5 Key Areas of Childhood Development that Impact Your Child's Growth

5 Key Areas of Childhood Development that Impact Your Child's Growth

Helping a child grow and develop is truly a full-time job. As a parent, you want to make sure that you do right by that responsibility. However, figuring out what that takes is often easier said than done. When it comes to growing bodies, every little decision counts.

In this article, we look at five key metrics that play the biggest role in your child’s growth and development.


Children need quite a bit more sleep than a person might first assume. In fact, until the age of 18, the average recommendation for daily sleep hovers around 10-12 hours. Children need more sleep than adults for the simple reason that their bodies and minds are still growing.

Getting enough sleep not only helps them to get bigger, but it also improves their metabolism and cognitive function, allowing them to grow better mentally as well as physically.

Naps can be used to help hit daily sleep recommendations, but it is usually more impactful to meet a child’s resting needs with continuous sleep. The brain goes through cycles during rest that may not be able to accomplish what they need to do if there are regular interruptions.

There are several ways you can improve your child’s sleeping patterns:

  • Factor the time it takes to fall asleep into their bedtime: Some children take a long time to go to sleep. You put them down and thirty minutes later, you frantically pause Breaking Bad as they walk into the family room asking for a drink of water.
  • Limit screen time: There are lots of reasons to keep your child’s screen time in check, and getting good sleep is certainly one of them. Screens stimulate the brain in ways that can make it difficult to fall asleep. Opt for more low-key forms of entertainment as the night winds down.
  • Keep to a schedule: Children are particularly prone to schedule conformity. It may be difficult for them to fall asleep consistently if they are going to bed at a different time every night. Occasional departures from routine are ok but try to keep sleep and wake times as consistent as you can.


Most parents worry about their child’s speech development skills at some point. While most children will hit the occasional linguistic road bump here or there, most make it through childhood without requiring the services of a speech professional.

There are plenty of ways you can help your child improve their speech skills.

  • Read to them: Every book you read exposes your child to hundreds of words. This can add up over time. Many experts now recommend that you read your child at least one thousand books by the time they get to kindergarten. It sounds like a lot, but it comes out to less than one book a day.
  • Use context to introduce them to new words: Life experience is a great way to increase your child’s vocabulary. When your kids find themselves in a new situation, use it as an opportunity to introduce them to new words.
  • Don’t talk down to them: Adults have an unusual habit of saying things to children that aren’t true. Have you ever gone to the zoo and watched a parent point out the gorillas to their child and tell them to “say hi to the monkeys?” Maybe you’ve done it yourself. But why? Because the word is easier to say? Why does that matter when it is also incorrect? While you don’t need to speak as though reading from a Ph.D. dissertation, you should avoid oversimplifications and inaccuracies.


The deck is stacked against parents who want to introduce their children to healthy foods. Between food marketing and the atrocities found on children’s menus all across the country, it is quite hard to elevate a young pallet beyond the realm of “chicken nuggets.”

Try anyway! Doctors recommend five servings of fruit and another five of vegetables each day. Making children hit their nutritional benchmarks helps them grow while also setting them up with a lifetime of good habits.


Experts recommend at least an hour of vigorous exercise every day. Not only will this help to regulate their weight, but it will also strengthen their cardiovascular system, and prepare them for a lifetime of healthy physical activity.

Prioritize family activities that involve elevating the heart rate. Hikes, sports, and even family walks are all good ways to bond while staying active.

Social Interactions

It’s never too early to start socializing your child. While they will get many peer interactions when they go off to school, you can get a head start by looking for children’s activities within your community. YMCA classes are a good way for your kids to meet people, and many libraries will feature great children’s programming that is at once educational and full of opportunities for social interactions.