There is an expected pattern of development of children and young people from birth through to 19 years. There are different aspects of child development, each child is unique and will develop in their own way and different rates, and this is a holistic process. Due to this, milestones of development are used as an average when a child reaches a particular stage to assess how far they have reached. Children can often reach particular milestones earlier or later than others. This can effect their behaviour and how they are treated by their peers, some examples of this may be due to them being taller or reaching puberty earlier etc. Many of the skills and areas of development overlap with one another. The main areas of development are physical development, communication and intellectual development and social, emotional and behavioural development. The table below describes the different stages of development from birth to 19 years old.
Communication and intellectual
Social, emotional and behavioural
Birth to 3 years
Holds up head, sits up.
Rolling, crawling, bottom shuffling.
Pulling self up.
Climbs, walks, runs.
Fine motor skills – picks up small objects, feed self.
Crying, babbling, gurgling. Recognises sounds, repeats words.
Explores environment using senses – sight and touch.
Learns to talk and starts to communicate more effectively.
Responds to smiles and then positively to others, especially familiar people. Shows egocentric behaviour, eg expects to be considered first. Wants to help adults, seeks approval.
Starts to become independent, eg wants to do things by self.
Grows taller, and outwards.
Increased agility, good balance and co-ordination.
Gaining in strength.
Fine motor skills – hold and use a pencil.
New words – language development.
Increased memory skills.
Curious, asks questions.
Shows awareness of right and wrong.
Express feelings – likes and dislikes.
Develops self-help skills, eg dressing self
Good understanding of rules and co-operate with others, take turns. Likes to be with other children.
May copy unwanted behaviour – swearing, biting or kicking to gain adult attention.
Refine physical skills such as running, jumping and skipping. Fine motor skills improve-handwriting.
Develop physically – body proportions similar to adult.
Become more body conscious.
Wider use of language.
Develops writing skills.
Can expand on previous knowledge.
Has longer attention span.
Interested in more complex activities.
Enjoys company of other children.
Is able to play on own.
Becomes less concerned with adult approval. More concerned with peer approval. Participates in games with rules.
Rapid physical change – puberty.
Boys’ voice breaks.
Body consciousness increases.
Articulates and argues point competently.
Forming own opinions and views.
Has a competitive streak.
Can be harder to communicate with.
Belonging to a gang becomes important. Desire for peer approval.
Strongly influenced by role models.
May become self-conscious, eg too fat/tall.
Can be very supportive towards others, eg people with SEN.
Turns into adults
Have reached physical maturity
Thinking about careers and university choices Qualifications required to further themselves
Focus on areas of strength
Enter adulthood needing advice and guidance Lack experience
Vary in emotional maturity
It is important to remember different aspects of development interlink with one another. For example physical activities such as playing football not only develops the child’s physical skill but also their social and communication skills. Religious education helps with social, emotional and behaviour development but also develops the child’s communication and intellectual development. This in turn helps them to understand the different backgrounds which further assist...
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