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Characteristics of Developmental Periods

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Characteristics of Developmental Periods

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As we watch our children grow, very little thought is actually given to the five different stages of development. The journey from infancy to late adolescence is filled with emotional, physical and cognitive change. As parents, we witness each of the five stages (infancy, early childhood, middle childhood, early adolescence, and late adolescence) with wonderment and fascination. The key to enjoying each stage of development is being able to identify and understand the unique characteristics of each stage.

“A distinctive cry, physical reflexes, an attractive smile, and a brain alert to both novelty

and sameness” (McDevitt & Ormrod, 2004, p. 18) describes an infant. From birth to age 2,

babies grow and learn at an amazing pace. Curiosity, language development, and physical

independence are key factors from this first period. By age 2, a child has entered what is known

as early childhood. This stage, from ages 2 to 6, demonstrates a tuning of the motor and

language skills. Kids use scissors, run, and jump. They begin to use imaginations and “

become progressively more interested in others, eagerly spending time with playmates”

(McDevitt & Ormrod, 2004, p. 19).

Ages 6-10 is known as middle childhood. “Children display motivation and persistence

in mastering the customs, tools, and accumulated knowledge of their community and culture”

(McDevitt & Ormrod, 2004, p. 20). Friendships and expectations of themselves are taken more

seriously than before. Once a child enters early adolescence, from ages 10-14, more major

changes occur. Maturation of sex characteristics and an influx of hormones makes for a

somewhat awkward phase, especially since kids mature at different rates. Preteens and teens

begin to assess their place in their world and their increasing independence.

The final stage of development is late adolescence and occurs between the ages of 14-18.

Kids are faced with difficult...

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