The sequence and rate of each aspect of development normally expected in children and young people from birth to 19 years. There are four main areas of development which are; physical development, communication and language development, Intellectual development and social, emotional and behavioral development. Children’s growth and development enables them to explore their environment and to make sense of their world, to achieve new skills, to change the way others perceive them, and most importantly it aids their development of self.
It is important to understand that not all children necessarily progress sequentially through takes of development. Each child is a unique person who is a competent learner from birth, albeit within their own individual time frame. As a practitioner we must meet the individual needs Of the children by carrying out effective observations and then planning play and activities in order to enable each child to reach their potential.
Physical Development To measure children’s physical development, professionals look at the skills that children have acquired. These skills are sometimes referred to as milestones and are linked to children’s ages. The milestones have been determined by looking at large groups of children’s development and engendering what the ‘norm’ (normative measure) for each age is. This means there will always be some variation with some children showing development that is in advance of or is below the milestone.
Significant delays in reaching milestones are likely to be monitored and investigated. Fine and Gross Motor Skills In the first year of a baby’s life various milestones should be reached, these include fine and gross motor skills. At birth babies have very few skills, they should have the basic reflexes such as opening and closing their eyes when they see bright lights or hear loud sounds. Some gross motor skills babies would have at birth include their head should be turned to one side when lying on their back.
By three months a baby should be able to clasp and unclasp their hand this is an example of a fine motor skill because it is the coordination of a small muscle movement which usually occurs in places such as the fingers, usually in coordination with the eyes another example is that by 6 months a baby should be able to reach for a toy and move it from one hand to the other and will also be putting objects into their mouth.
An example of a gross motor skill at this age would be that they can roll over room their back to front, which puts them in the best position for tummy time to encourage crawling they may also move their arms to indicate they want to be picked up. This is a gross motor skill because it is a larger movement that a baby would make with its legs, arms, feet or entire body. By eight months old, they are able to sit steadily, or with minimal support, and often crawl or make some effort to move independently.
While experience does influence development profoundly, a baby is given a head start by the existence at birth of various reflexes. A reflex is an unconscious, spontaneous response to a tumulus. A classic example is if someone taps the knee in a certain place, the leg shoots out. Babies have a number of these reflexes these are, palmary and grasp reflex, rooting reflex, sucking reflex, moor or startle reflex, plantar or foot reflex and Banking. The palmary, rooting and sucking reflex support immediate interaction with the mother through touch and feeding.
The startle reflex suggests that the baby is primed to respond to surprise or fearful situations, and the plantar and Banking reflexes illustrate a potential wiring up of basic motor movements that have been formed by the baby’s actions in the womb, for example curling of the toes. It is difficult to separate the child’s development of muscular control from the impact of visual input. Newborn vision is limited to orientating to single targets, especially faces, but by the age of three months vision appears to be sufficiently integrated for the baby to switch attention from one thing to another.
Around the age of five or six months the babies visual control of reach and grasp suggests an awareness of near visual space that is the baby can reach for things close by quite accurately. From eight months onwards both find and gross motor events are becoming steadily under control. At this age babies begin to look for dropped objects. The skills of letting go emerges at about the same time so babies will often practice this by dropping objects and hoping that an adult will pick it up. Babies may also be able to stand unsupported by balancing using their outstretched arms.
It is only when muscles are sufficiently strong and coordinated to both support the baby’s weight and to follow a specific direction that babies begin to pull themselves up and take a Step. The time at which a child walks alone depends on opportunity and the hill’s own determination, the type of encouragement and muscle and balance development, but it usually happens between twelve and fifth teen months. As the child approaches eighteen months, walking become steadier and the child may want to climb. Again, this is a practice of motor skills and special skills as the child begins to get the idea of up and down.
Children also have more control over their bodies by being able to kneel steadily and sit down on a seat. Fine motor skills require much trial and error. For example attempts to use a spoon will often require some practice before it is fully starters, children should be given as much encouragement and independence to allow them to practice this skill. The ability to pick up small items using a pincer grasp also become more refined as the child becomes more able to let go of objects ad begins to post objects and handles toy bricks.
By eighteen months children have usually achieved sufficient control over their hands to use them together to build small towers, to mark make, to use the palmary grasp and to turn the pages of a book. Being able to run is the next step in the child’s growing set of motor skills. Running becomes less cautious and more confident as children reach their second birthday, although there will be individual variations as children need to feel safe walking before they can run. As children develop running becomes faster and can change directions.
Most children will now be able to kick a large ball without falling over, and bending down to pick up toys is now quite usual. Fine motor skills will now be much more developed and towers will become higher and objects can be placed more precisely. As independence increases with development children can begin to dress themselves. As children turn here all their skills they have developed so far will continue to grow, however children will begin to focus more on individual interests, for example they are more likely to further their degree of skill in a certain area if they are interested in it.
The abilities to walk, run, climb, build, thread and make marks are all new or nearly new and children will want to consolidate their skills by repeating some actions over and over. The actual physical growth and development of children between five and eight years is less marked than during the earlier years. From the age Of six years children begin to lose their iris teeth. The permanent teeth start to appear around this age but the full completion of 32 teeth might not be present until the 24th year of age.
Children are moving towards developing a good sense of balance and control and towards the end of this stage begin to enjoy activities such as climbing, ball and playground games that involve precise fine and gross motor skills. Between eight and twelve years is a period of slow steady growth, followed by a period of rapid growth just before puberty, which usually occurs in girls between the age of nine and thirteen years and boys between ten and sixteen ears. The physical development of children does vary greatly and although some may reach sexual maturity around the age of nine others mature much later during adolescence.
Some children develop exceptional motor abilities that enable them to excel perhaps in some form of sport for example football, netball, swimming or running. All children during this time are refining their fine muscle coordination by enjoying activities such as building models, playing musical instruments, practicing their computer skills. The onset of adolescence means that growth accelerates and children experience series of changes both physical and physiological. They become taller and heavier and the proportions of their bodies change. There are changes in their strength, suppleness and stamina.
They become sexually mature, developing primary and secondary sexual characteristics. Their nutritional requirements change accordingly to meet the changing needs of their bodies. The growth spurt lasts for around two years, on average girls reach adult height two years earlier than boys. This rapid acceleration can lead to temporary decline in balance and coordination during early puberty. Diet and Nutrition Breast feeding Today national guidelines state that breastfeeding alone is best for babies until they are six months old, however this may not always be possible.
The choice about how to feed a baby is a personal one for the parents of the baby, made with support from midwives, heath visitors and doctors. Although breastfeeding is considered the ideal way of infant feeding, not all mothers enjoy it or may prefer bottle feeding. Some mothers may supplement breastfeeding with formula feeds, for example if they are unable to produce enough breast milk to feed a hungry baby or are returning to work. However, reducing the amount of breastfeeding reduces the supply of milk, and this can ultimately bring breastfeeding to an early end.
Another reason why a mother may not be able to breastfeed may be because in the very early days the baby may have difficulties latching on and does not feed properly from the breast. Midwives will be able to support new mothers with this if the technique is not correct or new mothers are finding this difficult. Without proper latching on a baby will not get the milk they need and the mother’s breast will not be stimulated to produce more, initiating in a vicious cycle Of or milk demand and poor milk supply. What’s more is the mother’s nipples may become cracked and very painful when the latch isn’t right.
A breast infection called mastitis or sore and cracked nipples can make breastfeeding extremely painful for the mother. Mastitis can occur at any time during breast feeding but is most likely to happen within the first six weeks. The condition usually affects only one breast as it is rare to have an infection in both breasts at the same time. Mastitis develops when germs, either from your skins surface or from your baby’s mouth, enter your breast through a crack in your apple or through one of the milk ducts. Bacteria then multiply, causing in infection.
Clogged milk ducts that are not unplugged can also lead to mastitis as can wearing too tight clothing which restricts milk flow. Mastitis can cause swelling, pain and redness to the breasts but mothers suffering may also develop a fever and other flu like symptoms. They may also feel exhausted, run down and generally week. Other reasons why mothers may not choose to breastfeed is that they may find it too tiring as it takes a lot of energy for your body to produce enough milk to feed a hungry baby. They may also feel o embarrassed to breast feed in public.
The mother may be taking certain prescription medication that may not allow her to breast feed as the medication may be passed on to the baby. Some mothers choose to express their milk to enable the baby to be bottle fed, again there are many advantages. By bottle feeding it is obvious how much milk the baby is taking so this reduced any concern about underfeeding. It also reduces any embarrassment about breast feeding in public. It allows other people to feed the baby such as the father or an early year’s practitioner if the parents choose to go back to work early.
This will strengthen the bond between father and baby and also give the mother times to rest. It can also be helpful for mothers returning back to work as they are still able to breastfeed and give their babies the best nutrition but able to go back to work as well. Although increasing numbers of mothers are starting to breastfeed in the K, there remains a rapid decline in breastfeeding rates in the first few weeks after birth. In the UK as a whole, one fifth of breast feeding mothers stop within the first two weeks of their child’s birth and over one third stop within the first six weeks.
There are many advantages of breastfeeding one being, it contains the right amount of nutrients at the right temperature and is always available without risk of contamination. Breast milk contains antibodies to boost the baby’s immunity, which give resistance against different infections for example chicken pox. Breastfeeding your baby means it is less likely to result in the baby being overweight; it helps delay or avoids eczema, and it does not cost and has a huge impact on the bonding process between the mother and baby also breast milk is associated with better cognitive development and lowers he risk of cardiovascular disease.
Diet During pregnancy the developing baby gets the nutrients it needs to grow from the placenta. Once the baby is born it will then receive these either from breast milk or formula, whatever the mother chooses to do. It is recommended that babies should not be given anything other than milk until the age of six months, however every baby is different. If solids are given before the age of six months then gluten should be avoided. Gluten is a part of wheat which can sometimes cause a severe reaction to some babies’ guts, leading to a condition known as celiac disease, which can cause diarrhea ND prevents food from being absorbed.
From the age of six months a baby will begin to move on to other foods in addition to breast milk, this is when the weaning process will begin. Weaning is the term used to describe the process of changing a child’s feeding from being dependent on milk to eating solid foods. There are many ways which parents can do this. Some parents like to begin with baby rice or some form or puree. Others may begin to give their babies food which has been softened by cooking and then pureed mashed or chopped. It is important to offer a wide variety of food textures so the child learns to chew.
Slowly other foods can be introduced including vegetables, fruit, meat, fish and dairy products. However a baby under one year old should not be given CoWs milk as a drink (it can be used in cooking after six months), any additional salt to foods, or sugar. Vitamin supplements containing vitamins A and D are recommended from six months for babies who are having breast milk as their main milk drink. The best way to judge when to wean a baby is when they are still hungry after feeds, they can sit up, they show interest in solid foods, they are able to pick up foods and put it to their mouths and they want to chew.
Some parents may choose to do baby led weaning. This is were you allow your child to deed themselves from the beginning of weaning. Most children are interested in and begin to reach for food at around six months which is the same time as parents are encouraged to begin the weaning process. With baby led weaning parents can cut up foods into manageable size sticks and offer it to their child, there are no purees involved. With pure babies learn to swallow first and then chew, however some children then struggle to move onto lumpier foods.
With baby led weaning babies learn to chew first and then swallow. There are many benefits to baby led weaning one being babies are able to play an active part in meal times, they can be in control of what they eat, how much they want to eat and how fast they eat it, this will make it more enjoyable. Baby led weaning develops independence as they are learning to feed themselves. Baby led weaning uses the skills that are developing to help them to explore food at their own pace and allows babies to follow their instincts to use their hands and mouths to find out about their foods.
With spoon feeding all the tastes are pureed into one, baby led weaned babies can discover different sates and begin to recognize foods they like. Research shows that baby led weaned babies are keen to try new foods and are less likely to become fussy with foods. Baby led weaned babies learn to manage different shapes and textures of foods from a very young age so they will quickly become skilled at dealing with a variety of foods. Babies can also learn how to move food around inside their mouths and how much they can safely put in their mouths.
Practicing chewing also helps to develop the facial muscles needed to talk. Children between the age of one and five are growing rapidly and becoming ore active, they will also have high energy requirements, and will be developing teeth and bones however they do have small stomachs. It is important that between this age they are eating foods which are high in energy and rich in nutrients, and are eating small but frequent meals. Full fat cow’s milk is a very good source of several nutrients including Calcium, protein, vitamins 812, A and D.
Children between the ages of five and sixteen years are yet again growing and becoming even more active they should still be receiving all the essential nutrients however there is a greater importance for a balanced diet. Between five and fifteen percent of school aged children are over-weight and developing a healthy diet and lifestyle is important in the weight management of children. There are five main food groups. Bread, cereals and potatoes These provide carbohydrates which are needed to provide energy.
Starchy carbohydrates are broken down and converted to glucose which is either stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles or is circulated in the bloodstream where it can enter cells and be used as energy. Dietary fiber is not absorbed but passes through the gastrointestinal tract, helping to keep it healthy before being excreted. Calcium helps develop and strengthen the teeth and bones. Iron, which is needed for the formation of hemoglobin in the blood. And B vitamins are principally involved in energy metabolism. Fruit and Vegetables Which contain vitamin C which helps in the structure Of connective tissue and bones.
It is needed for wound healing and helps the absorption of iron from non-meat sources. It may help to prevent the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Carotenes contribute towards the development of vitamins A Foliates are needed for the formation of blood cells. Milk and Dairy products These contain Calcium which is used in the development and maintenance of teeth and bones. Protein is essential for the growth and repair of the body, with any excess used to provide energy. Vitamin BOB is used for the formation of blood cells and nerve fibers.
Vitamin A is needed for the maintenance and repair of tissues necessary for growth and development. It is essential for the immune system to function and to help night vision. Vitamin D helps with calcium and phosphate absorption from food and is essential for healthy teeth and bones. Meat, fish and alternatives These contain Iron which is for the formation of blood. It is also part of many enzymes. Protein is essential for the growth and repair of the body and vitamin A for energy metabolism Zinc is needed for growth of tissues, immune function and wound healing.
Magnesium is needed for bone development and nerve and muscle function. It also helps in the function of some enzymes involved in energy use. Foods containing fat and sugar Vitamin A is needed for healthy mucous membranes and helps with vision Vitamin D is essential for the body to be able to use calcium to strengthen bones and teeth. Vitamin E helps the development of strong muscles and is also important in healthy skin. Vitamin K is important in the blood clotting process. The British Nutrition Foundation developed the Balance of Good Health as a simple pictorial guide to the essentials for a healthy diet.
The guide shows that all foods can be eaten as part of a healthy diet, however some foods in moderation. Foods from the largest groups should be eaten most often and foods from the smaller groups less often. Bladder and bowel control Leaving nappies is a huge step for children. It is the first step towards independence and is a huge milestone in children’s lives. The term “toilet raining” is often used to describe this process although this suggests that children can somehow be taught to do this.
This is not the case, as gaining bladder control is largely dependent on the maturity of the child’s nervous system. There are many different approaches to toilet training although it is generally considered to wait until children are showing signs that they are ready. It is important to work with parents and respect their wishes if they take other approaches to this. Some signs that children may be ready for this transition may be that they realize when their nappy needs changing and may mint or even ask to be changed, or verbally tell you.
If their nappy is dry for long periods of time this may indicate that they are gaining some bladder control, this usually happens between the age of 18 months and three years. They may become interested in toilets and potties and may want to sit on them. It can be a good idea to start by leaving a nappy off a child and showing them a potty when it is likely that their bladder is full. If a child seems to be concerned about using a potty it is important you do not force the child or become irritated. This may indicate that they child is not ready to start the recess.
Children must not feel pressured into potty training and this could lead to them becoming overanxious and will result in them feeling too tense to allow the bladder to release the urine. It is inevitable that children will have accidents while going through this transition. Children may sometimes not understand the signals their bodies give out telling them their bladder is full until it is almost too late, especially if they are engrossed in an interesting activity. Children will often need reminding from time to time.
Rest and Sleep Without sleep we are not able to function properly, concentration, mood and Emory are all affected, and if sleep deprivation is severe, the brain can suffer long term damage. One theory about sleep is that the body needs time to rest and recover while the brain needs time to gather and store information. During sleep the body functions slow down. This means that breathing, heart rate and other body systems also slow down. However during sleep the brain is active. There appear to be two types of sleep phase, with both being required in order to wake up refreshed.
Having enough sleep is particularly important for children because during sleep growth hormones are released from the pituitary gland. The amount of sleep that children and adults need is different. As you get older you tend to need less sleep with most adults requiring between seven and eight hours of sleep. Most children under the age of five will need at least twelve hours of sleep a day although this will vary. This does not necessarily mean that children will sleep for twelve hours at one time as young children will often take naps during the day.
Brain Development Maturation of the nervous system is linked to growth and brain development. In terms of physical development, this growth affects the development of fine ND gross motor skills. A good example of this can be seen in children between the ages of six and eight, when there is significant neural growth. This helps children’s fine motor skills and improves the fluidity of their movements. It can also be seen in the way that children find handwriting easier and start to enjoy more demanding sporting games. Between conception and age three, a child’s brain undergoes an impressive amount of change.
At birth, it already has about all of the neurons it will ever have. It doubles in size in the first year, and by age three it has reached 80 percent of its adult volume. Even more importantly, synapses are formed at a faster rate during these years than at any other time. In fact, the brain creates many more of them than it needs: at age two or three, the brain has up to twice as many synapses as it will have in adulthood. These surplus connections are gradually eliminated throughout childhood and adolescence, a process sometimes referred to as blooming and pruning.
The early stages of development are strongly affected by genetic factors; for example, genes direct newly formed neurons to their correct locations in the brain and play a role in how they interact. However, although they arrange he basic wiring of the brain, genes do not design the brain completely. Instead, genes allow the brain to fine-tune itself according to the input it receives from the environment. A child’s senses report to the brain about her environment and experiences, and this input stimulates neural activity. Speech sounds, for example, stimulate activity in language-related brain regions.
If the amount of input increases (if more speech is heard) synapses between neurons in that area will be activated more often. Repeated use strengthens a synapse. Synapses that are rarely used remain weak and are more likely to be eliminated in the pruning process. Synapse strength contributes to the connectivity and efficiency of the networks that support learning, memory, and other cognitive abilities. Therefore, a child’s experiences not only determine what information enters her brain, but also influence how her brain processes information.
The excess of synapses produced by a child’s brain in the first three years makes the brain especially responsive to external input. During this period, the brain can “capture” experience more efficiently than it will be able to later, when the pruning of synapses is underway. The brain’s ability to shape itself – called plasticity -” test humans adapt more readily and more quickly than we could if genes alone determined our wiring. The process of blooming and pruning, far from being wasteful is actually an efficient Way for the brain to achieve optimal development.
The development of the brain begins in the first few weeks after conception. Most of the structural features of the brain appear during the embryonic period (about the first 8 weeks after fertilization); these structures then continue to grow and develop during the fetal period (the remainder of gestation). The first key event of brain development is the formation of the neural tube. About two weeks after conception, the neural plate, a layer of specialized cells in the embryo, begins to slowly fold over onto itself, eventually forming a tube-shaped structure.
The tube gradually closes as the edges of the plate fuse together; this process is usually complete by four weeks after conception. The neural tube continues to change, eventually becoming the brain and spinal cord. About seven weeks after conception the first neurons and synapses begin to develop in the spinal cord. These early neural connections allow the fetus to make its first movements, which can be detected by ultrasound and MR.. Even though in cost cases the mother cannot feel them.
These movements, in turn, provide the brain with sensory input that spurs on its development. More coordinated movements develop over the next several weeks. SECOND TRIMESTER Early in the second trimester, gyro and usual begin to appear on the brain’s surface; by the end of this trimester, this process is almost complete. The cerebral cortex is growing in thickness and complexity and synapse formation in this area is beginning. Myelin begins to appear on the axons of some neurons during the second trimester.