Being a parent is a vocation. It is a calling and no amount of any college degree will prepare you for the worse and the best side of it. It is a constant learning and unlearning. And if you decide to be a parent, responsibility is a huge part of it.
It would be best for any parent to understand the development stages of their child. This is just a quick review of your biology and even psychology class. This is in particular helpful especially for first time parents to understand the timeline of development of your child. It is aggregated based on age. Development of children is continuous and can be seen in their physical, language, social, emotional and intellectual development.
Although there is variance in every child, the following development stages gives a sense of universality of children’s development of skill. For example; a child has to develop walking first before it will develop into running and jumping. And it is helpful to know these aspects of development to be able to prepare you as parents so that you know what to expect or what to give to them. That is why we have this kid age-appropriate songs and storybooks.
Physical development is very rapid. Weeks after birth, the child will respond to sounds and will start to expand it’s muscles like smile and laughing. Sensations like tickling is also part of their growth. Babies will to gear towards looking at lights and colorful objects. They will try to look at the environment around them. Around 6 months, the child’s muscle begins to develop and letting them reach and hold objects. This is also known as the oral stage, children will start to put anything into their mouths..
Language in a child usually begins in their first three months. They will recognize sounds and will respond to the voices of the people around him/her. Babies begin by learning to use their voice and enjoying vocal play. Babies will watch faces and mouths to try and copy movements and sounds. It is the period wherein first two syllables will be uttered (for example, Ma-ma or Pa-Pa).
Social and Psychological Development surprisingly starts early. Babies begin to respond to voices and faces. The Mother’s soothing voice especially during breastfeeding session is the most recognized voice. Baby’s will respond to cooing and calling their names. As the child relies heavily to adults for comfort and reassurance, cuddling is very important. It makes them feel secured. And hugging and talking to them, lots of it (even we are adults we need it too!) is needed.
Babies’ Intellectual Development starts by imitation. They try out new ways to behave by observing and playing with adults or other children. Confidence and self-esteem will be formed and this should be encouraged through support and assurance from respective adults that surround them.
We can also differentiate between the Rate or the Speed of development vis-a-vis Sequence of Development.
Speed of Development involves a time frame linked to age. For example, a baby may achieve walking at 10 months unaided while another one may accomplish it at 12 months or some 16 months. The rate of child development varies it also depends on factors affecting this development such as the environment
Sequence of development, on the other hand, involves patterns and order of development linked to cognitive, psychological and physical growth. There is an expected order of things in the lifespan of the child. For instance, breastfeeding comes first, then weaning before a child is going into solid foods (puree at first), then later full meals. Lying, sitting then crawling before walking and later on running. These are the so known as the natural order of things in the life of a child.
It is important to understand the difference so that the parent can see the progress of his/her child. Knowing these developmental steps (phases) will assist in looking at the child’s development, expected changes and progression. When there is a disability, it will be diagnosed early on so that the parents are able to get the needed support.