A Beginner’s Guide To Theories About Child Development Stages

theories child development stages

These theories also cover concepts that a child’s experience in the womb sets the foundation for future growth. Some theory-based approaches emphasize the importance of nurturing while other theories emphasize the need to keep away from too much contact with outside influences. However, all such theories have one common element. They are all based on the idea that children develop at different rates and the theories aim at aiding development of the child at the right pace.

Theories of child development explain various development stages that the child experiences. Theories talk of five stages of development: infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood and old age. Most stage models of child development are proposed as working models, mostly used in research and in some instances claimed to be true nativist theories. In addition, there are several theories that focus on one particular phase of child development and they are further divided into various categories.

Focus On Physical Aggression

A woman sitting at a table

One category includes theories of child development that focus on physical aggression. Such theories include physical aggression as a normal developmental behavior. Theory on physical aggression suggests that babies use physical aggression around obstacles in order to gain attention or to defend themselves. The theory suggests that toddlers have a sense of knowing what their body should do when they see an object around an obstacle such as a wall they know is not safe.

Another category includes theories of child development that focus on two lower body parts – the head and the foot. Such theories relate head movement around obstacles with the feet moving. Theory on head movement relates to babies’ use of objects to try to look like adults.

Hand And Body Movements

A person sitting on a table

A third category involves theories of child development that relate hand and body movements with objects. Such theories argue that infants use hands and body parts to try to grasp, hold or pick up objects. When the baby reaches an object, it tries to hold it using its hands or body parts. On the other hand, when the toddler moves away from the object, he/she does so without using any of these body parts.

A fourth category relates to child development with the size of the head. The size of the head, or the brim, can influence a baby’s ability to gain attention. It can also affect how the baby holds or looks at objects. For instance, a baby who is three months old who has a smaller head circumference than his / her parents will not be able to grasp objects as well as those who have a larger head circumference. Thus, such a baby will need extra help when trying to pick up small objects.

How The Child Dresses

Finally, child development stages can affect how the child dresses. Dressing a two-year-old or even a two and a half year old requires more effort than dressing a six or seven-year-old. This is because the child needs more support and guidance with their clothing choices.

If the child grows into a teenager, his / her choices will no longer be limited. But the changes to clothing will still be influenced by the child’s development and growth. There are many theories about child development and many different theories to explain child development stages.


Most theories involve the factors that determine the rate of growth of children. But child development is an ever-evolving process and no theory can completely describe this process. What is known is that children grow and change during their developmental years, and a child development stage can be compared to the growth stages of someone else.

Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter
Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter