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As a child develops throughout his or her life, there are distinct stages, which are milestones in which they are observed as developmental stages. The stages are broken down into certain age groups, one of which is early childhood. Early childhood is the ages between two and six. I will focus on the ages of three to four. With three and four year old children, there are many different development stages. Those stages are physical, the outside appearance of the development, intellectual, which is how the child develops with regards to knowledge and overall "book smartness." The third is social and emotional development which takes into account a child's attitudes, feelings, and way of coping with his or her surrounding environment (Malley, 1. ).
The development depends on parents, teachers, and caregivers to stimulate the child so that he or she develops to their potential. If not stimulated, a child may not develop at the normal pace at which they should. At the ages of three and four, children are physically about 25 - 50 pounds and just under four feet tall. The need 10 - 12 hours of sleep a night and can sleep through most nights without wetting the bed. They are beginning to learn to walk straight lines, jump, and walk up steps with one foot on each step (Powell, 2. ). They work with their hands and can stack blocks up to ten high, make shapes out of play dough and they are just getting started to dress themselves with a little help for things like zippers, buttons, and snaps (Oesterreich, 3. ).
Mentally, they are developing rapidly also. At three years, a child can say simple 3 - 5 word sentences and can say words most of the time to be understandable. At four, the sentences get more complex with 5 - 8 words (Powell, 2. ). At this stage, children are starting to understand things relative to the daily tasks: wake up, eat breakfast, eat lunch, eat dinner, and go to bed. They start to recognize colors, shapes, and common words (such as STOP on signs).
Children at this age can match objects with pictures, listen, and understand short conversations with parents. Counting as many as seven objects is also very common among many 3 - 4 year olds (Commons, et al. 1998, 242 - 247. ). Socially and emotionally children at the ages of three and 4, know and can answer "are you a boy or girl" and usually show preference to the parent of the opposite sex. Playing alone is preferred by the child, but they want to be near other children. This is the primary age at which they start to get scared of the dark and think that there are monsters under their beds and in their closets. Curiosity is also very evident at this age, especially when they reply to almost everything they are told with the word "why." They grow attached to their parents and want to be just like them, often imitating what they do such as household chores and other acts that grown-ups do.
At this point in a child's life, they are becoming aware of their surroundings and comprehending what is going on around them. In order for the children to develop to this level, certain things have to be done to stimulate their growth and development. Anybody that interacts with the child on a regular basis, one whom they trust and preferably admire, can have a great influence on his or her development in this crucial stage (Keller, Church 1998, 86 - 88. ). Parents often try to explain why they are doing things so that the child will not only know what to do, but is also taught the reason behind doing something. Playing with and buying toys that involve motor skills also is something that parents can do in order to help their child physically develop on a normal pace. For instance, parents can let them play with blocks, play on jungle-gyms, play ball or some other activity that involves two people to play to build motor skills (Malley, 4. ).
To help them learn intellectually, one can mix paints so they can observe new colors, read them books and encourage them to look at pictures in books to help them comprehend a vision for what they are hearing (Oesterreich, 3. ). This will also do a little help with developing their vocabulary. Emotionally, a child will mimic what their parents do in certain situations such as getting mad or happy for different things. The best way for a parent to help their children in this aspect is to act consistently. Do not act one way when something happens and differently when that same situation arises later. This confuses the children.
Probably the best way for a parent to help their children emotionally and socially develop would be to explain things out for them: explain what's right and what's wrong, teach them manners and start to teach them values and ethics so they will start to grasp why something is right or wrong. When children aren't stimulated as they should be then they won't develop to their full potential. They will not have the experiences necessary to provide them a foundation of how to handle a situation if it arises in the future. If children aren't allowed or encouraged at an early age to use their motor skills, they may tend to have less hand-eye coordination and may lack the athletic and physical abilities that other kids their age who were stimulated may have. The same can go with neglecting to stimulate them intellectually and emotionally. The child will be that much "behind" in areas of athletic ability, emotional capacity, and intellectual knowledge and "know-how" than the other children his or her age.
This may cause the child to have a low self-esteem and even be made fun of by other children. This will last a lifetime and could make an individual a much different person than what they could have been had they been stimulated properly. They too, might start to believe that they are inferior to everyone around them and may not give the effort to accomplish things, or just have a bad attitude that everyone is against them. At the ages of 3 - 4, a child is developing rapidly and needs to be stimulated by parents and other caregivers in order to continue positive development. If not stimulated, the child may be hindered and not develop properly.
There are many stages of the development and many ways to stimulate them, but there is really one effect if a child is not stimulated and taught as best as they could. This is not a good effect and can last a lifetime. Bibliography: Bibliography Commons, et al. (1998). On the Existance of Stage. Child Development, 73, 242 - 243, 247. Keller, Spencer and Breckenridge, Church. (1998).
A Comparision between Children and Adults' Ability to Detect Conceptual Information Conveyed through Representational Gestures. Child Development, 69, 85 - 93. Mally, Cathy. Preschooler Development. web Oesterreich, Less.
Ages and Stages-Four-Year-Olds. web Powell, Joyce. Developmental Milestones: A guide for parents, the Third Year. web Powell, Joyce.
Developmental Milestones: A guide for parents, the Fourth Year. web
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