Physical development in childhood refers to a period within which a child’s physical body capacity undergoes numerous transformations regarding growth and maturity(Pelletier &Neuman, 2013). This stage begins at infancy and proceeds all the way to adolescence. Physical development is categorized into several steps from the birth of a child up to around 12 years of age. The sessions include Infancy stage. It takes place in the first few weeks and months in a child's life. At this time, movements of a child are involuntary (Currah& Cooney, 2002). The child is capable of reacting to sounds, change in position; they can grasp objects which come into contact with their body. At around six months a child should begin to develop a simple primary difference in hearing, seeing and touching. As a child approaches one year, they should be able to hold up their head without assistance; they also sit or crawl, and even with small objects on the ground.
The child now enters into a stage of toddling, which begins at the age of one year and progresses up to three years of age(Rolf & Read, 2003). At this development stage, the child is now able to control the hands and legs adequately and should be able to walk alone, be able to carry a cup, be in a position to ride a tricycle and even construct block tower. Towards the age of eighteen months, a child has already developed physical independence and can crawl upstairs or walk without falling and also draw lines on paper. As they attain two years of age, they can manage to run up and down of the stairs.
The third stage of development is the age of pre-schooling. It runs up to the age of six years, and during this period, a child has attained physical abilities like skipping, hopping. They also climb, use spoons and forks, and even draw a picture. At this stage, a child should now be able to carefully handle their toileting needs, since a potty training has already been passed to them. The last step of physical development in childhood is the school-aged period(Currah&Cooney, 2002). It begins at the age of six years up to about twelve years. At this stage, the physical movements of the child are more coordinated, and they can respond very positively to changes in their environment. The child has a steady eye and hand coordination and can, therefore, perform tasks such as playing soccer, basketball, hiking, riding a bicycle without support and swimming.
Potty training becomes very vital during the period of toddling as far as hygiene training and lifestyle is concerned. It is best introduced when the child has shown signs of readiness such as talking, walking, eating and imitating adults(Hammack, 2005). This process of training can be conducted in seven necessary steps depending on the readiness capabilities of the child as the experts advise. The first step is the introduction to the potty; this is done ideally by introducing the child to potty conversations. A parent may buy books of potty training and read them together with the child. In this manner, the child will be in a position to be mentally prepared by understanding the use and importance of the potty.
The next step is to seek for signs of readiness in a child. Ways in which this is done are; checking if the child is not comfortable in diapers when the child can follow instructions given. The existence of such signs shows that the child is ready to use the facility and hence what is done next is the purchase of the potty in readiness for use(Pelletier &Neuman, 2013). It is advisable to buy only one and let it be placed at one point every time. That will enable a child to become aware of hygiene standards at home. Choosing of ample time for training becomes the next step in the training period. Enough training period will offer an opportunity for the child to learn this personal hygiene lifestyle on a regular basis without frustration.
The fifth stage is the demonstration of the training methods. A parent selects times on a day to show a child how to use the potty. At this period, a child is taught how to sit on a potty, how to undress and explain reasons why that process is essential(Bertenthal& Longo, 2002). The child should as well be prepared to know necessary after-use skills such as flushing and washing of hands. Parents are advised to offer praise and reward for the correct use of e potty as the last step of training. The child should not be punished for wetting the pants or due to wrong use of the potty. It may scare away the child from learning that critical lesson in the physical development.
Potty training is an elementary lifetime lesson that will teach the child how to stay in a hygienic environment (Rolf & Read, 2003). It is a social necessity; our societal setup demands that children should know how to eliminate in the toilet; hence it becomes necessary for a child to understand that order of life by undergoing the training process. Potty training also improves the child’s self-image and esteem among its peers. According to the Journal of pediatric urology, studies indicate early potty or rather toilet training prevent high risks of contracting bowel and urinary infections, and it also enhances bladder control. Potty training offers a boost to environmental safety and conservation. It reduces the use of disposable diapers which pollute the surrounding. It also saves on the usage of resources such as water and soap which may be used to clean cloth diapers.
During the physical development, there are vital issues of consideration which take place. These include; childhood nutrition, breast milk is ideally the best for the infants, for it provides a wholesome meal. It is healthy for Children to be breastfed for at least six months. It will provide all the contents that are necessary for the child's growth and developments. A complementary feeding is introduced at six months; this will help to prevent the progress of malnutrition which is rampant at the beginning of six months of age(Hammack, 2005). The other issue to consider is the parenting factor; children depend mostly on the kind of care they receive from the adults. Parents should nurture children in a manner that promotes their growth, personality, and language. The environmental factor is as well very fundamental in the child's physical growth, proper sanitation such as clean water, warm clothing, and recommended play items.
Some common problems that may lead to a child losing physical skills and development stature include, malnutrition, lack of adequate diet and nutrients lead to stunted growth, poor vision and hearing capacity. Children who don’t have enough meal tend to be weak and sickling most of the time. The other problem that may affect a child’s physical ability is the hereditary problems (Currah& Cooney, 2002). Genetic problems like chemical disproportion in the brain, this may slow the process of development in areas like language mastery, clear vision, movement, and hearing.
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- Dr. Amos Wesonga (Author), 2017, Advancing Development Compiled, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/439517