The stages of childhood development are periods when the child begins to develop new skills, discoveries, among other things. Each of these phases may present different characteristics in relation to the emotional e physical of the child.
Do you want to know each of the 4 stages of child development? Then follow the post until the end to discover the peculiarities of these periods that mark the transition in childhood development.
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What are stages of child development?
As the name implies, the phases of a child’s development are periods taken as milestones that signal the child’s learning and discoveries at each moment of its growth. These periods have been described by several psychologists, among them are Jean Piagetan important psychologist who lived between 1896 and 1980.
Through the observations made on her own children, Piaget was able to identify 4 stages of child development that are a milestone of the characteristics that contribute to cognition. These periods described by Piaget are still accepted around the world as the most plausible theory for the cognitive development. See below each of the phases and their characteristics!
1st phase: sensory-motor
The first milestone in cognitive development occurs between the first days of life and the age of 2 years. This period of 2 years is constituted by the discovery of movements and sensations. The period also marks the development of motor coordination, because it is at this moment that babies begin to imitate everything they see.
This phase is characterized by the development of language, be it through crying, shouting, signs and even short words. And the language of babies goes beyond the sounds produced, because they identify in this period that their movements generate actions. For example, by throwing a toy on the floor the parents readily pick up the object.
In this first phase babies only believe in what they can see, touch or feel, so when the mother is not in her sensory perception they start to cry. The phase of the first 2 years of life also presents a peculiar characteristic, which is the discovery of the “I”. This discovery occurs at different times for each child, but initially the baby believes that the mother and himself are the same person.
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2nd phase: preoperative
Between the 2nd and 7th year of the child’s life, everything is based on the child’s individual experiences. In other words, this is the moment that marks the self-centeredness and is considered by many parents as one of the worst phases of development, since she usually presents difficult behaviors to deal with.
Even when living with different people, including people from outside the family, the child thinks based on his or her experiences. Regardless of his good communication and ability to understand certain things, his self-centered behavior is what speaks most loudly at this stage.
Another interesting feature about this 2nd phase is that the child begins to question many things. That’s why it’s also called the “why phase”. The discoveries become even more refined during this period and the child is eager to understand different things.
In this period the child also develops the personification, which is the act of giving human characteristics to objects, and the symbolic function, which is the assignment of the imagination in objects where the child can imagine a sword by seeing a broomstick.
3rd phase: concrete operational
The third phase of childhood development occurs between 8 and 12 years. This period is marked by the development of the concrete operative, which is the ability to solve problems or understand things through logic.
This means that in this period the child is more likely to understand mathematical issues, relate physical objects and everything that can be seen, touched or felt in some way. Everything that is abstract, that is, that cannot be seen, touched or felt, is still difficult for children to understand during this period.
Another interesting feature at this stage is that the child begins to better understand issues such as social rules, reciprocity and the sense of justice. This is a great phase to teach values, ethics and moral aspects to the child.
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4th phase: formal operational
By the age of 12, the child begins to develop his or her understanding of the abstract. The pre-adolescence phase is marked by logical reasoning and the ability to deal with the concrete and the abstract. With this, the child is already able to create hypotheses, theories, autonomy and understand about possibilities.
Thus, the child comes to understand that even that which is not felt, seen or touched, can exist or be part of a hypothesis.
How to identify the stages of child development?
The mentioned phases are part of a theoretical study by the psychologist Jean Piaget, however, this does not mean that each one of the phases occurred exactly at the mentioned ages. There are variations in the developmental aspects, after all, each child is different as well as the environment in which they live, the characteristics of the family and the stimuli given throughout each phase.
Therefore, do not see child development as an exact rule with respect to each age of the child, as there are variations. The ages mentioned are estimates, so some children may take a little longer to enter each phase, as well as may develop new skills before reaching even the ages mentioned by Jean Piaget.
But as parents and caregivers, it is essential to monitor children’s development by observing their child’s behavior and its changes. Considering the characteristics of each phase, it is not difficult to observe whether the child is evolving in its development. Just stay alert and notice the signs that the child presents.
Piaget and other psychologists believe that child development occurs through stimulation. Therefore, the more stimuli a child has to develop, the better his understanding about different things will be. Therefore, bet on different stimuli for each phase.
Stimuli for each stage of children’s development
- 1st phase: use visual, motor, auditory and sensory stimuli such as jokes, objects, textures, colors and more.
- 2nd phase: use imaginative stimulation and questioning. This means giving freedom to the “whys” and allowing free imagination.
- Stage 3: use logical stimuli, such as board games, chess, mathematical calculations, and anything that can be explained by logic.
- Fourth phase: use theoretical stimuli, providing the discussion of theories, possibilities, hypotheses and much more.
What did you think about stages of childhood development? Leave your comment and take the opportunity to share the post with those who are going through any of these phases with their children.