Back to: Learning and Teaching – Unit 1
Childhood is a period of rapid physical changes due to which there are various factors influencing their development. The Austrian philosopher, Rudolf Steiner stated,
“childhood was a state of physical and spiritual being roughly between the ages of seven and fourteen years, indicated initially by certain physiological changes such as the loss of the milk teeth.”
10 Factors that Influence Child Development
Environment plays a key role in influencing the development of a child. To ensure proper development in children, a motivating and encouraging environment is necessary. Lucurto (1990) observed that a child’s intelligence increased when they were surrounded by an encouraging and positive environment.
A child’s home environment can also affect their cognitive development. If a child is exposed to early learning experiences, their intellectual functioning quickens and therefore, they are able to have a relatively faster cognitive development.
Socio-economic status refers to the social status and economic health of an individual. A child belonging to a good socio-economic background is likely to gain better educational attainment than someone who comes from a poor socio-economic background.
The gender of the child also plays a crucial role in their physical development. While nearing puberty, boys and girls grow and develop in different ways. In adolescence, girls mature faster than boys. Boys tend to have a more athletic body. Boys and girls also develop different temperaments.
Heredity refers to the transmission of physical, emotional, cognitive, and other characteristics from parents to children. Heredity is responsible for determining when a child’s cognitive senses are ready and mature to develop cognitive skills.
Piaget believes that the experiences children witness in the physical and real world has a major influence in their cognitive development.
The learning environment and opportunities a child is surrounded with can have a major influence in their cognitive development. A child who is given learning opportunities from an early age can reach milestones sooner.
Nutrition plays an important role in affecting cognitive and physical development. A nutritious and balanced diet is required to ensure the proper development of a child’s cognitive skills and physical growth.
Health and Exercise
In the context of childhood, exercise does not refer to working out but to playtime activities and games that help the body develop muscular strength. Children who engage in these activities grow properly and have quicker physical development. These activities also keep them healthy.
Hormones have an influence over various parts of the body. Different glands produce hormones and their proper functioning is essential to ensure normal physical development in children. Hormonal imbalances may cause obesity, growth defects, and other issues.
These are the ten most important factors that influence child development.