There are five aspects of development in babies through to adulthood. These are: social, physical, intellectual, communication and emotional.
During the first year of life, a baby will undergo rapid physical changes. Their brain will be developing quickly while they are gathering information from the world around them; they are learning to live in the outside world. They will be organising information and storing this to help them grow.
By one month old babies can lift their heads, stare at faces and see black and white patterns. At three months babies can follow objects, hold their head up, recognise familiar faces and smile. They may start to open and shut their hands and bring their hands to their mouth, grip objects in their hands and take swipes or reach for objects dangling in front of them.
During babies development from four months to nine months, they become more physical as they start to use their hands more effectively, sit up and crawl. Their head control becomes increasingly steady, they can reach out and grab objects including passing them from hand to hand, and put them in their mouths.
As their hand to eye co-ordination improves, they may start to clap and play games such as pat-a-cake. They can usually pick up objects and drop them again, for example in a feeding high chair they may enjoy dropping toys onto the floor.
Usually around 6 months babies first teeth will start to erupt with some finding this distressing and may have difficulty sleeping. Weaning is usually started around six months but may vary from baby to baby.
According to the World Health Organisation, weaning is advised from six months:
“…infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life…thereafter, to meet their evolving nutritional requirements, infants should receive nutritionally adequate and safe complimentary foods…”
(World Health Organisation)
After learning to roll over, babies will start to figure out how to move forward and backwards. There are many variations of ‘crawling’ such as shuffling on their bottoms or dragging themselves along the floor on their tummy using arms and legs. Some babies never crawl and move from scooting along to walking. They become stronger as their muscles develop and may learn to pull themselves up into standing position using objects around them such as furniture. Babies become more aware and interested in their environment and may enjoy looking at lights, feeling different textures including water or sand.
From ten months to two years there is a considerable transition from baby to toddler. During this time babies will learn to walk; usually they will walk along or ‘cruise’ along furniture before they are ready to let go and take their first independent steps.
They will develop the ‘pincer’ grip which means they will be able to hold onto, for example, a spoon or food – they will be able to pick up food and place it into their mouth. Because of this skill, they will be able to hold onto a pencil or crayon and make marks on paper.
Toddlers will enjoy exploring what they can do with their bodies: they will crawl up and down the stairs, they may enjoy sitting on a wheeled toy that they can propel using their feet and legs, build a small tower and place items into a bag, or container.
Physical growth and development starts to slow down during the ages between two to four, however their strength and co-ordination will continue to develop. Their fine and gross motor skills will also be developing with their ability to use buttons and zips, throw or kick a ball and will walk up and down stairs with more confidence.
As their co-ordination is developing children will be able to start climbing: using climbing frames or climbing around the house onto objects such as chairs. They will be able to run and jump, hop, walk on tip-toe, walk sideways and backwards. Toddler’s fine motor skills will develop as they may start to use scissors, turn pages in a book, pour liquid into containers and have more control in using a pencil or crayon.
Their milk teeth have generally all erupted and potty training has usually been completed (although they may not be fully dry at night).
From starting school to puberty, ages five to twelve is a great time of progress and development, with children increasing their physical strength and co-ordination. This will allow them to take part in physical activities such as swimming, riding a bike, dancing, sports, running, jumping et cetera.
Their confidence will grow in fine motor skills as they learn to write, tie show laces and get dressed independently. At around the age of ten children will enter the stage of adolescence (although girls generally start this stage earlier than boys); physical changes will start as puberty begins, however this can start earlier or later depending on the child. During this age range children will lose their ‘baby’ teeth and their adult teeth will develop.
Throughout ages twelve to nineteen the most noticeable physically changes are those associated with puberty; this is the time of rapid physical development.
As previously mentioned, adolescence generally starts earlier for girls than of boys. Hormones from the pituitary gland will kick start the onset of puberty, usually around the age of twelve/thirteen in girls and fourteen/fifteen in boys.
Boys muscle mass will increase which can change their physical stature; pubic hair will grow, as well as their scrotum and penis.
Girls breasts will grow, their menstrual periods will begin and pubic hair will grow. Their shape will also change, and as their fat percentage increases they will appear more rounded or curvy. Most girls have reached their full height by the age of fifteen, and boys will continue to grow in height and weight during their teenage years. Children’s growth rate can vary enormously, although they do generally follow the same pattern.
Babies social and emotional development starts initially with their mothers (or their main carer). They will communicate their needs using the only method they know (and are physically able to) which is crying. They cry to express their discomfort or needs, i.e they are hungry, tired, cold or whether they need attention for their emotional comfort. Once their needs have been met they will (usually) settle again.
They may be distressed and upset by changes in routine, or unfamiliar people; thus babies thrive on regularity.
During the first few months of life, the bond with their parents strengthens, and they will begin to interact by smiling and making eye contact. Their attachment to familiar caregivers will grow and they will become more social around four to six months of age.
From six months infants are able to express their emotions using facial expressions and can show anger or happiness; they will express what they like or do not like. For example they will show happiness to see a familiar face, a favourite toy or mirror.
During the ages of six to twelve months, babies will use these emotions to show their preferences for certain care givers and separation anxiety may start. They will recognise familiar people and will become aware of strangers; they will demonstrate preference and affection for their main care givers and will start to respond to their name by turning and looking.
Throughout the years of one to three, toddlers will show an interest and enjoyment of ‘playing’; they may play next to another child (although not play with another child until three or four years of age). They may copy adults or older children’s actions or words and may imitate, for example, carrying out chores in the home, and they will start to play alone.
They will enjoy helping, for example by tidying toys away and will express love and affection to parents, familiar people or pets. Children will start to enjoy playing ‘house’ by using role play, and may try to copy older children’s games.
They may feel a need to become increasingly independent, wanting to dress themselves for example, and may become angry or frustrated if they cannot complete their tasks. This independence can also develop into assertiveness and stubbornness with some children using the word ‘no’ and wanting to get their own way. Toddlers at this age find it difficult to control or express their emotions the same way older children and adults can; they develop a range of emotions and if they are tired or irritable this can result in tantrums or aggression.
They may show more fear or anxiety in some situations such as being in the dark, or when they are in an unfamiliar situation. Children at this age respond well to an ordered, predictable routine and still need support and security of their caregivers. Having said that, most will begin to separate more easily from parents if they were to go to nursery for example.
Between the ages of three to five, children develop emotionally and they,
“…learn more about their feelings and begin developing friendships with other children their age. Children begin to understand the difference between right and wrong at this age. They look to their parents for limits and rules and will often test these limits” (NorthShore.org)
At this age, children will enjoy taking part in imaginative play such as dressing up and will get better at sharing and taking turns. They will enjoy playing games with simple rules. They can listen to others while they are speaking and can stick with a task for a longer period. Empathy will increase as will independence, however mood swings will still be present especially when tired or if they have been over stimulated.
During ages five to twelve, children will encounter an array of emotional and social situations that they will have to deal with. Starting school will introduce a new world of social interaction; friendships will be developed and they may feel concerned with how other children feel about them.
At this stage in their lives, children are laying down the foundations that can make a difference to how they learn, how they handle mistakes and how they see and interact with the world around them. They are building relationships with other children and adults as their self confidence and values extend, but it’s important that they feel emotionally secure to give them the self confidence and freedom to explore and learn.
As their independence grows, children will start to feel more comfortable spending time away from parents, such as at friend’s or family homes. They may enjoy competitive games and taking part in team sports; whilst making and maintaining friendships they will form their own social circles. Feelings of empathy and sympathy will increase as they understand a different viewpoint from that of their own; they will become aware of other people’s needs.
At around the age of eleven children may feel they need their own space and may prefer to be on their own or with friends rather than with their family. Puberty can bring immense emotional and social changes; adolescents can find it difficult to maintain self esteem with the onset of hormones and mood swings. Friends are very important to teenagers and they may turn to them, rather than their family for advice or support.
They may feel they need to be part of a social group for their own validation, with peer pressure and role models having a high impact on their lives.
Teenagers are more astute at looking at other’s motivations and their reasons behind their behaviour; and more insightful to the possible consequences of one’s actions.
When a baby is born, they quickly become aware of the world around them, and will show an interest in exploring their surroundings. Within the first few months of life, a baby will begin to recognise familiar faces and respond to familiar sounds. They will enjoy looking at themselves in the mirror and looking at other babies, whilst enjoying ‘peek-a-boo’ and pop-up type games. Babies intellect begins through imitation; they will start to imitate facial expressions of others and will see differences in people based on their look, sound or feel. They will develop a better understanding of what is familiar and will watch others while exploring different objects in their environment.
As they approach their first birthday, babies will show happiness in familiarity, such as their parent’s face or their toy. They will enjoy looking at picture books and can understand that an object is still present even if they can’t see it (for example a toy hidden behind another, larger toy). Their personalty will start to shine through, and their curiosity and emotions will become more apparent.
Between the ages of one and three, children will start to match similar objects, sort, and can also show differences. They will start to recognise and find familiar items in a book and will feel proud when doing things independently.
Their imagination increases as they play ‘pretend’ with dolls or toys and they can better remember recent events. Children will start to enjoy playing with simple puzzles and matching shapes, and will begin to stack rings in order of size.
Toddlers will dance to music and enjoy trying to create their own music. They will be able to respond to simple directions and understand simple stories; they may be able to tell others what they are doing and will learn to count.
From the ages of two to five, children’s understanding grows as they start to learn shapes, letters and numbers. They will be able to sort and match, organise by size, identify parts of a whole (such as a door of a house). They may enjoying building with smaller objects to make something bigger (such as lego) or threading beads to make a chain. Children should be able to draw a simple picture and play with an activity for longer. They should be able to identify a few letters and numbers and count objects up to five.
Between the age of six to ten children have a better understanding and awareness of their environment, however they will generally only think about what they can experience themselves. Their imagination will increase and they will be able to concentrate for longer periods of time; most will enjoy reading for themselves and will be able to recall more information and have a better understanding of what they have read (or watched).
Their academic ability will increase; they will be able to count up to twenty, recognise numbers and identify lower and upper case letters. Their reading and writing skills will develop as will their mathematics understanding.
Cognitive development shows that,
“After age ten, a child’s thinking begins to evolve and to take in more abstract and symbolic ideas. He or she will also gain a batter understanding of consequences, even though he or she may not yet grasp how these consequences will impact his or her own life” (NorthShore.org)
As mentioned in the quote above, teenagers are able to differentiate between imaginary and real concepts. They will be increasingly able to think about how other people think and feel about various topics that affect their life, and may enjoy debate. They may start to look to their future and consider which path their career should take.
Although children do not start fully talking until the age of around two, language is being developed within the first few months of life. Early on, babies will start to develop different cries to convey different emotions (such as hunger or tiredness).
At around two months old babies will start to gurgle, or ‘coo’ and will turn their head towards sound or voices. By around five to nine months old, a baby will be babbling and gurgling, repeating sounds and experimenting with volume (especially if they get a positive response).
Babies may enjoy looking at others speaking and will watch their mouths moving while they talk; they may try to copy facial expressions or stick out their tongue. They will also start to smile and show affection, and enjoy songs and rhymes.
From twelve months, they may start to name objects and endeavour to communicate through their own kind of speech. They will however understand far more words than they can say themselves.
They will recognise their own name and will point to show something they want or are interested in. They may know simple parts of the body by pointing to them and can wave bye-bye. Toddlers start to combine two words (sentences such as ‘I come’); they may follow simple instructions and ask simple questions.
From the age of two, toddlers will begin to learn many new words and use longer sentences (for example: ‘me want drink’). They will understand between fifty and two hundred words.
Between the ages of three and seven children’s language skills are further developed and their vocabulary is increasing to thousands of words. Books and rhymes will be enjoyed and toddlers may want to join in. They may start to refer to the past tense but may not use the correct words. They may be able to describe past events and respond to questions; they will enjoy using their imaginations in their speech and singing along to simple songs.
Children’s language will continue to become more complex, they will be able to express themselves more clearly and will show curiosity by asking many questions. At school their reading and writing skills will increase with practice, and they should be able to retell or remember short stories. Their knowledge of events, addresses and names will be more accurate.
From seven to nineteen years, children will use complex language to express the words they want to convey, be it in their own speech or written work in an educational setting. Their stories will be told with more detail, and they will understand humour and may add it to their own language.
Teenagers will be able to use their language to resolve conflict; they will develop the ability to reason and argument for their views and debate. They can start to analyse written literature with detail and can tell long and complicated stories.
Q 1.2. Explain the difference between sequence of development and rate of development and why the difference is important:
The sequence and rate of babies and children’s development goes hand in hand, and it occurs simultaneously; there is A simplified example of this would be: babies hold their head up at one month, and they will roll over at three months. The sequence is holding their head up, then rolling over, the rate is doing this at one month old then three months old.
It must be remembered that in all areas of development the sequence, or order, of development, and the rate, or speed can vary enormously. However, the sequence of development generally follows a pattern. For example, a baby may crawl, then use furniture to support themselves while they ‘cruise’ along, and then start walking. Whereas another baby may not crawl but ‘bottom shuffle’ and then start to walk. So some elements of development may be missing but there is a patten to the order in which a child develops.
The sequence of development