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Understanding The 4 Domains Of Child Development

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A child’s development is vital: it molds them into what they will become. While each age has a developmental milestone attached to it, the early stages of development are particularly crucial. 

Your child needs your full support during these times. To better provide your child with the support they need to help with their growth, it is good to ensure any activities are hitting the four domains of child development. Read on to find out what the four domains cover, and why these domains are so important. 

Physical Domain

The first domain of a child’s development is the physical domain. This domain includes physical changes like growing in size, increasing strength, and developing gross and fine motor skills. 

At this point, children must start learning how to perform simple physical movements like grasping, pinching, reaching, releasing, and turning their wrists. Aside from these fine motor skills, they must also learn gross motor skills like ball kicking and throwing. 

Parents can support the physical development of their children by allowing them to play. Let them button their shirts, tie their shoelaces, teach them to hold a crayon, etc., to help their fine motor skills develop. It’s also advisable to give children a ball to throw and kick and let them ride a bicycle and run around. 

In addition, a climbing frame like Amy Pikler’s Triangles helps to develop those climbing and gripping skills in a safe environment.  It’s a great tool to promote the development of your child’s physical domain. 

Cognitive Domain

The next developmental domain that your child will undergo is the cognitive domain. This domain covers the intellectual and creative development of your child. If children begin to develop their cognitive domain, they will achieve the following:

  • Begin to understand their surroundings
  • Learn to process thoughts
  • Develop memories
  • Express their creativity
  • Start to pay attention
  • Make, implement, and accomplish plans

Cognitive development happens in stages. Knowing your child’s development according to age is vital to help them cultivate this progress. Below are the different stages of cognitive development and what age bracket they apply to. 

Sensorimotor Stage (Birth to 2 Years Old)

This is  when children learn about their environment by using sensations and movements. Infants and toddlers, for instance, use basic motions such as grasping, looking, sucking, and listening to explore their environment. 

Preoperational Stage (2 Years to 7 Years Old)

In this stage, children will begin to think symbolically. It’s when they learn to use words or images to represent things. Children enjoy playing pretend at this age but will still struggle with logic and understanding other people’s points of view

Concrete Operational Stage (7 Years to 11 Years Old)

At this stage, children start thinking logically, and understanding other people’s perspectives. However, you will still find children struggling with abstract thinking and hypothetical situations at this stage. This is also the best stage to teach children about empathy since they better understand other people’s feelings.

Formal Operational Stage (12 Years Old And Up)

The final stage of children’s cognitive development is the formal operational stage. It’s the stage where their logical thinking improves. Children at this stage will also learn to use deductive reasoning and begin to understand abstract ideas. 

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