The emotional, biological and physiological changes that a human being goes through since their birth to the end of adolescence are called child development. This process is the completion of the journey where the individual progresses to increased autonomy from dependency. The reason it is called development and not growth is because growth generally refers to the individual getting bigger in size, and development refers to the various complex skills and bodily systems that the child develops as it gets older.
Child behavior is a part of child development process.Â It defines the way children adapt to the environment that they are living in. As children start to explore their environment, they might sometimesÂ behave in ways that might be somewhat annoying, but they don’t do these things purposefully. Understanding your child’s developmental milestones would help you in better understanding their behavior at various stages of their development.
There are many age-specific tasks and a set of functional skills that usually children are able to do when they reach a certain age group from birth all the way to adolescence. These developmental milestones are used by your pediatrician to verify whether you child is developing normally or not. It is true that each developmental milestone is well-defined, but the actual age when your child reaches it may vary. These milestones are measured in skills like: Fine motor, gross motor, social skills, cognitive skills, and language skills.
The First Two Years
- Motor: Child is able to hold hand upright by the age of 1-1.5 months, is able to hold head steady by the age of 5 months, can transfer objects between hands by 6 months, stands using support by 1 year, can walk alone by the age of 18 months and is able to run by the age of 2 years.
- Language: Child vocalizes by age of 2 months, starts making vowel noises by 3 months, says double syllable by age of 6 months, babble two or three words repeatedly by age of 1 year, and by the age of 2 years is able to join 2 to 3 words into a sentence.
- Cognitive: Child focuses on adults and objects by the time 2 months old, looks for toys dropped and watches where they go by the age 1 year,
- Social: Child smiles at parent by age 1 to 1.5 months, starts showing stranger anxiety by the age of 6 months, waves goodbye by the age of 1 year, shows parallel play by the age of 2 years.
From Two to Six Years
- Motor: By the age of six years a child can copy a diamond shape, understand the left and right side.
- Language: By the end of six years a child becomes fluent in its speaking skills.
- Cognitive: Child when reaches six years of age can count ten or more objects, name up to four colors, understand time in better way.
- Social: By the end of six years a child can dress and undress alone.
From Six to Twelve Years
- Physical Development: Children understand the difference between girls and boys, their muscle co-ordination is almost like adults, and baby teeth come out so that permanent teeth could come in.
- Mental Development: Children are able to analyze their actions and consequences, they are able to talk through problems and solve them.
- Social: Children start showing signs of independence, show fear or death, failure, etc. Friends in the neighborhood are generally of same sex; understand the point of view of others more clearly.
- Physical Development: Child shows rapid growth in its weight and height, there is development in secondary sex characteristics, brain development is continued.
- Cognitive Development: Child starts developing advanced skills of reasoning; development of skills related to abstract thinking happens during this time, ability to think about thinking that is known as meta-cognition is developed.
- Social Development: Establishing autonomy, establishing an identity, becomes comfortable with one’s sexuality, establishing intimacy, and sense of achievement.
When a child is not able to reach the developmental milestones by the time it is expected to, then it is called a developmental delay. There are several reasons for this development delays that include: genetics causes, pregnancy complications, birth complications, infections, etc. If you think that your child is facing developmental delay you must talk to a pediatric neurologist or a developmental pediatrician.