The majority of people around the world become parents at some point in their lives. However, this doesn’t mean that parenting is an easy journey. Becoming a parent goes hand in hand with a range of new experiences, compromises, learning, and so much more. The development of your child and their role in the world will depend on you, which is quite a big responsibility to carry.
It may be easy to become overwhelmed with parenting, especially if you are a first-time parent. However, don’t panic as we’re here to help and support you with valuable and useful information that could literally save your life. If you’ve recently become a parent and you’re wondering what you can do to support your child in the child development stages, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll explore the first seven years of a child’s development and we’ll explore what you can do as a parent to help them and ensure they’re going through every stage with comfort and confidence.
What happens during the first seven years of a child’s life?
Most of you have probably heard the saying that the first sever years play a crucial role in the formation of a child’s personality, morale, and more. But why is that? What really happens to a kid’s brain and body during the first seven years of their life?
According to Harvard University data, the first years of a child’s life are characterized by significant brain development. In fact, before turning 3, little ones start creating 1 million neural connections per minute. The created links help design the brain’s mapping system, which is created using a range of combinations of nature and nurture. This could easily be seen during the baby’s first year when they cry for nurturing. The parent or caregiver responds by feeding the baby, changing their diaper, hugging them, rocking them to sleep, or other activities.
As the baby grows and develops, this cause and reaction grows into different situations and sometimes make-believe games. They start growing attached to people, objects, and situations and form a range of habits. But let’s look at the process in more detail.
Physical development during the first seven years
By being aware of some of the things your child should be able to physically do by a certain age, you’ll be able to keep track of their development and perhaps help them out by providing the right kids’ toys for the task. For example, the first year of a baby’s life is oriented around mastering self-movement, being able to hold objects in fists and work on the coordination between the hands and the mouth.
Birth to 1 year
In the first three months, babies start to work on their sucking and grasping. You’ll notice that they’ll start pulling on their own hands, put them into fists, try to fit them in their mouth, and explore what repeating their own movements feels like. They’ll also master head control with some support from you. You can help by giving them some time to rest on their tummies in order to stimulate the strengthening of the neck, back, and arms.
Between the 3rd and 6th month of your little one’s life, they’ll start getting stronger. Babies this age are normally able to roll over, sit up with a little support, and pull themselves forward and up. They are confident in bringing objects to their mouth, reaching for items, and even playing with toys. It’s great to introduce toys and sensory-stimulating objects during this phase.
Between 6 and 9 months, the baby becomes more mobile and can comfortably sit without any external support. They can move objects between their hands and can start showing signs of crawling. Towards the final quarter of the first year, most children are able to pull themselves forward and sit without any help. This is when they’ll also make their first steps, throw objects, roll balls, and hold objects or toys between the thumb and another finger. The fine motor skills are developing and getting ready for the next stage.
Between 1 and 2 years
Once your baby has turned one, you’ll notice a lot of changes and new skills. They’ll be able to comfortably pick things up while standing up alone, they’ll be able to walk backwards, play with colouring books or paint by using the whole arm in the process. During this stage of their life, your little one will also begin scribbling with markers and crayons, will turn knobs and handles without your help, and will become more and more curious. They’ll have the ability to walk up and down stairs and even dance or move to music.
During this phase, you can help with the child’s development by getting them interested in relevant and appropriate activities, like playing with educational toys, painting, drawing, and playing around with different crafty materials.
Between 2 and 3 years
After your baby’s second birthday, they’ll continue making progress before they turn 3. At the age of two, most children are able to run in a forward direction, jump in one place, kick a ball, stand on one foot, and engage in a range of simple activities. Your little one will be able to turn pages of a book by themselves, draw a circle, and hold a crayon the proper way, using the thumb and fingers. This is the best time to start involving the child in activities like reading stories from a book.
Try to get them interested in all the visual parts of the children’s book and let them explore the texture by themselves. This will help trigger their interest in reading and learning, which will be useful for later phases of their life. When the child turns two, you can also start playing different games with your little one like throwing and catching a ball, playing with marbles, and more. Of course, make sure that you are supervising the child in order to prevent hazards and swallowing of toys or small objects.
Between 3 and 4 years
As you can imagine, things are starting to look very exciting between the third and fourth year of your little one. The child is ready to start learning how to ride a tricycle or scooter, they’re capable of going down a slide alone, pulling and steering different toys, and walking perfectly in a straight line. During this stage, you can support your kid’s development by introducing building blocks and different construction toys like a marble race building set. You’ll notice a lot of creativity going on and you can even try creating different clay shapes together as a fun educational activity.
Between 4 and 5 years
By the time your child reaches 4-years-old, they will be able to jump on one foot, print letters and start exploring the art of writing. They’ll be able to copy shapes, cut paper with safety scissors, do somersaults, and walk backwards. It’s essential to continue introducing new objects and games to your little one to keep their interest running and help them adopt new skills and abilities. By trying new things and establishing that they can learn how to cope with them, you’re helping your child understand the idea of problem-solving, cause and effect, and other valuable algorithms in life.
Between 5 and 7 years
You’re now in a stage of life where you can indulge in a lot of activities with your child. The first adult teeth normally start breaking out around the age of 6 but for some children, this may happen a bit earlier or sooner. They’re confident jumping, hopping, and using balance as their strength. Most children during this stage can also comfortably stand on one foot with eyes closed, showing that they’ve mastered their body in terms of balance and stability. As they approach their seventh birthday, kids can ride a two-wheel bike, they can swim, climb, run, tumble, and more.
Support your little ones as they grow
Although children tend to grow and develop at their own speed, the environment that they’re surrounded by and your efforts as a parent will certainly play a part in how comfortable they are with certain activities and skills. You can provide additional support and ensure that your child is getting the most of every phase they go through by providing your time, energy, and useful and relevant toys and materials that will help with the learning curve. Enjoy every moment of your little one’s growth and be there to offer your love and care along the way. We hope that this article will help you be better prepared for the first seven years of your child’s development.