vision. Reflex movements should also be encouraged to trigger your child’s mobility.
The infancy and early childhood stages demand adequate speech and mobility exercises to ensure that your child develops into an eloquent and physically active individual. No effort should be spared to ensure that your child is provided with the necessary tools needed to expedite their development process.
It is important to strike a healthy balance between technology consumption and play time during the play age. As much as your child might want to spend more time on internet-enabled devices, it’s in your best interest to ensure that play time with their friends is realized.
It doesn’t take rocket science to figure out that each stage of development plays an important role in your child’s well-being. That means you need to take an active role in ensuring that your child is equipped with the necessary skills needed to thrive in each stage. From improved motor skills to excellent decision-making, your child should be in a unique position to tackle any setback with the proficiency and confidence to move forward.
Why is play important for my child? Play is vital in helping your child to interact with their peers and familiarize themselves with hobbies to gauge their interest.
How can I effectively assist my child experiencing a feeding disorder? A feeding disorder is quite common today. You can consult a seasoned nutritional expert to guide you on an appropriate course of action.