Children grow, develop and mature as they grow up in age. Growth phase begins with the conception of the child and continues throughout the life time. Generally, the changes occurring due to growth are more visible till the end of adolescence. Therefore its termed as the critical period of development. Here are the different phase of growth and the predominant characteristics of each of them.
Prenatal Period (From conception to birth)
This lasts for about 10 months. This the fastest growth period a single cell changes to an organism and the brain and behavioural attributes come about.
Infant (From birth to 24 months)
This is phase in which the child is totally dependent on the adults. Lots of psychological changes take place like learning of language, symbols, gross and fine motor skills begin to develop, socialising etc.
Childhood (from 24 months to 11 years)
This can be categorised into early childhood and middle& late childhood.
Early Childhood (From 24 months to 5/6 years)
During these preschool years children spend most part of the day playing. They become learn to be independent and take care of their needs to certain extent and prepare themselves for the school such as identifying letters, following instructions etc.
Middle and late childhood (6/7 to 11 years)
During these elementary school years children learn the basic skills of life like reading, writing, arithmetic etc. They get to taste a little of the real world and its norms. Their activities would be centered on achieving their goals coupled with increase in self control.
Adolescence (10/11 to 18/20 years)
This is period where major changes take place where kids start growing up to be adults. This period is marked by physical changes like increase in height, weight, change in body shape and structure, development of sexual characteristics like breasts size becomes larger, pubic and facial hair begin to grow, voice start to break. A typical characteristic of an adolescent is to get away from the family and spend more time in the company of friends and peers. They start to assert their need for independence and identity. They start to think more logically although it would be very theoretical and optimistic.
As per books, the development ends with adolescence but it’s not the reality and it continues throughout the life time of a person.
There are varying theories on the factors that influence the growth of the child. Some believe it’s the genetics while others think it’s the environment in which they grow in. There is no single opinion on the pattern of development. Some think the curve is continuous and smooth and others feel it’s discontinuous and stage like. There is discrepancy in whether the development is more influenced by the experiences in early years or the later years. These arises as the interaction of the biological changes like the physical structure, cognitive changes like intelligence, language etc and the socio emotional ones lie the relationships, personality etc bring visible changes in the humans.