The physical development which occurs in an infant includes the hair staring to grow and teeth begin to appear. Some infants may begin to walk; they also gain weight and grow taller. The baby cannot yet digest its own food so they breast feed off their mother. A baby has four type of reflex’s, the rooting reflex which helps the baby get the mothers nipple into their mouth by turning their head when touched on the cheek, the grasp reflex when the baby will hold on tightly to anything that comes in his hand for example if you put your finger into a baby’s hand it will hold tightly onto it, the walking reflex when they will try to make movements as soon as they touch the ground and the startle reflex where they will throw their hands in front of them. At this age they are still unable to sit up right or hold their heads up.
Starting to talk and babble things like ‘mama’, ‘dada’ becoming curious about things is some sign of intellectual development. Toddlers at this age will begin to pick up, investigate with things and attempt to put them in their mouth. They will also begin to understand that certain actions have responses, for example if they squeeze a toy it will make a noise. A new born doesn’t have a fully developed brain but can identity sounds and the smell of their mother.
Emotional development at this age would be vital as they know who their parents are. For example if a baby is crying usually if their mother picks them up or holds them they know that it’s their mother and that they are safe, whereas if someone they are not used to picks them up they will see the person as a stranger and start to cry. Parents will show their infant encouragement, joy and love as much as they can so the infant begins to recognise it. The infant’s self-esteem will grow from having a good relationship with the mother especially as there is more of a maternal bond.
Social development will begin to play and interact with other infants at a playgroup or kindergartens. Begin to speak to the children and should by then understand the simple meanings e.g. yes and no, hello and goodbye, come here etc.
The physical development which occurs in childhood is that they also continue to grow taller and their hair grows rapidly. They lose the baby shape and their growth slows down. When the child reaches the age of about 5-6 their teeth begin to fall out. The child muscles also begin to develop. The child’s head will be 90% of its adult size by the age of 6.
Intellectual development is when the child begins to read and write. They begin primary school and start their education. They learn how to spell their name and to read simple books. They may be able to skip or ride a bicycle by the age of 6/7.
The child’s emotional development includes temper tantrums, may experience and understand ‘FEAR’.
A child’s social development begins to expand and they begin to make friends and they learn the concept of sharing. They begin to understand different situations and how to handle them but they still depend on their carer/parent.
Girls usually start puberty between the ages of 10-13 (maybe younger in some cases) and boys usually start between the ages of 13-15, this life stage which is triggered by hormones, prepares them for sexual reproduction and is vital. In this life stage physical development means the teenager begins to grow body hair, they may begin to receive spots on their face or elsewhere. They also begin to experience mood swings from their hormones being out of balance. The girl’s hips begin to widen, her pubic hair and underarm hair begins to grow and they start their period. Their sexual organs e.g. ovaries and vagina etc. will also grow. Boy’s shoulders begin to broaden; they grow taller rapidly and their penis grows and they begin to produce sperm. They also begin to produce facial and pubic hair. The prostate glands begin to produce secretions and pubic hair begins to grow.