Biologydefines growth as the act of growing and getting bigger and higher.Therefore, child growth is the quantitative change in the body of thechild. Kilograms, meters, inches are some of the units that measuregrowth. On the other hand, development is the progressive increase inthe capacity and skills of functions. Child development can only bemeasured through observation (Hart,2013).According to Erikson, the psychosocial stages of development includeinfancy (birth-18months), toddler (2-3 years), preschool (3-5 years),school age (6-11 years), teenager (12-18 years), young adulthood(19-40 years), middle adulthood (40-65 years), and maturity (65-death).
InfantHead to Toe Physical Development
Atthis stage, children grow and change at an astounding rate with everymonth bringing new and exciting developments (Littlefield-Cook,Cook, Berk, and Bee, 2005).The baby’s body learn to live in the outside world. By the thirdmonth, the child can smile, raise the head, open and close the hands,brings hands to the mouth, as well as grasp objects by the hands.Between the fourth and the sixth month, the child can roll back andforth, laugh, babble some sounds, reach and grab some objects, andsit up with support. Between seven and nine months, the child startto crawl, sit without support, clap, and respond to familiar words.By the eighteenth months, the child can say some few words, play withtoys, take first steps, and pass objects from hand to the other, takeoff some clothes, kick a ball, dance to music, among otheractivities.
ToddlerHead to Toe Physical Development
Atthis stage, the child has strong muscles unlike in the infancy stage.Kochanska,Boldt, Kim, Yoon, and Philibert (2014) states that a toddler is moremobile as he or she keeping moving from one place to another.However, toddler growth is considerably slow. A toddler also hasseveral teeth. Bt the second year, the child can comfortably take offsome clothes, run and stop when he needs, walk down and upstairsholding banister, push buttons and turn knobs, drink from a cup byuse of one hand, among other things.
PreschoolHead to Toe Physical Development
Similarto toddler stage, the growth during this stage is relatively slow. Atthis stage, a child can hold and write with a pencil, build withsmall blocks, play board games, draw simple images, lace small beads,cut with scissors, buttons large buttons, play with other age mates,walk and run longer distances, and begin to dress self. Lagoni (n.d)urges children at preschool stage are more playful than any otherstage.
SchoolAge Head to Toe Physical Development
Atthis stage, a child enjoys most physical activities and has improvedmotor coordination. A school age child can run, jump, hop, and climb(Bornsteinand Bradley, 2014).In addition, a child can ride a bicycle, brush teeth, comb hair,paint words, throw a ball skilfully, handle sensitive utensils, anduse both hands independently. However, at this stage, girls appear tobe two ahead in physical maturity compared to boys.
TeenageHead to Toe Physical Development
Teenagestage, also known as adolescence, involves transition from childhoodto adulthood. Secondary sex characteristics appear and end aftersomatic growth (Hart, 2013). At this point, boys and girls havedifferent physical development. In girls, there is development ofbreasts, increase in transverse pelvis diameter, change in vaginalsecretions, starts menstruation, and there is growth of public hair.In boys, there is increase of genitalia size, growth of public,facial, and chest hair, swelling of breast, change of voice,production of spermatozoa, and rapid growth of shoulder breadth.
Theabove development can be based on three theories of development:maturational, constructivist, and Erikson theory. Maturational theorystates that a child follows a certain schedule of development eithersocially, emotionally, physically, and intellectually (Bornsteinet. al., 2014).Further, the theory state that, in an optimum environment, a childdevelop to his or her potential. Correspondingly, a child developmentis retarded in unfriendly environment. On the other hand,constructivist theory states that create knowledge, as they grow oldand as they interact with the environment. The theory urges that achild development is dependent on experiences that activities thatenhances thinking and development. Erikson’s theory focuses more onpsychosocial development. The theory states that development happensthroughout lifespan.
AGroup of Toddlers at Play
Playis an important activity in the life of any child. Play is fun andeasy. Bornstein(2014), urgesthat play is an occupation in childhood. At toddler stage, mosttoddlers are very active. However, most prefer to play alone hence,less play with other age mates. They get pleasure out of toys such asstick horse, dolls, wagon, cars, and tricycle among others. Thesetoys help in development of muscle coordination, as well as offeringexperiences in testing skills. Older toddlers of about two and halfyears can relate to each other by speaking and touching one another.During this stage, they may kick, push, and fight a child from theirplay. Based on maturational theory, a toddler is not matured enoughto distinguish various plays. In fact, they do not have favouritegames. Similarly, based on constructivist theory, toddlers they makemovements without an intention of playing since they do notsufficient knowledge of games.
AGroup of Preschoolers at Play
Atthis stage, children have parallel, associative, and cooperativeplay. Though they enjoy being around each other, the preschoolers donot interact much. They play simple games such as hide and seek. Theyalso listen, watch, and play side by side with each other. However,they are jealous and they fight over play toys. At other times, thepreschoolers will do the same thing, but not together. At the age offive, the children can communicate and plan what to do. Normally,they love pretend games. They can play house-pretend play, wherebysome will pretend to be fathers, mothers, and others children.Preschoolers are more mature than toddlers are hence, their play aremore organised and planned (Lagoni, n.d). Based on maturationaltheory, preschoolers are still in the growing stage though they aremore mature than toddlers are. In addition, they have more knowledge.
AGroup of School Age Children at Play
Schoolage children play later games. They have ability to structure theirplay with rules and regulations. They also give time limits. The playhas two or more sides, and the play is expected to be fair. The formteams which takes turns in the game. In reference to maturationaltheory, a school age child is physically ready to a complex play suchas puzzles, card games, and word games (Littlefield-Cooket. al., 2005).On the other hand, based on the constructivist theory, a school agechild has sufficient information of the play at hand. Similarly,these children are more grown and have more knowledge, there areseveral games that they can play compared to toddlers and preschoolchildren. Nevertheless, the physical, social, mental, and emotionaldevelopments of a child are interrelated.
PlayDevelopment of Children
Differentchildren in different age group have different kind of play. Atinfant stage, a child experience a play when an adult elicit laughterand smiling by playing peek-a-boo or tickling, moving the hands andfeet of the child and nuzzling his or her tummy. At toddler stage, achild enjoys playing alone. Older toddlers play with their age matesby touching and communication to them. As toddlers joins preschoolergroup, they start enjoying being around each other. They play usingsimple toys like cars, dolls, among others. Older preschools cancommunicate and how to play. School age children are more experiencedin plays. They can also play complex games such as puzzles and wordcodes. However, no matter the age group of a child, play makes achild feel good, as well as learn. They enjoy the rhythm of a melody,the beauty of colours, and the actions of the games. Moreover, playhelps them act out their fears in creative plays and to express angerand hurt.
Physiologic,Cognitive, and Moral Change
Aschildren grow old, they experience physiologic, cognitive, and moralchanges. They mature at very rates. At the age of six years, childrenexperience a critical shift of cognitive skills. At this stage, achild starts to actually “reason.” Moreover, most cultures expectchildren to start formal schooling at this age. During thistransition period, there is intensive development of conceptual andthinking skills that are consolidated in the childhood years. At thisstage, the moral development of a child involves loyalty, honesty,kindness, respect, responsibility, and forgiveness.
Atthe age of eight and nine, the moral development of a child graduallychanges. Hart(2013) states at this stage, it is complex to target specific moralchange because development depends on experience. Similar to childrenbetween six and seven years, the cognitive change at this stageexperience gradual growth. By the age of ten and twelve, childrenchange morally. Some become rebellious towards their parents and theylook upon their peers. Peer approval become significant in most oftheir decisions. They engage in new behaviours just fit in peergroup. Likewise, this age group has high cognitive skills, unliketheir younger counterparts. In addition, they have high reasoningcapacity.
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Hart,R. A. (2013). Children`sparticipation: The theory and practice of involving young citizens incommunity development and environmental care.Routledge.
Kochanska,G., Boldt, L. J., Kim, S., Yoon, J. E., & Philibert, R. A.(2014). Developmental interplay between children’s biobehavioralrisk and the parenting environment from toddler to early school age:prediction of socialization outcomes in preadolescence. Developmentand psychopathology,1-16.
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