Development is a continuous process that starts from conception and ends with death. The development of a child does not only mean physical growth. It means all the physical, emotional, mental, behavioral, intellectual, and speech changes that occur from birth to early adulthood in an individual. 

It includes all the changes in an individual from conception to early adulthood. Children’s early experiences and relationships in the first eight years of life are crucial for development.

Developmental changes may occur due to the genetically controlled process called maturation or occur due to environmental factors and learning. Most changes occur as a result of interaction between two individuals. It may also occur due to human nature. 

The behavioral and physical skills seen in most children at certain age are called developmental milestones, or Skills or specific tasks that most children can do at a certain age are known as developmental milestones, for example, an infant’s first smile, or the first word they speak. 

Characteristics of Child Development

The milestones covers the five main domains of child development.

  • Cognitive Development

Cognitive development means children`s ability to think and explore things around the world. It helps children to understand their environment. It helps children to understand the relation between ideas, to understand the cause and effect process. It enhance children`s analytic skills. 

  • Socio-emotional Development

This domain of development deals with the child`s ability to interact with others and their perception of feelings. This development milestone help children to learn how interact with other in society and adopt social etiquettes.  

  • Gross Motor Skills Development

Grass motor skills helps to make large body movement using large muscle group, arms, neck, leg, feet to move body. It includes the movement of whole body, for example an infant crawl or sit or roll over while sitting. 

  • Fine Motor Skill Development

Fine motor skill is the ability to make movement by using small muscles of hand and wrist. For example children use their fine motor skill to dial a number on phone, turning lock keys or to pull something. It is different from grass motor skill which uses long muscles to move. 

  • Speech and Language Development

In this domain children`s communication skill develop. Children learn how to communicate with others. By the age of six, most cildren learn the basics of language. It helps your child to express their feelings and thoughts. 

Stages of  Child Daevelopment

The child development period is typically divided into six stages. 

  • New Born           (0-3 months)
  • Infants                (3-12 months)
  • Toddlers             (1 year – 3 years)
  • PreSchool Age   (3 years – 4years)
  • School Age         (4 years – 5 years)
  • Adolescents        (10 years – 19 years)


Principles of Child Development

Child development relies on the following principles.

Principles of continuity

The principle of continuity follows the developmental continuous process. It means that an individual`s physical, cognitive, emotional, social, intellectual, and behavioral changes occur throughout the whole lifespan. 

Principle of Integration

The principle of Integration means a child starts to merge different parts with the passage of growth. A child starts to speak a sound and later he mixes this sound with a word and then this word moves towards an inappropriate sentence and then again it integrates with appropriate sentences.  

Principle of Interrelation

According to the principle of interrelation different developmental dimensions like physical development, social development, emotional development, etc are interrelated. They are interdependent for example, a child`s early social behavior depends on his physical growth and development. 

Principle of Individual Difference

Every individual is different from the others. He or she has his own personality. This difference can be seen through their developmental dimensions like physical, behavioral, social, etc. for example if a child likes to eat vegetables then it is not compulsory that the other one also like it.  Individuals should be treated according to their personalities and interests. 

Principle of lack of Uniformity in Developmental Rate

We know that development is a continuous process, but some inconsistencies are also found in the developmental rate. The rate of development in different dimensions such as social, moral, physical, and intellectual development is not the same. 

Sometimes, the developmental process is as speedy as it can be observed and noticed directly. And sometimes the rate of development is very slow that it can not be noticed directly or often seems like it has ended. 

Principle of Uniformity Pattern

The developmental process of each individual follows a certain pattern despite some individual differences. It is a pre-determined proces that which development comes after which, for example, a child has milk teeth first before any other teeth.