After birth, a child will go through different stages as they grow to adulthood. The entire development process is divided into various stages. The different parts of the body will develop at the various stages. However, what happens and when throughout these phases of growth and development may be determined genetically. The development process is also significantly influenced by the environment. This will affect how the child will benefit from the particular development phase. Age is the primary factor used to mark the different timelines of development. During each step, the child will experience some initial development in various domains including social emotions, physical, language, and intellectual. It is important for every parent to understand the changes that take place during each development process. This way, they can be able to provide them with the necessary structures, encouragement, support and interventions for proper progress throughout the different stages. The kind of support needed during childhood development will depend on the unique interests and traits.
Continuity and Discontinuity in Development
Most of the changes in childhood development are continuous and are may be hard to notice the changes. The milestones in development can only be identified through continued but the gradual development of characteristics. On the contrary, discontinuous development is related to age periods which are referred to as stages. These stages are important for the parents and children caregivers. The stages are the individual periods that are associated with an age range. The physical and behavioral characteristics at each of these stages are qualitatively different. Some of these different levels of development may be linked to other aspects. At some times, these stages may overlap with each other. This means that a transition to another stage does not mean that the previous stage is complete.
Mechanisms of Development
Many people expect age to be the driving force to development. However, this is not the case. The main contributors to development are the environmental and genetic factors. Most of the changes like dietary need, overall body growth, maturation of functioning aspects like lungs and brain and the changes in the proportion of the body parts are dependent on the genetic factors. However, throughout the development process, the genetic and environmental factors often interact instead of independently influencing the development process. Therefore, when you alter the environment of the child, you will influence the growth and entire development. This is what is referred to as plasticity. Plasticity may also be seen as the case when the application of some hormones alters the genetic factors affecting development.