Children develop at different rates and in different ways. By playing with them or by spending time with them teachers, caregivers, parents, can note improvements in their behaviour and signs of development. However, development in children occurs over five main domains. Parents and teachers should be mindful of these domains. There are milestones in each domain, depending on the child’s age that parents can keep a track of, to ensure healthy development of the child.
Children attain many developmental milestones during the first five years of their life, from sitting up, crawling, and walking in the first year to hopping and climbing by the time they are five years old. These years are crucial for a child's growth. However, their growth is not only evaluated by their physical prowess. The Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Child Development Program training and curriculum specialist Dianna Fryer stated that there are five crucial domains in a child's development. These domains include verbal, socio- emotional, physical, cognitive, and moral development. The five important domains serve as the foundation for the JBSA CDPs' early childhood education strategy, but they can also serve as a guide for parents as they support their children's development.
Physical Development: This refers to changes in a child's body size, shape, and physical abilities, such as fine and gross motor skills.
Cognitive Development: This involves a child's growing ability to think, understand, and learn. It includes areas such as memory, attention, problem-solving, and reasoning.
Language Development: This encompasses a child's growing ability to understand and use language to communicate
Social-Emotional Development: This involves a child's growth in their ability to understand and regulate their emotions, as well as form positive relationships with others.
Moral Development: This refers to a child's understanding of right and wrong and their developing sense of ethics and values.
It’s important to note that these domains are interrelated and often overlap, with each affecting and being affected by others. A comprehensive understanding of a child’s development should take into account their progress in all of these areas.
Things you can try at home to measure your child’s development –
1) Play with your child: Engage in play activities with your child and observe their physical, cognitive, language, and social skills.
2) Ask questions: Ask your child questions to assess their language development and cognitive abilities, such as asking them to identify objects, explain simple concepts, or answer simple questions about their experiences.
3) Encourage imaginative play: Encourage imaginative play to see how your child uses their imagination and develops their social and emotional skills.
4) Track milestones: Keep track of your child's milestones, such as first steps, first words, or first-time using utensils, and compare them to developmental milestones for their age.
5) Use educational toys and games: Use educational toys and games that are appropriate for your child's age and abilities to stimulate their learning and development.
6) Encourage independence: Encourage your child to be independent by allowing them to do things for themselves, such as dressing, brushing teeth, and feeding.
Remember, every child develops at their own pace and it's important to focus on their strengths and celebrate their progress, rather than comparing them to others.