Factors Affecting Early Childhood Development

Young boy facing older boy
Young boy with older peer outdoors playing sports. (Image: Cameron Spencer/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Young children can be affected by many social, economic and environmental factors both in positive and negative ways. Because children are so vulnerable, they can be easily affected by things many parents and adults take for granted. There are four main factors affecting a child’s development, according to EffectivePhilanthropy.com: individual child behavior and health, family life, learning environment and socioeconomic environment.

Improper Speech and Language Development

There are several factors that can have a direct effect on a child’s speech and language development, according to Ms. Magan Chen who is a certified practicing speech language pathologist with Speech Pathology Australia. A few of the many factors that may have an effect on speech development in children, according to Chen, include: lack of stimulation, delayed motor skills, inadequate awareness of communication, reduced hearing, frequent moving or changes in environment, exposure to many different languages and high anxiety. Consult your child’s pediatrician if he is suffering from delayed speech development.

Parental Interactions

Parental interactions with children can have a largely positive or negative effect on child development, according to EffectivePhilanthropy.com. Parents who spend time playing and teaching their kids through reading and by performing various types of hands-on games and activities can have a positive impact on their child’s development. On the flip side, parents who ignore or neglect to interact with their children in a positive way may be hindering their healthy development, according to the Royal Children’s Hospital of Melbourne, Australia.

Learning Environment

Children who are surrounded, both at home and at school/daycare facilities, by a strong learning environment that is both informative and supportive may improve their development. EffectivePhilanthropy.com reports that research has shown children exposed to poor and underprivileged educational environments tend to be at a higher risk of being negatively affected in terms of their development.

Health

Proper nutrition can have a direct impact on a child’s development both physically and psychologically, according to the Royal Children’s Hospital. They point out that proper nutrition is related to functional outcomes for children as they get older. In other words, unhealthy eating can lead to weight gain and other negative effects if the child does not learn how to eat healthy early in life. The Royal Children’s Hospital stresses the fact that it is the increased duration and intensity of the exposures to healthy eating habits, through both hands-on learning and leading by example, that really make a positive impact on a child’s development.

Social Interaction

Research has shown that social isolation or lack of socialization can lead to early childhood development issues, such as speech problems or an inability to socialize with others in a civilized way. EffectivePhilanthropy.com mentions these very points in a report titled “Factors Affecting Early Childhood Development.” They mention that the socioeconomic environment in which a child is raised can have a drastic effect on their development. An example of how this could affect a child negatively is if she is not socialized with other children, such as neighbors, classmates or family members.

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