Infant development is the process through which children acquire skills, acquire knowledge and learn social norms by the time they reach the age of 4 years. This period is crucial for the proper development of a child as it enables him to learn new things. In general, infant development includes the physical, mental and emotional changes that take place in children from birth to the end of puberty. Childhood is separated into 3 periods of life that are defined by the age of the child, namely early childhood, preschool, and secondary school. Infancy refers to the first year of child development.
Infant Development Stages
Throughout the infant development, children begin to develop their motor skills, language skills and cognitive skills. By the time a baby is one year old, his primary school years begin and this is the time to focus on gross motor skills such as standing up, crawling, kicking and other physical movements. Soon after, babies start to use their speech and begin learning verbal skills while learning language skills such as identifying an object and making sounds.
During the third trimester of infant development, babies are able to hold their head up and begin to roll over and sit up. At this point, babies start to recognize words and begin to repeat them. At four to six months of age, babies can walk with some assistance and can now imitate simple sounds and phrases. Babies gain further attention when they start to recognize colors, shapes and textures. By the end of the third trimester, babies can already walk to remember simple directions such as left and right.
Babies continue to develop throughout the months of pregnancy and breastfeeding. The first few months of development are known as being in the trophoblastic stage. This is when the fetus grows at the most rapid rate and tends to put on a full head of hair. At this stage, mothers are advised not to move the infant during the developmental months and to gently rock or pat him to calm him down.
During the fourth trimester, the infant continues to grow and changes both body structure and function. He will start to sit up, stand and walk. His eyes will also become more developed and his hearing and visual capabilities will also increase. His heart rate will become higher at this time and his temperature will increase as well.
The last three months of infant development are known as the transitional period. At this time, the baby’s body has started to settle down into a new and comfortable posture. The baby’s digestive tract is also ready to absorb the large amount of food that the mother will feed him. His brain is ready to accept sound and begin to process it.
Infant development milestones are important for parents to observe and identify. Parents can help with their child’s motor development by helping him practice standing up, sitting down, walking and talking. They can also help their baby learn his letters and numbers through simple tasks such as pointing to objects on a screen. By continuing to do these tasks on a daily basis, you are enhancing infant development every day.
You may begin to notice that your infant begins to grasp objects after he is able to roll over, grasp a toy or pet and is able to pick up objects that are in his mouth. After a while, you may begin to see that your infant begins to grasp things by touching, holding onto them. When your child is able to hold on to something with one hand, you can begin to give him objects with another hand. And, if your child is unable to hold on to a toy or object with his first or second hand, then you can put the object in his mouth. You are ensuring that he is learning each day with new and unique skills that will help him with daily tasks, play and social interaction.