What Is Child Development?

Child development refers to the process of a child learning and developing new skills. These include a variety of skills like walking, telling time, saying specific words, and tying shoes. The skills a child learns early on will benefit them for the rest of their life. If you notice something is not moving forward, you may consider preventative measures.

There are several areas of child development you should be paying attention to as a parent, educator, or caregiver. 

Motor Skill Development in Children

When it comes to child development, there are two types to look for. Fine motor skills refers to the use of the smaller muscles in the body. For example, you see your child learning to write their name with a pencil or to feed themselves with a fork. These are the smaller but still necessary movements that children must work to perfect.

Gross motor skills refer to larger muscles. A child learns how to walk, for example. These gross motor skills allow them to do things like move around the world and perform bigger movements like skipping, jumping rope, and cooking.

Social & Emotional Development in Children

Children develop socially and emotionally when they interact with others. They learn how to say hello and goodbye and share their toys with their siblings. If you notice that your child's development is not in line with other children their own age, you can take preventative measures to ensure your child is able to have a healthy life and build good relationships.

Cognitive Development in Children

Children develop cognitively as their problem-solving abilities change. In a very young child, you can see cognitive development in the way a child expresses curiosity about their surroundings. An older child exhibits cognitive development when they learn to read. You can notice ways in which your child may not be developing cognitively so you can take preventative steps.

Speech & Language Development in Children

Children also learn how to understand and use language appropriately. You may watch a very young child learn how to use the appropriate names for their family members, for example. You may even notice a child developing correct grammar over time.

What If A Child Does Not Meet Developmental Milestones?

If a child does not meet developmental milestones, you may speak with your child's doctor about these concerns. They can help you determine if your child may need some additional resources in the form of physical, emotional, or educational support.