The different phases of child development and what you as a parent can expect

de verschillende fases van kinderontwikkeling

"They grow up so fast!" You probably find yourself saying this phrase all too often. Children grow like weeds, and with each passing year, they go through various stages of development. Every child, from the moment they are born until adulthood, goes through these phases. But what are the different phases of child development, and what can you as a parent expect in each phase? You'll find out here.

The different phases of child development

Every child develops at their own pace and in their own way. But broadly speaking, children all go through similar steps in their development:

The baby phase (0-2 years)

This is the first phase. During this phase, babies learn to communicate, eat, move, and learn from the things happening around them. As a parent, you can expect your child to sleep a lot, need food, and require help with care. Additionally, babies in this phase start showing their emotions and mimic their parents' facial expressions. This is how they learn to communicate through babbling sounds and gestures.

The toddler phase (2-3 years)

The well-known "terrible twos" phase. During this phase, children learn to take care of themselves more. They start learning small tasks, such as dressing and undressing themselves and brushing their own teeth. Also, children in the toddler phase become better at expressing their emotions and learning to communicate with others. As a parent, you can expect your child to show more independence during this phase, as they want to do everything by themselves. Let them experiment and offer help where needed!

The preschool phase (3-5 years)

In this third phase of development, children learn to express themselves better. They learn to share with others through play and make new friends. Additionally, children learn to listen well and follow instructions during this phase. This phase can be overwhelming for children. Going to school for the first time and playing with friends can be tiring. As a result, as a parent, you can expect children to come home exhausted from school and sometimes react angrily due to this fatigue.

The primary school age (5-12 years)

The primary school age! During this phase, children learn to organize themselves better, to plan, and to concentrate on tasks. They also learn to communicate better with others and to control their emotions. The biggest development during this phase is on a cognitive and socio-emotional level. Children learn to think for themselves more and make their own choices. This is a beautiful phase for parents to experience. Before your eyes, you see your children blossom into their own individuals.

Adolescence (12-18 years)

A phase that many parents may fear: adolescence. Generally, this phase begins at different ages for each child, but we see that girls often start puberty earlier than boys. During this phase, children undergo physical and emotional changes due to hormonal changes in their bodies. They learn to express themselves better and to develop their identity. Children are quite vulnerable during this phase. They question everything and try to form their own identity by experimenting as much as possible. As a parent, you may notice that your child rebels more against the rules at home and that they need more privacy.

It's important to remember that every child is different. There are no fixed rules or laws for how children should develop and when they go through the various phases. The same applies to us as parents; not all experiences are the same. Experiences can vary from family to family and from phase to phase.

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