The Stages Of Development: Birth To Age Five
|Childhood is more than how a child grows. It's
about the series of stages a child goes through to get to adulthood. Going
through childhood is work, a lot of work. Each stage of a child's life has
different demands on the child. A new parent may not always be aware of what is
considered "normal" during the various stages of their child's life. Below are a
few examples of the various stages.
Birth to Age One:
This is the most important time in your baby's life. Babies often cry because
they're hungry, tired, bored, or uncomfortable (for various reasons: wet, diaper
rash, etc.) Many times babies cry to find out how their parents will respond.
This is cause and effect. It's normal for a certain amount of fussing and crying
to continue throughout a day. Be aware of your baby, and you will know how to
react. If you feel that something more might be going on, besides the normal
fussing, contact your pediatrician. This is also the age when babies are
developing their motor skills. Your baby is looking to you for approval during
this time. It's ok to make a big fuss over babies when they begin to exhibit
their motor skills: trying to sit up, rolling over, standing, etc.
Many of us have heard of the terrible twos. This is often a time when your child
is trying to establish his/her identity. They may seem difficult to handle, but
the reality is that they are simply trying to establish themselves. Give them
opportunities to choose what they want to wear, read, or what toys to play with.
Try to guide them instead of being in complete control of all their decisions.
The terrible twos and threes may seem to be two years of difficulties for the
parents. But, not all parents see it that way. This is the time when your child
is curious about his/her world. The question "why" comes up a lot. Be patient
with your child's questions. Give your children the the opportunity to explore.
This is also the time when toilet training begins. Some children will take
longer than others with toilet training. Be patient and consistent with how you
handle this period. Some children may continue to wet themselves. Mistakes
happen. If your child seems to be having a lot of difficulty with toilet
training, talk with your pediatrician. There may be something wrong.
By this age your child may develop fears or phobias. Try to reassure your child
that you will always be there for her. Children at this age are also looking for
the approval of their peers. Children need interaction with their peers to
explore these feelings. You may also notice that your child is developing new
behaviors. Do not be alarmed. Do not pressure your child to stop if you are
uncomfortable with the new behavior. Most times, it is just a phase. It's
usually a good idea to talk with your child about the behavior.
Have you ever noticed how little ones love to please others, especially adults.
Be patient with your children if you find that they are constantly following you
around. Give them opportunities to spend time with you, help out. Praise them
when they do a good job, even if it isn't quite what you wanted. Children also
suffer from separation anxiety at this age. Do not feel guilty about leaving
your little one with a sitter when you need to go out. If you are leaving your
child with a sitter for the first time, it's a good idea to have the sitter come
over and spend time with your child while you are there.
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Preteens & Teens>
by Wendy Greif
Wendy Greif is a mother and graduate of USF in
Special Education. She has taught children with various disabilities in both
South Carolina and Florida. Mrs. Greif operates an informational website for
parents and caregivers of children and/or adults with special needs (http://www.specialneedschildrenandadults.com).
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