Perceptual and Physical Development


As children grow, their abilities, motor skills as well as coordination skills become complex.  As they children grow older, they get bigger in body size (Keenan and Evans, 2009). This means that by four months, a baby doubles the birth weight. By twelve months the birth weight triples. Perception is the fundamental development in children because perceptual elements are joined together into larger wholes and at the same time are used to consolidate other developmental domains. Understanding a child’s physical and perceptual development is important because it helps a prospective parent to plan and implement a program for the children.

Physical and perceptual development

In the first month to three months a baby is able to lift its head little up to 45 degrees especially when prone (Ambron, 1981). The baby is also able to strongly grasp reflex and by three months the baby’s hands can open, pull blanket and also hold rattle. At birth, the visual acuity of the baby is 20 percent and as the baby grows to three months, it is able to visually follow light up to 180 degrees.

Between four to six months, the baby is able to raise its head and shoulders up to 90 degrees when in a horizontal position. It is also able to roll side to side and can sit when well supported. The baby is able to play with its toes, hands and can hold objects with both hands directing them to the mouth (Keenan and Evans, 2009). At this stage, the baby has a binocular vision, has early hand-eye coordination and can visually follow an object when it is dropped because it localizes sounds by looking.

When a child is between seven and nine months, it is able to sit alone and play. The baby also tries to stand, creeps and starts to crawl. It is able to grab objects, drag and bang them down. At this stage also, the child becomes aware of the depth and spatial relationship and therefore is able to respond to own names besides having tastes and preferences.

In the final stage of ten to twelve months, the baby is able to stand while supporting itself and can also walk. The baby is able to eat with its fingers, can hold spoons and also flip book pages. At this stage too, the baby drops objects intentionally just to watch them fall.

Importance of understand a child’s physical and perceptual development

Understanding developmental change in children is important because it helps in proximal development. The basic concept underlying the understanding of children development is that children usually get skills and knowledge by interacting with more skilled individuals. Adult guidance of cognitive performance is very important during transition because at such times the children are sensitive to experiences that help them to try new ways of acting and thinking (Ambron, 1981).

Understanding child development is important because it helps one to come up with realistic expectations of the child’s behavior and thus give the child tasks that challenge but do not overwhelm. Completion of each development stage successfully creates a firm foundation of the next stage. If one is aware of the challenges present in each development stage, it is possible then for one to use these challenges in helping the child acquire growing competence.

Each growing stage brings forth two crisis of trust and mistrust and this crisis can only be solved by find a balance between the two. A balance of a child knowing the person to trust and who not to, builds an element of optimism and also helps the child to grow faith in his powers. As a child completes successfully the tasks needed in each development stage he acquires the strength and virtual to continue growing.  If a child fails to get this strength, then development may be stunted at the specific development level (Ambron, 1981).

Understanding child development helps in planning and programming

Children mostly learn through exploration of the senses and through movement.  In the first 12 months, children rapidly grow and develop. During this stage also, babies develop from being dependent with limited movements and non verbal language to skilled toddlers who can play, think, talk and understand. Therefore understanding these development stages of a child is important because one is able to help the child develop successfully in each stage.  This understanding also helps one to plan and program for the children. Each development stage has some challenges and it is by understanding that will help one to plan for what to expect in each stage and how to handle those challenges (Keenan and Evans, 2009).

Understanding the development stages of a child will help one to plan on how to help a child to successfully go through the stage and move to another one. Since children learn by interacting with skilled people, it is thus important for one to know how to interact with the child in the right way.


Development is founded on the child’s internal characteristics and unfolds according to maturational timetable (Ambron, 1981). This development moves through various tasks and challenges and their level of complexity increases as a child grows. Therefore it is important for one to understand the different stages that are involved till a child reaches 12 months. Understanding this will help one to know what to expect in each stage and will help the child overcome the different crisis in each development stage. This is important because it helps a child to develop successfully.

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