The five stages of child development are an important part of understanding how children grow and develop. From newborns to school-age children, each stage brings its own unique changes in terms of physical, speech, intellectual and cognitive development. These changes are known as developmental milestones, and they can include taking a first step, smiling for the first time and saying goodbye. It is increasingly recognized that early and middle childhood provide the physical, cognitive and socio-emotional foundation for lifelong health, learning and well-being.
Early childhood, middle childhood and adolescence represent the three stages of child development. Each phase is organized around the main development tasks for that period. All children develop at their own pace, but studies have shown that those who are not provided with enough mental stimulation are prone to behavioral problems, low self-esteem, poor attention and insecurities that can last well beyond childhood. To ensure that children have the best chance of developing as they should, strong parent-child bonds, good nutrition, adequate sleep and a safe and nurturing environment at home and school are essential. If children do not meet expected milestones, a health care provider may evaluate them for developmental delays. Development tends to occur in the same order for all children (for example, you have to learn to stand before learning to walk), but the deadline is flexible.
Failure to reach certain milestones may indicate medical or developmental problems that require special attention.Erikson's developmental stages provide an insight into how a child develops from birth to adulthood. A study suggests that some babies who develop ASD are already showing differences in social communication as early as 9 months. Many parents believe that playing “educational” games or watching “educational” television for hours every day helps develop children's cognitive and communication skills. Growth and development include not only the physical changes that occur from infancy through adolescence, but also some of the changes in emotions, personality, behavior, thinking and speech that children develop as they begin to understand and interact with the world around them. Your child's doctor can evaluate your child for any developmental delay using validated screening tools at or between follow-up visits. It is impossible to know exactly when a child will hone a certain skill because each one develops at their own pace.
However, developmental milestones will give you a general idea of what changes you can expect as your child grows up. If your child is following a slightly different course than expected, don't be alarmed - it is perfectly normal.