Child development encompasses all aspects of the child; physical, emotional, psychological and social. Sound development of each aspect is equally important to ensure that the child grows into a healthy and independent being. From birth to the end of adolescence marks the childhood of a person.
Each stage – infant, toddler, baby, teenager – comes with its significant and specific needs. Through each stage the child sees changes, experiences new developments and slowly shifts from complete dependency to independence. Whilst most people focus on the physical development, it is imperative to focus on the complete development.
Whilst no two children are the same and developments will vary, they can be broadly classified into common categories. Height, weight and build vary from child to child and comparison must never be the parameter to ascertain development of a child. Children are easily influenced and friends or peers play a large role in healthy development. While it is normal for children to be swayed by their peer’s opinions, the parents need to keep a check on healthy and unhealthy pressures or changes. Learning from one another is a major part of growing up and enhances social development. However, this needs to be controlled and monitored to avoid incorrect habits, opinions or images. This is also the time when learning difficulties and behavioral problems, if any, can be recognized and worked upon.
Parents need to build a circle of trust with their children. A loving home and family environment is the basis for healthy development. It is important to continue regular health and development checkups with an expert to monitor proper development. This also helps in identifying and correcting any problems in development at an early stage. The mental health of the child needs to be monitored too. Various factors may affect the child’s mental health and close monitoring and screening are the only way to identify as early as possible.
Children like to be independent and parents need to give that sense of independence. It is important to remain in control but also to allow a feeling of increasing independence to grown in a child.