What are the 5 stages of child development?
As children are born into this world, they will all undergo the stages of child development. Each sequence of growth and development comes with its own set of challenges and problems. Therefore, it is of vital importance that parents and guardians are aware of these changes so they can provide the right kind of support that the children need.
Every child is unique however, all children share similar patterns of growth and development. They all vary in physical appearance, mental aptitude, social expression, behaviour and personality. How these children respond to their immediate environment also changes from one developmental stage to another. As a rule of thumb, the stages of development happen in an orderly manner but how fast their progression will be would vary from one child to another.
Let us take a closer look at the broad classification of child development.
Newborn stages of child development
When babies are less than 1 month old, they are considered to be in the birth stage of their development cycle. In this stage, babies are beginning to make sense of their immediate environment. They are usually very attached to their mothers because mothers are generally the main caregiver of food, warmth, shelter as well as supplying their other needs.
If you are a parent or guardian of an infant at this stage, you will soon notice that your baby will be able to hold his or her head steady as you hold them in an upright position. Your baby will begin to recognise faces too. At around 2 to 4 months, they will start to babble or coo and it’s a great time to take note of the sounds they make at this developmental stage.
Babies will soon start developing their motor skills such as keeping their head upright or while they are flat on their tummies. This motor development can start around 2 weeks and you can gradually increase their tummy time as they continue to grow. Take note of other reflexes such as grasping things with their hands, moving their heads when their cheeks are stroked and opening their mouths.
This is the stage between 1 to 12 months of age. Certain characteristics will begin to occur at this development stage. For instance, babies will now be able to identify their parents and close relatives and feel at ease with their company. This is also the stage where they begin to feel comfortable expressing themselves.
You will notice a remarkable improvement in their motor skills, as they can already play with toys that help improve their reaction to various sight, tactile and sonic stimuli. They can start trying to sit up while you prop them, although they may find it hard to balance themselves. You can assist them to achieve this milestone by bolstering their core muscles. This is also the stage where they love to put things in their mouths. They will soon begin teething too so make sure you protect them from any harmful objects that they could insert in their mouths.
Between the 7th to 12th months, babies can understand names and other words. As a parent or guardian, you can check if they will respond to certain names and words at this age. They will also start becoming active, trying to sit up or walk on their own. Help them out by building the strength of their legs.
This is the stage between 1 to 3 years of age and is when children will begin to show their personality. It is very important to always keep an eye on them as they love to walk around and explore new things.
To give them a sense of comfort, you can start establishing a bedtime routine and help them become disciplined. Keep them away from dangerous objects and places while they wander around. Although their motor skills have improved, they can still be clumsy. To keep them occupied, you can let them explore their creativity by giving them paper, big crayons and building blocks. These will help improve their motor and cognitive skills.
It is also important that you take the time to help them improve their language skills at this point. Help them form short sentences. With constant practices, they will soon begin talking coherently.
When children are between the ages of 3 to 5 years, they are considered preschoolers. At this stage, they will be able to do a lot of things such as making conversation, walking independently and running. This is the perfect stage to start improving their cognitive functions and make sure they are ready for school-age.
Children at this stage love to talk so make sure you engage with them through conversations. They can also learn to read and you can help them improve their reading skill, pronunciation and comprehension by reading to them. They have loads of energy at this age so allow them to stay active but make sure their play area is free from harmful objects.
When children are between ages 6 to 12, they now belong to school-aged development. This is the stage when they are heavily influenced by the world around them. If nurtured properly, children will start to show signs of emotional intelligence, thoughtfulness and cognitive intelligence.
Children at this age are full of energy and vitality so make sure you help them channel their energy into worthwhile pursuits. For instance, if your children want to play sports, support and encourage them to continue so they can exercise on a daily basis and have fun at the same time.
They will also start forming peer relationships. As a parent or guardian, it is vital that you should be involved with their social development. If your children find it hard to talk with new people, give them the emotional and mental support that they need.
You will also start to notice that school-aged children will begin showing signs of independence. If you can see that they are capable of taking care of themselves, give them enough freedom that will encourage them to make their own choices and decisions.
Play is also an important tool in bolstering the creativity, mental capacity and emotional aspect of your children. So, if you are looking for age-appropriate toys that are colourful, fun, sturdy and strong, there are plenty of choices to be found on our website Beehive Toys!