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Child Development

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Do We Have Any Control Over Child Development?There are many factors that influence child development, and for most of them, we do have some control. If we have a good understanding of what children need to grow, we are better able to address the needs. Every child deserves the opportunity to blossom. This article will discuss environmental influences on child development, as opposed to genetic influences which are not in our power. The world around us has a major part in shaping the child.

How Environment Affects Child DevelopmentA child's environment - for example, his family or school - plays a huge part in his development. Simply stated, a nurtured child will do better than a deprived child. That may seem like common sense, but you may not realize the little things that make a difference. Some assume that a rich privileged child will automatically thrive more than a child living in poverty. That is not always the case. Some of the main factors that influence a child's development are his family, where he lives, and socio-economic status. These factors often cross over and blend as they are often related.

The Five Areas of Child DevelopmentThe wonder of child development is divided into five main catagories:

cognitive (thinking and learning) social and emotional speech and language fine motor skills (small muscle control) gross motor skills (large muscle control)

How Family Affects Child DevelopmentThe child's family is the most important factor in his development. Whether he is raised by parents, grandparents, or others, the family provides bonding and first relationships. The successful family preserves the innocence of the child by nurturing and protecting him, or on the flip side, allows him to be exposed to negative experiences which can harm his development. Styles of parenting have a big affect on child development, as well. The family that invests time, energy and love in raising a child will see the most positive growth. Read to the child and with the child. Spend time playing with the child, from floor time with babies to throwing a ball with older children. Talk to the child and let him know that his opinion matters. All of these measures can be taken in any household, no matter the socio-economic status. Obviously, the family that abuses or neglects a child will be detracting from his natural development. But the indifferent family has a negative affect as well. The child left playing video games or watching television all day will not gain the experiences and interactions needed to further his development.

Parenting Tips to Aid Child Development good nutrition keep active spend quality time together ensure enough sleep consistent and fair discipline limit time on electronic devices read, read, read!

Geography Influences Child DevelopmentWhere a child lives is an important factor in his development. How are the schools? What types of services and opportunities are there in the community? Is there access to good health care? Children often spend a large part of the day in school, and can gain much or not, depending on the quality of the school. If there is a choice for schools, parents should do as much research as possible to find which will serve the child best. If there is only one school available to the family, parents can still be active in making sure their child is getting the most from the school. Meet the principal, join the teacher/parent organization, and volunteer at the school. Does the community have a library, parks, and community centers for sports and other activities? When your child is old enough, consider getting him a library card. An early love of reading will go far. Parks and community centers offer space to run and play. This is a critical pastime in today's world of electronic gaming and television. Does your community have good health care? Are there reputable hospitals, clinics and doctors in the area? You may be surprised to hear that a state capital city in the US did not have adequate health care for my disabled child, so we had to drive to another city for services and eventually moved to that city. Check your local library, newspaper, and hospital for child development or enrichment classes. You may find that many are free and open to the public.

Socio-Economic Status Influence on Child DevelopmentThere are socio-economic trends that can influence child development. It is true that poorer families are at a disadvantage when it comes to providing the richest environment for a child to grow. Many families must rely on public education that may not be the best in their area. What if a child needs special services to aid development? What if the parents spend most of their time working multiple jobs just to keep a roof over their heads? Children living in poverty may also have poor nutrition, limiting their ability to reach their potential. Get involved with your child's schooling. Check and see if your local school has a child development program. Your community may even have an early intervention program for little ones who qualify. Head Start is a national program in the US that provides developmental assistance to low-income children from birth to age five. When my children were toddlers, we took free classes designed to help child development and parenting skills. It was a county program I happened to hear about from another parent. For the parents who must spend a lot of hours at work, remember it is the quality of time spent with the child that counts. Make the most of your time off with the family. Be sure to eat meals together and really listen to each other. Good nutrition can still be found on a budget. Watch sales and stock up on meat when the price is at the lowest. Consider growing a garden which is a double bonus -fresh produce and a rewarding fun family activity. Even if times are tough, children will thrive in a close-knit loving family.

Presentation on What Influences Early Child Development by Dr. Clyde Hertzman

The nature/nurture debate in childhood development The nature/nurture debate is the controversy surrounding the relative influence of environment and heredity on children's behaviour. Particularly, does nature and nurture interact? Questions include; is language acquired because the environment demands it or because it is genetically determined? Are boys more aggressive than girls because of the culture we live in or because it is in their genes? How is emotional development influenced? The debate revolves around nature verses nurture, nature with nurture, nature alone or nurture alone. In 350BC Plato believed that most ideas were innate, a view still held in 1600's by Descartes. Wiggam (1923) stated "Heredity, not environment is chief maker of man... the differences among men are due to differences in germ cells with which they were born." Alternatively, empirical philosopher like John Locke (1632-1704) insisted that the mind is blank, a "tabula rasa". Locke argued that all ideas came from experience. Early studies have focused mainly upon the environmental influence, e.g. in the home. More recently there have been moves towards researching biological effects on the roots of behaviour and development. One reason is new technology allows psychologists and physiologists to study the brain in greater detail. There are many approaches to the nature/nurture debate. The biological approach believes people act the way they do because of inheritance. Behaviourists argue for nurture, although the potential for learning is innate. The cognitive approach does not completely side with nurture, as it supports the view that the structure of the mental system is innate. The psychoanalytic approach also uses both nature and nurture. The innate, is altered by experience, motivations are driven by instincts. The evolutionary approach supports nature whilst the humanistic approach supports nurture. The social constructionist approach takes the view that society moulds us. ( Biological theorists try to draw a map for nature's influence on a child's development. Although most now recognise an integrated approach is needed. Bronfenbrenner proposed an Ecological Model (1979; 1989; 1993) which consisted of microsystems, exosystems and macrosystems. Microsystems are those the child experiences directly such as family, or day care. Exosystems are those a child does not experience directly but it has some influence over as it effects the microsystems, e.g. unemployment and it's financial and emotional consequences. A macrosystem is the culture in which the microsystems and exosystems exist, such as neighbourhood or ethnicity. Conversely developmental psychologists nearly all agree that biology plays a much larger

as alcoholism or even intelligence are biologically inherited while other people support the theory that many of these things are a product of the environment in which an individual is raised. Many studies in the nature versus nurture conflict center on identical twins. Researchers look not only at twins raised together but those raised apart to determine whether or not a certain trait is biologically programmed or if it evolves as a result of the environment in which one twin was raised. However, a flaw in research of this type is that, often times, the twins who had been separated by adoption were raised in very similar environments.

IntelligenceThe most controversial area in the nature vs. nurture debate is intelligence. The reason for this may be that intelligence (which is a person's capacity to think rationally and deal with challenges effectively) is closely related to achievement, both scho