Hesperian Health Guides
How children develop
The Healthwiki provides free information to 20,000 people every day.
This is made possible by donors like you!
Make a gift to support this essential health information people depend on.
Every child develops in 3 main areas: physical (body), mental (thinking), and social (talking, listening, and getting along with other people). In each area, a child learns new skills step by step in a certain order.
Before a child can learn to walk, for example, he must first learn many simple kinds of body control:
1. First, he needs to be able to hold his head up and to move his arms and legs.
2. Then he can use his arms and legs to lift himself to sit.
3. While sitting, he begins to reach, lean, and twist. This helps him develop balance – a skill he will soon need for standing and walking.
4. Then he pulls himself up to a standing position.
Before a child can have a conversation with other people, he needs to learn many simple communication skills like:
Give it to me, please.
|1. understanding simple words and requests||2. using signs or gestures|
|3. saying simple words||4. using short sentences|
|Each new skill builds on already-learned skills, like building blocks.|
Each new skill a child learns builds on the skills he already knows and prepares him to learn other, more difficult skills. So when a child does not learn a skill, this means he not only has problems with that skill, but with other skills that depend on it.
For example, if he has a problem holding up his head, he will then have difficulty learning skills like sitting or crawling in which holding up the head is important. Over time, his development begins to fall behind other children his age.