10 Quick Facts About Child Development

Child Development Facts
Russ Rohde / Getty Images

There are a few interesting facts about child development that everyone should know. Child development can be a fascinating thing to observe. One of the reasons why so many people take such a great interest in development is that it's something with which we all have experience. By learning about development, we can not only gain greater insight into our own history and experiences, but we can better understand the growth process of our own children.

Here are ten things that you should know about child development:

1. Problems during the prenatal period can impact later childhood development.

Some potential problems include prenatal exposure to teratogens such as drugs, toxins, and diseases. Genetic issues such as inherited diseases and chromosomal anomalies can also impact child development.

2. The interaction between genes and environmental variables can influence how a child develops.

Genes and environmental factors each exert their own influence, but they also interact. For example, a child's genes might dictate that he grows to be quite tall, but if he does not receive proper nourishment as he is growing he might never achieve his full height.

3. Researchers have found that parenting styles can influence child development outcomes.

Four different styles of parenting have been identified, and each style has different effects on children.

For example, children raised by authoritative parents tend to grow up to be happy and capable while those raised by permissive parents tend to have more problems with authority figures and are less successful in school.

4. When it comes to physical development in early childhood, growth follows a directional pattern.

The center of the body develops before the extremities, large muscles develop before small ones, and development follows a top-down process starting at the head and moving down to the toes.

5. The way that caregivers talk to their children plays an important role in language development.

Baby talk, also known as infant-directed speech or motherese, has been shown to aid in the development of language. The use of simplified vocabulary, exaggerated vocalizations, and higher-pitched intonations helps babies learn words with greater speed and ease.

6. An infant's babbling is actually one of the earliest stages of language development.

The development of language occurs in four basic stages: the babbling stage, the single word stage, the two word stage, and the multi-word stage.

7. Development in childhood follows a fairly predictable path and timetable.

This is why doctors and child experts utilize developmental milestones to help determine if a child's growth is on track. However, it is also important to note that there is quite a bit of variability in when kids reach these milestones. Just because a child has not quite reached a particular milestone such as walking or talking as early as some of his peers does not mean that there is a problem or that the child's development is not normal.

8. Responsive care during childhood is essential for the formation of early attachments.

Children with parents who respond quickly to their needs and play more with their kids tend to have secure attachment styles. Kids with this style of attachment tend to be more empathetic, have stronger self-esteem, and are more mature than children with other attachment styles.

9. The authoritative parenting style is often identified as the best style overall.

This style is more likely to produce children who are competent, confident, and happy. Parents with this style of parenting listen to their children and provide warmth and support, but provide limits, expectations, and consequences for behavior.

10. High quality day care can have a positive affect on a child.

While parents often worry about leaving their children at daycare or with a babysitter, developmental psychologists believe that such child care can be a positive influence on a child as long as it is of high quality. By being selective and watching out for any potential warning signs, parents can help ensure that their children receive the best possible care.

Continue Reading