What Are the Stages of Infancy and Early Childhood Development?.
Infancy and early childhood development are times of great change in a living organism, and they are perhaps the most formative years of development. Developmental progress may be measured in the following domains: physical, cognitive, emotional, and social. For example, certain common physical milestones often mark a child’s physical and motor development. Psychology theorists like Jean Piaget, Lawrence Kohlberg, and Erik Erikson proposed stage theories for other aspects of development.
A child’s physical development and subsequent motor capabilities represent some of the most documented milestones in the child’s young life. Particular averages vary greatly, but in general certain major events mark the physical progression of a child. In early infancy, a child is mainly guided by instinctive reflexes. The body is small and vulnerable, so movement is limited.
The head and upper body are first to develop on a child, perhaps in order to accommodate cognitive development. As such, some of the first major physical progressions occur when the child can lift its head and sit up unsupported. This latter step occurs at roughly six months of age.
Once the infant’s lower body begins to more fully develop, motor functioning progresses to stages of increased mobility. The infant can generally roll over at about three months, with tentative crawling occurring in the latter part of the first year. By about 18 months, many infants have the ability to walk, with running occurring sometimes in the two year landmark.