Stages of Human Growth and Development- Postnatal (Part-II)

Childhood Stage

After the babyhood stage comes the childhood stage. Childhood stage has been further divided into Early childhood and Late Childhood. Let us discuss the characteristics of the stages in detail.

Characteristics of early childhood

  1. Different names have  been given to this stage based on the specific characteristics exhibited during this period, viz, Problematic age, Preschoolers, Imitative age/creative age
  2.  Physical development and skills development starts.
    1. Physical development like height, weight, muscles, fat, teeth
    2. Hand skills like self-eating, self dressing, bathing, combing hair, brushing  teeth etc.
    3. Leg skills like running, jumping, hopping etc.
  3. Cognitive development takes place , like, improvement in speech, pronunciation, vocabulary, forming sentences, learning of skills, better comprehension etc. Some are talkative some are silent.
  4. It has also been called the problematic stage since small children are difficult to handle as they have frequent  mood swings and health issues
  5. They are also called preschoolers as they start their preschool at this stage
  6. It is also called as imitative age as children learn by imitating their elders, be it language or habits. It is also called as creative age since children exhibit some form of creativity be it in language or in their play.
  1. Socialization starts at this stage. Children like to play with other children.
  2. Typical Play pattern is exhibited at this stage. Children play with toys, games, reading comics, TV cartoons
  3. Concept starts to develop. They become aware of life, death, bodily functions, time, self, society etc.
  4. Moral development takes place in terms of discipline and following rituals.
  5. Some common interest start developing like, religion, self, human body, clothes etc.

Hazards of Early Childhood

Physical hazards include 

  •  mortality, illnesses & diseases
  • Unattractiveness as they transition from babyhood to childhood
  •  Some children may develop obesity due to over feeding

Psychological hazards include

  • Speech hazards: stammering, unclear speech etc.
  • Personality problem: concept of self becomes unfavourable

Social hazards include

  • unhealthy or unpleasant experience from playmates may lead to loneliness
  • loneliness can become a  cause of  watching  TV in excess or spending time online

Characteristics of Late Childhood

  1. Also called as quarrelsome age as children very easily pick fights with peers. Development of the child is combined responsibility of parents, teachers, peer group
  2. Physical Development
    1. height and weight increases, permanent teeth appears
    2. girls grow faster, mature faster
    3. Handedness: Though most children use their right hand some children use their left hand for writing and doing other tasks.  It is also seen that few use both their hands for writing. They are called ambidextrous.
  3. Skill development: Certain skills develop at this stage which depends on environment, opportunity for learning and existing vogue/fashion. Eg. reading and writing, music, swimming etc.
  1. Cognitive development takes place. Speech develops, vocabulary increases, comprehension improves
  2. Socialization
    1. learns which emotions to express publically
    2. exhibit gang behavior: children show their need of belongingness by forming social groups/peer/gangs to have fun with them. If parents oppose then friction starts
    3. Play interest: decrease in time spending in play, responsibility increases
    4. Amusements: Reading (story books , magazine, comics), movies, Radio and TV, Day dreaming and fantasizing
    5. Morality: moral code, discipline, conscience
    6. Misbehaviour: A very common phenomena found towards adolescent phase is misbehavior with elders and members of different peer group if their thoughts or opinion do not match with theirs.
  1. Development of gender stereotypes: children learn and exhibit boys appropriate and girls appropriate behavior
  2. Family relationships: role playing is affected
  3. Cognitive development: Understanding of concepts: life, death, social roles, time etc. these concepts becomes grounded and may change
  4. Psychosocial development: Factors affecting personality development of children are
    1. social environment,
    2. home environment,
    3.  (unstable social environment affects older children more than home environment)
    4.  ordinal position, physical conditions,
    5. Socioeconomic status
    6. success  or failure

Hazards of Late Childhood

  • Physical : illness, obesity, disability
  • Speech hazard: stammering may develop
  • Social : lack of acceptance from peer, always mobile and migrating children feel rootlessness
  • Self concept: negative self image may lead to self rejection. This may lead to prejudiced or discriminatory behavior towards others.
  • Moral hazards: lack of consistency in discipline, failure to develop morale


The childhood stage is critical in the overall development of a human being and an understanding of the challenges associated with it and can be used to find solutions to many underlying personality problems.

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