While raising a child is extremely challenging and at times exasperating, the uncertainty surrounding it can be dealt with ease if the parents make themselves aware of the changes that a child goes through, right from its birth till the time it becomes an adult. The parents should understand that the emotional, mental, biological or psychological needs of a child are different during different stages of growth, just like their dietary requirements vary at each stage. Although the development in children is primarily determined by their genetics, their environment also plays a major role in determining how they grow up as individuals. Every child has a unique set of traits and hence it behaves in a different manner. This article is aimed at making the parents understand the development in children. This is done by dividing their development pattern in various stages and ages. It also mentions the key role that the parents play in the overall development of the children.

4 Stages of Development in Children

Stages of development in children’s can be roughly categorized by a timeline of milestones:

  1. Infants/babies (0-2 years)child's-personality-development

After 9 long months of pregnancy, this is a time when parents are fully prepared to embrace parenthood. They are subjected to challenges like several sleepless nights and almost negligible personal lives. Babies, during this period, need the most attention and care from their parents. This is the stage when the baby will make lifelong bonds with the key individuals of its life and be able to relate with them. From being completely dependent on the mother to be able to crawl and eventually walk, a lot of physical changes are witnessed during infancy. Each baby is unique and so will be its characteristics. It doesn’t take long for babies, to make their parents realize what they like and what they don’t. Parents should cater to the child’s needs accordingly. This is also an exciting phase for the parents as well as for the entire family. The family sees the baby smile for the first time, take its first step and speak its first word.

2.Toddlers/Preschoolers (2 – 5 years)

This is a phase of development in children where the little one starts to explore the world around it. Language development takes place during this period. The child learns how to express its emotions not just by expressions but also through words. Physical deages-stages-2velopment in children is dominant during this phase. This is accompanied by emotional and mental development. The child starts going to the school which opens up a whole new world in front of it. It learns basic skills at school, interacts with peers and develops the feeling of competency. This is the perfect time for parents to act as the child’s mentor and inculcate moral values like compassion, honesty and respect for elders. The parents should not confuse between disciplining the child and being too strict on it as the lattrer may result in lack of self-esteem in the child. It is imperative for the parents to discipline the child in a right manner. They should encourage its small achievements which would later integrate and translate into a giant leap, helping the child grow up as a self-confident adult.

3. School Age Children (6 – 12 years)

Five year old boy with hands painted in colorful paints ready for hand prints

This stage of development in children is far more relaxing for parents. By this age, the children become independent and require less supervision. With their moral values and self-discipline almost in place, they are mostly engrossed in studies and extracurricular activities. From celebrating their successes in sports and academics to seeing them develop new skills, this phase takes the experience of parenthood to a whole new level. But with success, the child may also be subjected to failures. This can result in the child being edgy and despondent. In the wake of failures, the child may avoid participating in new activities and might become a recluse. In such cases, the parents’ intervention becomes essential. They should teach their child that success and failures are part and parcel of life. Failures should not shatter child’s confidence rather they should be considered as learning. The child will make its own mistakes. It should know that it cannot insulate itself from failures. However, it should be taught how to pick itself up and strike back well prepared and with confidence. Trust me, children do find their way eventually.

4. Adolescents/Teenagers (13 – 18 years)


This stage of development in children is the one that is dreaded by most parents. It gets intimidating for the teen as well. It witnesses a lot of bodily and emotional changes in it, thanks to the hormonal surges taking place inside its body. They feel the need for independence, have feeling of self-doubt or over-confidence or unnecessary pressure in the mind. All of these in addition to difference is opinion in terms of social adaptation often leads to disagreement between the parents and the child .The child wants to break free while the parents hold the child back. They, being experienced, fear that the child might get into perilous situations.  The child with little or no understanding of parents’ intentions becomes a rebel. And being strict on the child only worsens the entire scenario. Hence; the parents should tackle the situation judiciously and with a lot of patience. Instead of imposing rules and regulations on the child, they should interact with the child. The parents make the child understand the pros and cons of its choices and actions. The child in this stage wants to be heard, be understood and be supported. Most of the children repelled by their parents’ behavior find their refuge in friends. These friends might sometimes give biased decisions and sometimes even mislead. It’s imperative for the parents to break the barrier of parent-children ideology and become the child’s friend. The family environment should be such that it gives him a feeling of belonging. Create an atmosphere where the child is not apprehensive in discussing his problems. Hear him out, be that person who is the child’s go-to for anything and everything. Try creating an emotional bond which you and your child will cherish for a lifetime.

Children are flowers which need to be nurtured with a lot of care, warmth and love. And if you do it right, your child will bloom in all its vigor.