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|Stages of Child Development|
As a new parent, you probably worry about your child’s health and development. You wonder if your child is developing normally and whether or not they are meeting growth milestones. It is important to remember that each child is different and achieves growth milestones at a different rate. However, there is a window in which your child should obtain new skills.
There are many factors that can influence a child’s development. The first gift a mother can give to her child is to lead a healthy lifestyle while she is pregnant. Smoking, alcohol, and drugs can hinder the development of the fetus, causing the baby to be born with mental retardation. To ensure a healthy baby, pregnant women should eat a healthy diet, get plenty of rest and exercise, and adhere to their doctor’s advice.
Infants at birth are usually 20 inches long and weigh between 6 -8 pounds. A newborn child lives only to eat, sleep, and remove waste from its body. The average infant sleeps about 16 hours a day, awakening only to eat. Infants are at first color blind and they do not start to see colors until about two months of age; at this point they should begin to smile. At three months the infant should be able to hold up its’ head without support from a parent. The infant should be sitting up on its own by eight months of age. At nine months of age your child will be crawling and pulling itself up on furniture. The average child takes its’ first walking steps around its’ first birthday.
Childhood is a time of slow, constant, development. Co-ordination develops from walking, to tying shoes, to learning to draw and write. As muscle mass increases, children go from walking to running and eventually doing sports.
Research suggests that infants learn to understand words before they can actually speak. At around age two, the child will start speaking by imitating sounds it hears from others around him. By the age of five, the average child should have a vocabulary of about 100 words.
Adolescence is typically thought of as the bridge between childhood and adulthood. It is during this time that there is the most variation in the window of development. One girl may develop breasts at age 11; while her female classmate does not develop breasts until the age of 13. A male may enter puberty but still be interested in toys such as action figures. It is during adolescence that maturity is developed. Adolescence is the time when the child learns about their world through experience. It is during this time that the parent must learn how much freedom to give their child while still providing them with the guidance that they need.