Top 10 Child Development Theories You Should know

Child development theories: Over the last hundreds of years, several scientists studied child development. Those researchers learn about different aspects of child development and do researches. But now, only a few theories are alive till now. Also, those child development theories proved not only right but influential too.

What is child development?

Child Development Theories
Child Development Theories

Child development is the change that occurs in a child biologically, emotionally, or psychologically. The differences arise from infancy or birth and go on till adolescence. Moreover, it is a continuous process with different characteristics. Also, these characteristics vary with the passage of time or age.

A child development theory is focused on things about how a child grows and changes during childhood. Moreover, development can be social, cognitive, psychological, or sexual. Different scientists proposed theories that are on different aspects of childhood.

Top 10 Child Development Theories

In this article, you will see those Top 10 Child development theories which are proposed by multiple scientists:

1. Piaget’s theory of child development

Piaget’s child development theories suggest the cognitive development of children. According to his theory, children go through four stages of mental development. Moreover, the theory is focused on understanding the nature of intelligence and understanding acquiring knowledge. The stages include.

The sensorimotor stage starts from birth and ends at two years. In this period, children acquire knowledge through manipulating objects and sensory experience. They go through learning and dramatic growth at this time.

The preoperational stage is from 2-7 years. It is the time when kids start thinking symbolically. They use the word to represent objects. Moreover, kids are getting better in thinking and language at this time.

Concrete operational is the third stage, which starts at seven years and ends at 11 years. At this stage, their logical thinking about concrete events became strong. That means they start thinking more in an organized and rational way.

The last stage is the formal operational stage, which starts from 12 years. In this, they begin to reason the hypothetical problems.

2. Erikson’s psychosocial theory

Erikson’s theory revolves around psychosocial development. Furthermore, the child development theories Erikson has eight stages in which the child develops. The stages include Autonomy vs. Sham, Trust vs. mistrust, initiative vs. guilt, industry vs. inferiority, generativity vs. stagnation, intimacy vs. isolation, industry vs. role confusion, and ego integrity vs. despair.

According to Erikson, the development of personality is determined on these stages from infancy to adulthood. Moreover, children face different crises or experiences in each stage, which has different outcomes and effects on personality.

3. Kohlberg’s moral development theory

Kohlberg works on the previous work of Piaget’s cognitive theory and explains moral development. According to him, the moral development of children has six different stages.

Furthermore, these stages are followed by three levels, pre-conventional level, conventional level, and post-conventional level. Also, these stages refer to the changes a person faces in moral beliefs as he/she grows old.

4. Freud’s theory of child development

Freud proposed the theory of psychological development. According to child development theories, Freud, there are five psychosexual stages. The stages are oral, phallic, genital, anal, and latency. Also, each of these stages shows the fixation of libido. Thus, they are called psychosexual stages.

Freud proposed this theory because he thinks that life revolves around pleasure and tension. The libido fixation causes tension, while when it is discharged, all pleasure came. Moreover, he said that for forming an adult personality, the first five years of life are difficult. Thus, this theory of child development is proposed by Freud.

5. Bandura’s social learning theory

Albert Bandura proposes the theory. Moreover, it states that children learn through direct experiences, but some learning comes from observations or modeling. That means a child can learn through the period from his/her observations.

6. Bronfenbrenner’s ecological system child development theory

In this theory, Bronfenbrenner divides the environment into five systems. The systems include microsystem, exosystem, macrosystem, mesosystem, and chronosystem. Furthermore, the views the child system as a system that is affected by his surroundings. The surroundings may include the environment, setting of family, culture, and laws. So, we need to see the larger environment and the immediate environment of a child too.

7. Lev Vygotsky child development theory

The child development theories of Vygotsky are also studies on the development of children. Moreover, Vygotsky has proposed the sociocultural approach.

According to this theory, learning is a social process that develops higher psychological functions. Furthermore, these are possible with the supports of parents, peers, caregivers, and culture and society. All these play an essential role in the development of kids. Lev Vygotsky was a psychologist and was interested in knowing how society affects the development of little ones.

So, he researched it, and as a result, he proposed this sociocultural theory. According to this theory, the social interaction of kids with family or other society members are the primary source of acquiring knowledge and behavior. Thus, it is clear that how much important the peers and surroundings are for kids.

8. Havighurst’s developmental task model

According to Havighurst, learning is an essential thing that lasts for a lifetime. Thus he proposed the developmental task model, which is composed of six stages. Therefore, the stages are infancy to early childhood, middle, adolescence, early adulthood, and middle adulthood, and later maturity.

9. Maslow child development theory

It is the psychological theory named Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The psychological approach is developed in 1943 by Abraham Maslow. According to this, every human has different levels of needs that they want to fulfill.

Furthermore, the same as the child’s basic needs are safety and security. The needs of humans are in a pyramid form. While the necessities like water, clothing, shelter, etc., are in the last. The needs are fulfilled according to this. For example, the most basic need is food and shelter, which should be fulfilled. After these, the relationship’s needs should be met, which are the second priority for a child or anyone.

Furthermore, the needs for achievement and self-actualization are met with the passage of time or need. Thus, this is how things work, and child development is done. We see the child’s behavior and relate it to his/her needs in Maslow’s hierarchy.

10. Bowlby’s attachment theory

The theory is proposed by Bowlby, who was a psychologist and theorist of development. In this theory, he said that most of the child’s development is the innate need of children for attachment. Also, the attachment can be with anything, with people, with places or things.

In Concussion:  The early years of kids are the most important time. They develop and became a fully functional human being at that time. Thus, it is essential to know about the effects or stages of development in children.

These theories for child development will help you in knowing the different aspects of growth. We hope that these top 10 child development theories help you in understanding this concept.

Scroll to Top