Child development stages are not known to be uniformly distributed among children. There is an undeniable trend that most children do not reach each and every developmental stage of their lives. Although the exact number of stages remains unknown, child development stages can be broadly categorized into three: the childhood stage, the infancy stage and the toddler stage. Below are some factors that you need to take into account when determining your child’s development stage.
Childhood Development Stage
The childhood stage is the first three years of a child’s life. During this stage, the child learns to communicate with others, comprehend and organize information, process information and make his/her own decisions. Most importantly, the child learns the basics of social interaction and remains attached to his/her parents or caregivers from this age. At this stage, the child may be able to comprehend simple words, numbers, shapes and colors, although he/she may fail to learn complex speech patterns.
The Infancy Stage
The infant stage is the stage during which the child development stage takes place. During this time, the infant learns his/her primary senses such as sight, touch and hearing. During this stage, the child does not know what is around him/her, can not express his/her needs and preferences and cannot fully understand what is going on around him/her. Emotion and instinctive behaviors are not developed.
The Toddler Stage
The Toddler Stage is generally considered the last part of the child development stage. At this stage, the child development stage transitions into the next level of development known as intellectual development. Most toddlers at this age can begin to distinguish between various colors, shapes and forms and are capable of expressing their wants and needs with verbal communication. However, the child is not capable of forming any of the concrete concepts yet and cannot make any of his/her own decisions.
The Preoperational Stage
The Preoperational Stage or first year of child development stage occurs before the child starts to learn some of the concrete thinking skills. This is the stage in which the baby can learn how to use his fingers and mouth to talk, learn to push dolls (cassettes) and understand words like ‘head’, ‘heel’, ‘bed’, ‘bath’ and ‘no’. At this time, the child can start to understand that objects have names and that they sound different when spoken or seen. He can begin to identify objects with their names and know how to name them. Preoperational stage also enables the child to learn the meaning of colors, numbers, shapes and sounds.
Language Acquisition Stages
The language acquisition milestone occurs during the second year of the child development stage and is a significant period for babies to acquire vocabulary, phonological structure, word meanings and sentence grammar. During this period, babies are able to acquire at least three basic languages namely English, Hindi and Tamil. By this stage, they can communicate using both English and their new language. Apart from this, the child can also be able to understand simple jokes and stories and make him able to build up vocabulary through imitation.
Executive Functioning Stages
The last two stages of child development – cognitive and emotional development – happen in the last year of life. Here, a baby is capable of planning ahead, organizing thoughts, managing his impulses, making choices and acting on his own. The child development consultant helps the parents in providing their infants with their own unique blend of intellectual and emotional skills. While the cognitive stage lays the groundwork for the child’s intellectual growth, the emotional development imparts the foundation of the child’s emotional intelligence.
A baby has a slow but sure transformation into an infant. His intellectual development occurs through the cognitive, expressive and intuitive stages. A baby may be referred to as an immature or an infant. Infants have their own unique set of characteristics and you might find them to be less playful than other babies, slower to catch on to instructions, not able to distinguish between hot and cold food or appear to be shy and reclusive. They cannot speak our language, but they do show some signs of awareness and curiosity. Some signs of a child’s emotional development include crying, being clingy, not responding to voice commands, getting in touch with their feelings, crawling, using hand gestures rather than words, developing rituals and getting emotionally involved in play.