Child development is a series of changes in language, physical, thoughts, and emotions which occur in a child at the beginning of birth to the beginning of adulthood. This is a process where the child develops from dependency to independency. It consists of all the skills a child gains throughout his/her lifespan. Child development is a social science discipline that cuts across other disciplines.
When children are born, they become curious about the environment and the people around them. They become aware of their surroundings, and they ask questions about the things that are not clear to them. The environment has a strong impact on the learning process of children. (Pianta, La Paro, and Hamre, 2008). Nature has proven to be a probable classroom where young children are provided with ample opportunities to develop physically, cognitively, and socially in healthy ways. (Kahn, 2002).
The various skills that a child learns throughout development include;
i. Social Interaction; ability to relate well with others in the environment.
ii. Cognition; the capacity to learn and solve problems.
iii. Emotional Regulation; ability to master self-control.
iv. Language and speech; ability to understand languages and speak well.
v. Sensory Awareness; ability to register sensory information to use.
vi. Physical Skills; ability to move the fingers and the whole body.
It is necessary to pay close attention to the development of children to meet their 'developmental milestones.' This allows one to know whether the children are on track with their developmental progress for their age. These check-ins will make it easier to detect any challenges or threats posed to the normal development of the children.
Developmental milestones can be seen as a loose list of skills pertaining to the development of a child, which is to be mastered around the same time for all children but not at an exact time. This is used as a guide for development and is used to mark what is perceived as normal for a specific age range. It can also be used to pinpoint the areas where a child might be having delays.
Although, one should not forget that each child has their own journeys, which are different from one another, and they have unique timeframes in meeting up with their developmental milestones.
As children begin to grow and develop, the world becomes too complex for them to understand. They start to throw many questions their parents, teachers, or any adult around them in a bid to quench their thirst for knowledge and curiosity. Most times, parents find it really hard to answer certain questions due to the nature of their complexity. Questions like, why can't animals talk to us? Why can’t I fly? As a parent, you should not disregard whatever questions your child asks. Paying close attention to the questions and providing a little knowledge would help them in their development.
The Significance of Play in Children
Do not underestimate the power of play in the development of a child. Play contributes to the physical, emotional, cognitive, and overall well being of a child. Play broadens the imagination of a child and sparks creativity. Through play, a child will be able to interact well with the environment and help in brain development. It helps the child to be able to discover what is going on and why it is happening. Play ignites the nature of competitiveness in a child and helps to boost confidence and self-worth in the child. A child will be able to enhance his or her decision-making.
Influence of Race, Culture, Ethnicity on the Development of a Child
The race is seen as the biological factors that make up the child. The idea of race has often been problematic as it is not just seen as a biological factor, but it also covers skin color, culture, and religion, etc. A child's race has an effect on development. Humans are diverse in so many areas that the concept of development can also be seen as either universally-determined or culturally-determined. It is only by examining the diversity of humans and focusing on the similarities and differences in culture, ethnicity, and culture that one would be able to understand what development is.
Children who grow up in a particular cultural setting will behave differently from other children growing up in another cultural setting. There are cultural differences in the beliefs and ways of life of children. Languages also have an impact on children, and it molds the way and manner they think.
Parents from different cultures play a crucial role in molding the behavior of their children as well as the pattern in which they think. Parents prepare their children and guide them on how they are to interact with society. It is the relationship that children have with their parents that depicts how they act or behave around others. And their Interaction depends on their culture.
Ethnicity also plays a major role in the development of a child. The practice of a particular ethnic group a child is born into will determine how well he relates with others within and outside the society.
There could be problems or challenges that affect the development of a child. It could be genetics, lack of exposure to helpful stimuli, prenatal circumstances, and the presence of specific diagnoses. Overcoming these challenges or problems is important in order to speed up the rate of development.
Child development is very crucial, and it makes up the lifespan of individuals. It is what happens in the early stages of a child that determines how well such a child will transition into adulthood. The environment that surrounds a child determines the outcome of that child. Parents should pay close attention to the surrounding environment of their children.
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