What Is Child Development?

Child development is essentially human development. It is a branch of developmental psychology - a specialized area of studying and explaining human behavior, conception and birth onwards, through childhood and adolescence, up to 18 years of age.

Childhood studies to understand human behavior are important because human beings grow at an accelerated pace, physically as well as qualitatively in these first years of life.

Child development is contextual. Children grow within a family, a community, a country, each unique in its structure, resources and expectations.

All human babies follow more or less the same pattern of physical growth and development; however the expectations around each stage of development vary from one culture to another.

Child development is contextual in another way too. It may be limited to resolving issues of human existence in a particular region or country, like those related to food and basic nutrition; shelter and clothing; medical and healthcare; while it may focus on understanding and evaluating behavioral and cognitive aspects of a child’s growth, in another region or country.

An interest in the social and emotional development of the child grows once the basic requirements are not what we are struggling for.

Interestingly, in the Indian socio cultural scenario, varied contexts coexist. We have enough children to feed and clothe, give medical aid to and educate. We also have the category that seeks child experts and guidance, to help children grow emotionally, socially and cognitively.

The theories of upbringing children and the practices vary. Certain practices related to children’s upbringing remain the same across the length and breadth of the country, while some others are unique to certain communities and social groups.