Parents often feel puzzled by the behavior of children and wonder what is “normal.” Child developmental knowledge provides a framework for understanding where a child falls within normal expectations and where he or she does not. Any given piece of behavior can be normal, mildly abnormal or reflective of serious problems, depending on its developmental timing. Knowledge of the abilities and developmental tasks that are typical of children of a given age are important in the following ways:
- Can inform parents, school teachers, and other professionals to understand the child’s sense of reality and world.
- Help us to know how children at a particular developmental level represent themselves, through behavior, play, or words
- Informs us about how to communicate with them using appropriate materials.
- Knowing what a child cannot do because she or he has not reached a particular developmental level creates realistic expectations, and
Therefore, it is important to understand age appropriate developmental tasks expected from children. In general, children are expected to develop in the following different dimensions:
- Physical development
- Brain and cognitive development
- Social development
- Language and communication development
- Moral development
The Newborns: (Birth to 4 weeks)
What is expected from a child in the first 4 weeks of life?
- Infants are born with a number of abilities that become the bases of future development. The senses of sight, hearing, smell, touch, sensitivity to pain, and responsiveness to changes in the position of the body are all present at birth
- Newborn infants show a preference for looking at the human face over objects
- Newborns respond particularly to the sound range and intonation patterns of the human voice, with a clear preference for female voices and even a specific preference for their mother’s voice.
- Neonates also have a number of physical reflexes. Some reflexes, including rooting toward and sucking at the breast and grasping with their hands become the basis for early social interactions with caregivers.
- Newborns also show pleasure through smiling and calm alertness, on the one hand, and distress through fussiness or crying, on the other,