The different facets of child health
There are different facets of child health. Children grow and develop rapidly in their first five years across four main areas of development – physical, emotional, mental and social.
Physical health includes broad motor skills such as include rolling over, standing, walking, running, and sitting; as well as being able to maintain balance, change positions, etc. Physical also includes using fingers and hands to clutch, eat, draw, dress, play, write, etc.
Emotional skills include how she reacts to events and occurrences around her. Does she giggle and laugh at the silliest things, or is she distant? As she matures, does she learn to deal with events, or does she get frustrated and angry?
Mental, or cognitive skills include thinking, learning, understanding, problem-solving, reasoning, and remembering. Much of this will be revealed in academic settings, such as preschool and beyond.
Social skills have to do with personal interactions, developing and maintaining relationships with family, friends, and teachers; cooperating, and being sensitive while responding to others.
You can support your child’s health, growth and development in each of these four areas by understanding these domains and supporting the work your child is doing.
Children go through stages of motor development during which they learn gross motor skills (e.g. riding a tricycle) and fine motor skills (e.g. drawing).
Parents can help their child’s physical development by providing opportunities for age-appropriate activities. For instance, babies will need regular tummy time to build their neck and upper body strength. Preschoolers and school age children need plenty of opportunities to run around and play. Even tweens and teens need regular opportunities for physical activity.
Meanwhile, you shouldn’t overlook your child’s need to develop their fine motor skills as well.
Emotional growth and social support
Social emotional development includes building self-awareness, self-management of emotions, social awareness, relationship skills, executive function, and responsible decision making. Emotional learning also involves the development of empathy, morality, and identity. Controlling one’s emotions and understanding that experiencing an emotion differs from expressing it are at the heart of social emotional development.
Social emotional development is a gradual process of learning through relationships, and families are the most important influence. Among the factors that influence children’s social emotional development are the cultures in which they are raised, whether they have siblings and the quality of their interactions, how much they pretend in play, their relationships with peers, their temperaments, and the level of their language skills.
Helping them learn and think
Cognitive development involves how children think, explore, understand new information, learn language, and figure things out. It is the development of knowledge, skills, problem solving and dispositions, which help children to think about and understand the world around them.
As a parent, it is important to foster your child’s cognitive development as soon as he/she is born. Examples include:
- Talking with your baby and naming commonly used objects.
- Letting your baby explore toys and move about.
- Singing and reading to your baby.
- Exposing your toddler to books and puzzles.
- Expanding on your child’s interests in specific learning activities. For example, your toddler might show an early interest in dinosaurs, so you can take him/her on a trip to the natural history museum to learn more about the time that these creatures roamed the earth.
- Answering your child’s “why” questions.
Disclaimer: All content on the The Local Choice Pharmacy is created and published online for informational purposes only. It should not serve as a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health advice.