Child Development And Care: Stages And Factors That Influence Child Development

Meaning Of Development

Process of development starts the moment conception takes place. Development is a patterned and continuous process with predictable sequence that has unique course for evey child. In order to know when the child is having problems in developing, it is necessary to understand child development.

Meaning Of Growth And Development

Child’s growth from infancy to adolescence involves great changes in appearance (physical look) and body size. Growth pattern of every child varies because of differences in heredity and environment. Therefore growth can be defined as physical change in child’s body size or a particular part of the body of a child. Development is progressive acquisition of various skills such as holding up his/her head, speaking, holding toys, climbing, standing etc. Growth and development processes go together but at different rates. Growth is reasonable and can be measured by weight, height, the eruption of teeth, head circumference a mid upper arm circumference etc.

Stages Of Child Development

Children undergo different stages of development from infant to adolescent. During these stages there are multiple changes in growth and development of the child.

Stages Of Development

The following are the five types of development:

Physical, mental, socal, emotional and moral development. These domains of development are interrelated, each affects the other.

1. Physical Development

Physical development is the physical growth that starts from the human foetus and continues to adolescence. It is a visible development which can be observed and measured.

Post-natal physical development of a child begins with the development of muscular control which enables the child learn how to move his/her body, hands, feet and fingers and uses his/her senses and movement to explore the world around him/her. This aspect of development includes many different tasks and abilities a child needs to develop and adjust to the world; examples, learn to crawl, hold cup, walk, run and recognize others. Physical development is basic to all other aspects of development because it influences other types of developments. Example, the ability to engage in mental activities will depend on how well the brain is developed physically.

2. Intellectual Development

Intellectual development is the child’s ability to think, reason and understand his world. Intellectual development starts shortly after birth, at this stage babies learn to use their brain to play, respond to their parents, siblings and people around them and also familiarize themselves with their environment. This is the period a child develops imagination and problem-solving skills and also language and communication skills. Intellectual development continues throughout lifetime, but can be interrupted by illness and emotional insecurity.

The two areas of intellectual development are: language development which involves how a child organizes his thoughts to make sense of the world he found himself in; and cognitive development which concerns how a child reasons and thinks to understand his world. At this stage of development, children ask so many questions because they are ready to learn.

3. Social Development

Social development refers to child’s relationship with others. Social development implies learning the norms and values and skills that enable children to interact effectively with people around them, the family, school and the community. Parents and care-givers are the primary people that pass the knowledge of value, norms and good behaviour to children. This is the stage children co-operate with others, develop trust and security and basic optimism which make children become active members of the society. Social development is all about socialization which occurs slowly over time.

4. Emotional Development

Emotional development is growth in the child’s ability to express feelings in acceptable ways to caregiver’s, parents, siblings and others. Emotional development starts in infancy and continues into adulthood. At the early stage of a child’s life some emotions are visible. These include fear, joy, sadness and anger. As the child continues to grow complex emotions like pride, shyness, surprise, embarrassment, will also gradually manifest. The child also learns to understand emotional state of other people, co-operate with them and also develops trust and security and basic optimism. Children’s emotions are mostly influenced by their thoughts.

Children cannot manage their emotions alone, there is need for parents, teachers and caregiver’s to observe and monitor children to help them understand and accept their feelings and develop positive strategies for managing them.

Parents, teachers and caregiver’s should be role models to children because children learn about emotions and how to express them by watching others.

5. Moral Development

Moral development involves children learning a system of rules that guide human behaviour. This is the stage children are guided by their parents, teachers and caregiver’s to understand the difference between right and wrong, and consideration for other people. The child’s morality is formed by a number of factors. Particularly the quality of relationship the child has with his/her family, peers, teachers and other adults.

Other types of development (emotional, intellectual, social skills and physical maturity also has great influence on the moral development of a child. Moral development is hereditary but develops in stages. Children learn from people who are close to them. Parents should help to build moral values in their children by being role models, loving them and giving them the sense of belonging. It is necessary that children are encouraged when they exhibit good morals.

Factors That Influence Child Development

There are many factors that influence child’s development. These factors can be divided into two main factors which is heredity and environmental factors. Heredity are factors that the child carried from conception to birth, while environmental factors are those factors that affect the child from after birth.

1. Heredity Factors are as follows:

a. Genetic: These are the traits a child inherited from biological parents which influence the physical, mental and other qualities of the body. At conception a child inherits 23 chromosomes from each of the parents which amount to 46 chromosomes. These 46 chromosomes carry the genes that determine most of the child’s characteristics such as skin colour, height, type of hair and colour, colour of the eyes and blood group. Gene traits cannot be changed especially the internal factors such as blood group, and colour of the eyes. Every has his or her own set of gene combination; no two individuals have the same set of gene. Gene also influences mental intelligence and character of individuals.

b. Mother’s Health: Pregnant mother should take care of herself very well. As soon as a woman finds out that she is pregnant, the first thing to do, is to get in contact with her doctor to organize antenatal care where good advice for healthy pregnancy will be given to her. Eating balanced diet and going for medical check-up are mandatory to ensure that the condition of the baby is perfect. If a mother is in good health condition the foetus will also be in good condition but if the mother is ill the child may carry the ill health into the world.

c. Maternal Nutrition: Mother’s nutrition has a big role to play in the development of the foetus. Adequate diet that contains all the classes of food in good proportion is necessary for the mother and child. Poor nutrition during pregnancy can affect the physical and cognitive development of the child. Pregnant mothers should increase their intake of fruits and vegetables, whole grain carbohydrate and protein such as fish, meat, eggs, nuts and milk.

2. Environment Factors

Many factors Influence the child’s growth and development. The condition of a child’s environment plays a great role in helping the child to get all he needs to grow and develop normally. The environmental factors are as follows:

a. Family: Family especially parents, play an important role in forming the values of a child. They are the people that support and educate the child. It is in the family that the child will learn about relationships, manners, values and self-esteem. The family helps a child to develop emotionally, mentally and socially. It is a place where the child starts and spends most of his learning time.

b. Peers: These are friends of the same age. Peers play an important role in the development of a child. This is a safe place for a child where he/she tries and acquires skills. Some of the skills a child learns through peer relationships include conflict management, assertiveness, etc. When a child is with his/her peers, he/she has the opportunity to express and discuss his/her feelings.

c. School: After the family, the school takes over when the child gets to this age of going to school. School has the formal responsibility of enhancing the child’s physical, mental, emotional and social development of a child. It is in the school environment that a child learns to interact with peers, to compete, respect authority, to cooperate, and share and also learn valuable skills.

d. Culture: Culture is one of the factors that influences child development. The child observes how family members and people in his environment behave. Culture influences child’s development. The child’s daily experiences help to mode him/her and contribute to what he/she believes and what to practice.

e. Religion: Religion plays an important role in the development of a child. It teaches ethics and good values; the child learns that he/she must not do something wrong because there is God who is watching all the time.

f. Nutrition: Adequate nutrition plays a vital role in the development of a child. It is the energy used by the child’s body to grow into a healthy adult. Nutrients from foods are the building blocks that grow muscle, enhance proper cell development, boost immune defense, support bone density, and develop brain function. Proper nutrition helps the child in all areas of development.

g. Home Environment: A child needs a conducive home environment for optimal development. A positive home environment is the foundation for the child’s overall development because the home and its immediate surroundings are the first environment the child gets in contact with.

h. Society: Is the widest environment where the child interacts with different groups of people; where he/she learns and practices some values and norms. The society influences the child a lot. If a child is growing in the society that is bad, if proper care is not taken, the child may grow up to become a bad person.

Mass Media: Such as television, newspaper, internet and radio, have significant influence on the development of a child. Childhood stage is the screen and internet which may end up influencing them negatively or positively.

Care Of The Child

Babies need a lot of care and help. They come into this world helpless and completely depending on their parents of caregiver’s. Immediately a baby is born, there are important steps to take which includes making make sure the baby is healthy and happy. Others include protecting the baby from cold and infections, adequate breast feeding and weaning knowing the signs of childhood diseases and what to do when a child falls ill. Taking care of a baby is a must do; care given to a baby has a great influence on the child’s total wellbeing.

What You Need For The Baby

Before the arrival of a new born baby there are important things a mother needs to get which will help give the baby maximum care and protection.

Body Suit: This is a one piece garment. Four is enough to start with, two for the day and two for the night.

Two cardigans made with light wool to keep the baby warm.

Blanket or shawl to wrap the baby.

Singlet: it is important to have plenty of plain cotton singlets; it is daily wear.

Beanie: a cap knitted from wool that fits the head closely. Choose a beanie that not have a cuff because it can pose a safety threat.

Socks and bootees: for indoors and some outdoor wear.

Caring For The Baby’s Clothes

1. Suitable storage for baby’s clothing is important.

2. Wash baby’s clothes with mild detergent and soap to protect the baby’s skin.

3. Dry baby’s clothes under the sun; it kills germs and bacteria.

4. Wash baby’s clothes separately.

5. Use fabric softeners when washing baby’s clothes. It will make it soft and comfortable to wear.

6. Iron baby’s clothes before packing to kill germs and make it to look good.

Guidelines For Selecting Baby’s Clothing

1. Know the clothing items the baby needs.

2. Make sure that you choose the appropriate size.

3. Baby’s clothes should be colourful and attractive.

4. Clothes for baby’s should be soft and washable preferably cotton fabrics. Buy clothes that have front opening and can be put on lying down.

5. Babies do not like having clothes pulled over their heads.

6. Fabric for baby’s clothing should not be heavy.

7. Clothing with simple designs is good for the baby.

8. Elastic band and belt should be avoided in making or buying baby’s clothing.

Baby’s Bedding

Cot

Bed sheet to cover the mattress.

Blankets: light blankets are warmer and comfortable. The number you need depends on the time of the year. Quilt can be used in place of blanket.

Water Proof Covers: This is used to protect the mattress.

Bathing The Baby

Bath for a baby is important to keep his or her fragile skin nice and clean. Protect the baby’s skin by using products specifically made for baby’s; they are safer and have less chemicals. Bathing the baby protects the baby’s body to ensure there is no problem with his or her skin it equally affords opportunity, of the messaging necessary body parts. There is also a positive interaction between mother and child during baby bathing, the meeting of the eyes and the touching of the skin establish bond.

Items Needed For Bathing The Baby

i. Baby tub or small plastic basin.

ii. Soft towels (big, small and face towel).

iii. Baby shampoo.

iv. Baby soap, cream or lotion and baby powder.

v. Soft baby hair and brush/comb.

vii. Diaper.

viii. Baby wipes and diaper cream.

ix. Diaper changing pad or towels.

x. Plastic grocery bag or messy diapers.

xi. Clean set of clothes.

Procedure For Bathing The Baby

i. Prepare yourself first by putting on apron, washing your hand and gathering all the necessary items for the baby’s bath including his or her clothes.

ii. Dilute the water not hot and not too cold. Make sure the room is comfortably warm to protect your baby from cold.

iii. Carry the baby to the bath area and undress him/her but wrap him/her with towel.

iv. Wash the baby’s face first using soft towel without soap.

v. Carefully introduce the baby to the bathing water slowly.

vi. Wash the head with soap down to feet and make sure soap does not enter his/her eyes. Wash the entire fold very well.

vii. Dry the baby’s body gently.

viii. Apply the baby oil lotion and powder.

ix. Dress the baby and comb his/her hair with correct size of comb or brush.

Feeding The Baby

The baby needs to feed properly for him or her to grow well. It is the duty of the mother to feed her child with adequate meal, at the right time and quantity.

There are two ways to feed a new born baby, Breast feed or bottle feeding which is also known as natural and artificial feed.

Materials Needed For Feeding The baby

i. Breast pads.

ii. Bottles.

iii. Teats.

iv. Bottle brushes.

v. Sterilizer

vi. Bibs.

vii. Breast pump.

viii. Burp clothes.

ix. Milk storage container.

x. Nursing pillow.

xi. Nursing bras.

xii. Lotion for sore ripples.

Breast Feeding (Natural Feeding)

Breast feeding is best for the health of the baby. Every child should be breast fed with only breast milk for the first four months of life.

Advantages Of Breast Feeding

Breast feeding has many advantages over bottle feeding. They are as follows:

i. Breast milk is the most natural food that has the right combination of vitamins, nutrients and fat.

ii. Breast milk protects children against common childhood diseases.

iii. Always clean and free from germs that cause infections.

iv. Breast milk is always at the right temperature.

v. The first yellow milk (colostrums) serves as the baby’s first immunization against infections.

vi. It does not cost: Reduces the economic burden on families that cannot afford baby formula.

vii. Breast fed babies have less constipation because the milk is right for the baby.

viii. Provides a natural way of child spacing, if a mother gives her child breast milk whenever the child wants to eat, it delays ovulation and menstruation.

ix. Breast feeding the baby immediately after birth helps push out the placenta and reduces the risk of after birth bleeding.

x. It makes both mother and child feel close and secure.

Bottle Feeding Or Artificial Feeding

This is cow’s milk that has been specially treated to make the digestion easy for babies. Baby milk comes in powdered form. It has a good combination of vitamins and minerals. There are so many brands of baby milk in the shop. Ordinary cow’s milk is not good for baby’s consumptions.

Reasons For Artificial Feeding

i. When the breast cannot produce enough milk to satisfy the baby.

ii. If the mother is silk and cannot cope she may be advised by the doctor to artificially breast feed the child.

iii. When a woman noticed that she is pregnant again, she has to stop breast feeding.

iv. Some babies reject breast milk on their own.

v. There are mothers who decide not to breast feed for social reasons.

vi. Breast feeding poses some challenges to walking mothers.

vii. When there is multiple births.

Disadvantages Of Artificial Feeding

i. Artificial feeding is expensive.

ii. When formulas are poorly mixed, they can be too week to nourish the baby properly.

iii. Formulas can be contaminated when mixed with dirty water or in a dirty bottle.

iv. Artificial milk is not as rich as natural milk.

v. It is not rich in antibodies.

vi. Does not bring mother and child close.

vii. It takes time to prepare.

Weaning

Weaning is the process of disengaging the baby from breast feeding. Weaning is when a baby transits from breast milk to other sources of nourishment. Weaning a baby is a gradual process that calls for patience and understanding from both mother and the child.

When to wean is a personal decision. It can be influenced by your job, health and other challenges. In most cases before a mother thinks of weaning her child, the baby will decide to wean himself or herself.

Guidelines For Weaning

i. Weaning should be a gradual process.

ii. The baby should be provided with nourishing food to avoid malnutrition.

iii. Start with semi solid foods.

iv. Give the baby small quantity of food.

v. Before you introduce new food make sure you monitor the baby’s feed to see if he/she will eat it well.

Common Children Ailments In Children

A mother or care-giver who is taking care of a baby must be prepared to handle some of the common illnesses in children because they must surely appear at one time or the other. The mother should know to manage these ailments, where and how to get help when the need arises.

Common Ailments In Children

i. Constipation: A child may start having constipation immediately he/she begins to eat solid foods. The child will be in pains because it will be difficult for the child to stool will be hard; sometime you notice blood due to straining. Do not give the child laxatives without doctor’s advice. Increase the child’s fruits and vegetable intake. Adequate diet for the child is necessary.

ii. Diarrhea: Diarrhea and vomiting is a common illness, especially in children. The child will be passing watery stools frequently. Diarrhea and vomiting in children may be caused by (a) stomach (b) oral infection (c) the child could be allergic to certain foods (d) food poisoning.

Diarrhea can lead to dehydration and should be taken seriously in babies. If your baby is dehydrated give him more fluid. Give the baby oral rehydration fluids and consult your doctor.

iii. Teething: Babies start teething when they are about six (6) months. By the time they are 18 months they will have the first set of teeth. Teething gives children discomfort and distress; you can help your child ease off pains by:

(a) Giving your child a teething ring.

(b) Giving the baby a dummy. Chewing on the teeth will help the baby.

iv. Cold: Mothers worry a lot when their children get cold especially the young babies. When a child gets cold it is important to keep a close eye on the child to make sure they do not develop further problems. You can do the following to help the child:

a. Keep the room airy and comfortable.

b. Paracetamol can be of help, make sure the instructions are followed.

c. If the child has blocked nose, raise the pillow.

d. Make the baby rest and give the child enough fluid.

Sometime when the baby has cold, it goes on its own because no medicine will make the virus go away on time.

v. Fever: Fever in children on its own is not a sickness; it can be due to the common infections of childhood such as cold, cough, flu, diarrhea, etc. What to do when your child is having fever include:

a. Medical attention is very important.

b. Watch the child closely to know if the fever is a symptom of serious infection.

c. The child should not go to school; the mother should nurse him until he gets better.

vi. Cough: Cough can be a symptom of childhood infections like pneumonia, bronchitis, etc. It is very common problem for children. If a child had cough that lasts more than two weeks, see the doctor.

vi. Nappy Rash/Irritant Diaper Dermatitis: Nappy rash is caused by exposing a child to wet, or dirty nappy for a long time.

Remedies:

a. Frequent nappy changes.

b. Use disposable nappies.

c. Use barrier cream.

viii. Convulsion: Convulsion is a serious diseases in a child. It can be caused by high fever, head injury, brain illness or injury. Treatments to be given before taking the child to the doctor include:

a. Protect the child from injury.

b. Loosen tight clothing.

c. Turn the child and left him/her lay by the side.

d. Seek medical attention.

Immunization For Children

Immunization is a way of providing protection against diseases caused by infection, by the administration of a vaccine makes the body stronger against a particular infection. It stimulates the body’s immune system to protect an individual against diseases.

Immunization

Children need to be protected against certain serious diseases that can cause permanent damage to a child’s health or even death. Immunization gives children maximum protection against the following diseases: Whooping Cough, Tetanus, Measles, Diphtheria, Small pox, Polio and Tuberculosis. Children should be fully immunized by the time they are one year old. Immunization is given in the infant welfare clinic and hospitals. Immunization is something parents should not overlook; they should ask their doctors questions and find out all they need to know before time to make sure that no child misses it.

Description Of Infections Diseases

1. BCG is the tuberculosis vaccine. Tuberculosis causes pulmonary infection, but can spread to many other organs causing serious illness, death and disability.

2. OPVI is also called Oral Polio Vaccine Immunization. Polio mainly affects children under five years of age. Polio can lead to irreversible paralysis.

3.HEPBO is the Hepatitis B Vaccine. Hepatitis B can cause chronic liver disease and put people at high risk of death from cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer.

4. Pentavalent Vaccine is a combination of many vaccine-in-one that prevents diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B and haemophilus influenza type B, all through a single dose.

5. Diphtheria is a bacterium that causes a severe throat and upper lung infection.

6. Tetanus is a bacterium that causes weakness and paralysis when allowed to fester on deep, dirty wound.

7. Whooping Cough is a bacterium that causes severe coughing.

8. Hepatitis B is a virus that causes severe liver damage.

9. Haemophilus Influenza Type B is a bacterium that causes meningitis and bloodstream infections. It can be deadly.

10. Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PVC). Pneumonia and bacteremia.

11. Rotavirus Vaccine is an oral vaccine against rotavirus infection which causes diarrhea.

12. Measles is an infection that mainly affects children. It is highly infectious caused by a virus. Measles vaccine is effective vaccine used against measles.

13. Yellow Fever is a disease caused by a virus that is spread through mosquito bites. Yellow fever can be prevented by taking yellow fever vaccine and preventing mosquito bites.

14. Mumps is a highly contagious infection spread by a parayxovirus.

15. Rubella: This is commonly known as German measles. Rubella is caused by the Rubella virus which is a common childhood infection which can be prevented by having MMR Vaccine.

16. Chicken Pox is a contagious illness that causes an itchy rash and blisters all over the body. This illness can also be prevented by having chickenpox vaccine.

17. Meningitis is prevented by ensuring the up-to-date meningococcal vaccine which is a vaccine used against Neisseria meningitis, a bacterium that causes meningitis. Meningitis is inflammation of the lining around the brain and spinal cord. It is caused by infection.

18. Typhoid Fever: Typhoid fever is serious bacterial infection caused by salmonella typhi. Typhoid vaccine can also be used for prevention.

National Immunization Schedule

AGE

1. At Birth

2. 6 weeks

3. 10 weeks

4. 14 weeks

5. 9 months

6. 12 months

7. 15-18 months

8. 24 months

ANTIGEN

1. BCG, OPVI, HEPBO

2. OPV 1, Pentavalent1, PCV

3. OPV 2, Pentavalent 2, PCV

4. OPV 3, Pentavalent 3, PCV, Rotavirus 2 (optional)

5. Measles Vaccine

6. Yellow fever vaccine

7. MMR, OPV, Chickenpox (optional)

8. Meningitis, Typhoid fever.