The growth of children is essential for growth into full adulthood. It is essential for every human’s well-being. Children’s growth and development is the process of increasing, developing, and maturing. The growth of children doesn’t just happen at once. It happens gradually. If a parent has a child that is not growing as he or she should, then it poses a concern for that parent because it is expected for a child to grow. It is the essence of a human being.
The terms “growth” and “development” have been used interchangeably a lot of times and to mean the same thing. However, they have different meanings when used biologically. Growth means to increase or change physically such as height, weight, size, etc. Development on the other hand means orderly qualitative changes in a meaningful fashion which enables the child to grow into maturity.
These definitions establish the fact that growth and development can be used simultaneously and inseparably.
We will explore factors that affect children’s growth and development in their first twelve years. There are several stages of growth and we will also be exploring those stages in this article. Furthermore, we will look at expected places where children are expected to develop or grow.
Table of Contents
- Factors That Affect Children’s Growth and Development
- Stages of Children’s Growth and Development
- Categories of Children’s Growth and Development
Factors That Affect Children’s Growth and Development
Children inherit some genes from their parents and they refer to such genes as hereditary. This is because these features were passed down from their parents to them. Genes inherited from parents influence physical attributes such as height, weight, body structure, hair texture, eye color, aptitudes, and intelligence.
Diseases as well can be passed from parents to their children. Such diseases are heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. These genes affect the development and growth of children adversely. However, when handled correctly, some of these already present situations can be curbed.
Children’s growth and development makes these inherited qualities start to show in children.
The environment that children grow in also contributes to their growth and development. It could either be positive or negative. When a child is nurtured well, there will be an obvious difference between such a child and the one that attention isn’t paid to. The environment contributes to the development of a child by helping such a child to build strong social and interpersonal skills.
The family is the first environment a child gets exposed to. The family must show love as much as possible to their children so that they can grow into loving adults. Enrolling your children in good schools will also help them to do well in their academics and even beyond, that is extracurricular activities. In the environment, parents should monitor the growth of their children.
This is another major factor that affects the growth and development of children. The way a male child will grow is different from the way a female child will grow. This is due to the puberty stage where they will have diverse biological developments in their bodies. Male children develop physical attributes that will enable them to develop physical rigor for athletic activities.
Also, male and female children develop an interest in different things. Not a lot of female children grow up to like football and other sports that require physical strength. Also, not a lot of male children grow up to be so concerned about fashion and related things. Therefore, sex also affects children’s growth and development.
Exercise and Health
When children engage in physical exercise, they increase muscular strength. It also helps them to maintain good health and a strong immune system. When we expose them to outside activities, they build resistance to certain allergies. Exercise contributes to the growth of children.
The endocrine system houses our hormones and these hormones contribute to the functioning of our bodies. The glands that produce hormones are situated in different parts of our bodies to secrete these hormones that contribute to the way our bodies function. When there is an imbalance in the way the glands that secrets hormones in our bodies function, it leads to hormonal defects. It also affects the behavioral pattern of an individual. It could also cause diseases.
When children grow old into puberty, their bodies also start producing sex hormones that contribute to the development of sex and reproductive organs in boys and girls. This is how hormones affect children’s growth and development.
Nutrition is one major factor that contributes critically to children’s growth and development. Eating well contributes to building the body as well as repairing it. Not eating or feeding well is what is malnutrition and it contributes adversely to the growth of children.
Children must eat a balanced diet for them to grow appropriately and a balanced diet should include carbohydrates, vitamins, proteins, fats, and minerals.
We need to show children the proper amount of love for them to grow into positivity. This affects the way they grow psychologically and socially. They need enough care as well. Families should learn to invest enough time and energy into the growth of children. Reading to them, playing with them as well as having meaningful conversations with them can go a long way in their psychological development.
Families who abuse and treat their children with contempt are not helping their children in any way. Instead, they’re grooming them into negativity. These children might be affected socially as they would find it very hard to interact with other people when their families are not even there for them.
The place you live also has a great influence on children’s growth and development. This is because your children tend to be influenced by the geographical location that they grow up in. Wherever you live will take a major part of their schools, neighborhood, exposure, and opportunities the community offers. When a child grows up in an enriched society, such a child will be developed skillfully. They will also develop in their talents and behavior. Furthermore, the weather also affects the bodily rhythms of your children and other health conditions that they may have.
The socio-economic status 9f a child also has effects on the things such a child will have access to. It will influence the quality of things they will have access to as well. When children get schooled in expensive schools, they will have access to so many learning resources and school kits that other children in cheap schools will not have access to. So this as well contributes to the growth of children.
Learning and Reinforcement
Learning is beyond schooling. It goes as far as building up your children mentally, intellectually, emotionally and socially, so that they can cope well in virtually all areas of life. With this, children develop and grow into maturity.
Reinforcement on the other hand is the process of repeating an activity so that children may solidify what they learned. So no matter how difficult a lesson may seem, to ensure the growth of children, they need to be taught repeatedly.
Stages of Children’s Growth and Development
There are eight stages of growth.
- Middle age
- Old Age
- Dementia and Death
However, we will explore just three in this section of the article together. This is because it is about their first twelve years and specifically deals with the growth of children. The ones we will explore are as follows:
Infancy includes children between ages 0 to 18 months. Children in this age range are solely dependent on their parents and the people around them for everything they need. This is the stage that is between birth and acquisition of language.
At this stage, they also sleep a lot for at least 16-18 hours a day. They are also involved in activities such as sucking, grasping, blinking, and limb withdrawal. The ideal food for infants between zero and six months is breast milk. However, when they start growing teeth, they start introducing them to foods other than breastmilk. In their first year, the growth of children should have enabled them to grow about six teeth.
This age includes children from eighteen months to ten years. At this stage, they can become more independent as well as develop fine motor skills. It is a period of learning, playing, socializing, exploring, and getting more independent. They are still dependent on their parents for some things, however, they are no longer dependent on them for little things like taking their baths, brushing their teeth, getting their school bags, arranging some of their stuff, and the likes. This stage of growth of children is essential.
Preadolescence or Preteenage
At this stage, the growth of children changes into the stage of puberty. The age range at this stage is in between ten years of age to twelve years of age. They begin to have social, emotional, and physical changes occur in them. They also start preparing for their teenage years at this stage. At this stage, they encounter rapid growth physically, psychologically, psychosocially, and cognitively. Also, at this stage, they develop life skills and habits that would become part of them when they eventually become adults.
Finally, it is this stage they can correct bad attitudes easily.
Categories Of Children’s Growth and Development
How would it feel if your child stays in one position physically after so many years? You would feel bad. The physical growth of children has to do with the increase in body size. This includes an increase in height, weight, and length. For the first two years of a child’s life, he or she should grow rapidly. Their hair grows, teeth grow, until in their adolescence stage when their major growth of puberty starts again.
Physical Growth is very important because it contributes to preparing them for activities like language development, social skills, and other essential areas of learning.
Children must grow into using cognitive skills. The growth of children goes all the way to cognitive development. They should be able to think as well as process information. Cognitive development has to do with areas like processing information, reasoning, memory, and language development. It is a thing for a child to be able to acquire information. It is another thing for that child to be able to process information which they need for effective communication.
Social and Emotional Development
Another kind of growth and development of children is social and emotional development. He is she must be able to interact well with himself or herself and with others around him or her. They must grow to be active members of society. They must be able to interact well with other kids, older people, and people in authority like their teachers, headmasters, or mistresses.
Speech and Language
Communication is a vital skill that children must develop. This is a vital stage of the growth of children. This is because it holds the key to interacting with people around them. As early as twelve months old, they can start saying their first words even into adulthood. So you as a parent must train your child to develop language skills and be able to understand and interpret them for communication purposes. Your child needs to have a good understanding of the worlds he or she is in and be able to express himself or herself in that world.
Fine Motor Skills
Movement is also an essential part of the growth of children. These fine motor skills include using small muscles of the hand, eating, dressing, writing, and simple duties. If it is the case that your child finds it difficult to use these fine motor skills, playing with them can help. They should also engage in activities like writing or drawing with chalks, and putting puzzles together.
Gross Motor Skills
Gross motor skills include walking, kicking, throwing, lifting, moving, and balancing themselves with their strength. As children grow, they should be able to develop these skills.
In conclusion, growth involves a connection between the body and mind. As your body grows, your mind develops.
However, you shouldn’t worry about it if your child grows faster or later in life. Do not be worried about the speed of the growth of your children. Every child has their own time to fully grow and develop. They are different so they grow at their rate.
However, if you notice that your child isn’t growing properly or is slow in their growth, talk with your pediatrician before you give yourself unnecessary stress.
Help your children in all aspects of life by grooming them to become better adults for tomorrow.