FACTOR INFLUENCING CHILD DEVELOPMENT SHAZIA SIDDIQUE OVERVIEW OF GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT The terms Growth and Development are used with every aspect of life. There might be some confusion when using the terms as they are often used interchangeably. Growth is just ‘getting bigger’, whereas development is improvement. Growth can be explained as becoming bigger or larger or having more importance. Growth is termed as a physical change, where as development is said to be physical as well as social or psychological change. Development also means transformation or improvement. While growth is related to quantitative improvement, development is related to quantitative as well as qualitative improvement. FACTOR INFLUENCING CHILD DEVELOPMENT Child development is a stage that every child will go through. Broadly, there are two factors that influence child development- nature and nurture. • Nature factors are factors carried by the individual from conception to birth. • Nurture factors are factors that affect the individual since he is born and often after interaction with the environment. NATURE FACTOR 1. Genetic: Genes always play a role with how a child responds to the environment. Besides physical attributes, gene also affects the character and mental intelligence or IQ of an individual. 2. Maternal nutrition: What the mother consume during pregnancy is very important to the health and well being of the baby. The mother’s nutrition consumption determines the growth of the child’s physical body and brain cell, and also the cognitive development of the child. 3. Mother’s health: What a mother does during pregnancy can affect the growth of the baby overall. Personal hygiene, regular exercise, enough sleep etc. should be maintained. 4. Emotional stress: Emotional stress is also identified as one of the nature factors. Whatever the mother feels during pregnancy will have effects on the baby. NURTURE FACTOR 1. Child’s Nutrition and Fitness: Food has been put into a very important role in a child’s growth. Correct food amount helps child to grow in the correct rate and size. Malnutrition on the other hand causes many problems such as slow growth and many deficiency diseases. Sufficient amount of exercise is important too. Playing basketball and skipping rope can help the child to grow taller. 2. Family: Family is important as they are the person that support and educate the child. The child should be given freedom to test out their ideas and have a better communication but when the child fails the parent should be there to support. 3. Peer: Peer here refers to friend of the same age. This is the first step taken by a child to the society. Here, they learn to respect other’s right as they learn to socialize. 4. School: Furthermore, school also plays a very important role as it functions as second educator to the child after parents. School rules and regulations enable to discipline the student. The environment of the school also support and encourage child to interact with one another. Besides, moral values are also instilled in the students where teachers try to shape the child’s behavior. 5. House and Neighborhood: The environment of the house also influences the child. Appropriate decorated room with studying table and shelf of books provide a comfortable environment to study. Collection of books or little library in the house can help in instill the interest of reading among children. Besides, the neighborhood also influences the child. It is said that children living in urban area are more individualistic compared with children from rural area. Rural area has culture that creates a cooperative and closer relationship between families. The child will try to suit the environment through adaptation. 6. Mass media: In today’s globalised age, information and technology are hugely influencing our daily life. It also definitely influences the child’s development. Kids growing up in families in which the TV is always on or most of the time spend less time reading and being read to, are less likely to be able to read. Media violence can contribute to aggressive behavior, nightmares, and fear of being harmed.