Child Development Theory and Application

The paper is designed for fellow students in class. It pertains to the childhood development theories and is based on a case study of the family of Jamie and Dana, who are parents to three children: Avery, age five; Jeremy, age two; and Marie, age three months. The presentation is based on the eldest child, Avery. The first part describes Sigmund Freud’s psychosexual theory and the other segment focuses on the physical, social, and cognitive aspects of child development.

Child Development Theories

Researchers have conducted studies to describe the process of human development. Child development is the foundation of human development, and various theories have been developed to explain how children change and grow. Each of the ideas developed focuses on a particular aspect of child development. The prominent theories focus on a child’s experiences and unconscious desires, social interaction and conflicts, behavior and environmental influences, mental states, attachment, conditioning, and sociocultural factors.

Sigmund Freud’s Psychosexual Theory

Sigmund Freud’s psychosexual theory is considered to be the most interesting. His theory indicates that children develop in a series of five stages that are centered on distinct pleasure parts of the body. The five stages of development are oral, anal, phallic, latent, and genital.

Sigmund Freud’s Psychosexual Theory Stages

The oral stage is focused on the mouth for eating as the infant enjoys the oral impulse. The anal stage is focused on bladder control and bowel movements through toilet training. At the phallic stage, the child focuses on the genitals marking the first point of discovering the differences between males and females. ​In the latent phase, the child develops the ego and superego, along with social skills, virtues, and friendships with peers and adults outside the family. At the last stage, Freud indicates that the developed child gains a high sexual interest in the opposite sex that lasts throughout a person’s life.

Physical Aspects of Child Development

Physical development refers to the advancements and refinements of motor skills. It is one of the many domains of infant and toddler development. There are seven typical stages of physical aspects in child development; Stage 1 (birth to age 1), stage 2 (1 to 3 years), stage 3 (3 to 7 years), stage 4 (7 to 10 years), stage 5 (8 to 12 years), stage 6 (13 to 17 years), and stage (14 years and above). In stage 3, the child develops essential motor skills and begins to play. The child is expected to eat on their own and gain some weight between 1.8 to 2.3 kilograms per year. The child should grow in height by 2 to 3 inches per year, develop up to 20 primary teeth, and has good vision. The child can engage in physical activities, including running, jumping, kicking, throwing, and catching. In addition, the child should be able to ride a tricycle, do a heel-to-toe walk, and hop on one foot for about five seconds. The child performs activities on their own, including eating and exercising.

Social Aspects of Child Development

Social development relates to a child’s understanding of themselves, feelings, and expectations when interacting with others. The child develops the ability to build and nurture positive connections and to experience, control, and convey emotions. In early childhood, the child begins to adapt and engage through play and work with others. They grow while improving their ability to blend with a larger number of friends and can begin playing games with some rules. The child at this stage enjoys having a stable and structured setting where they can explore themselves and confront new challenges. The child desires to develop the “good-child” mentality in the parent by pleasing the parents and others of importance.

Cognitive Aspects of Child Development

Cognitive development entails the expansion of a child’s thinking and reasoning capacity. The child develops the ability to remember, solve problems, make decisions, process information, and communicate. In early childhood, a child demonstrates intelligence through language and symbols. The stage is predominated by egocentric thinking as the child develops memory and imagination even as they think in a non-logical and non-reversible way.

Case Study

Avery’s Physical Aspects

Avery is five years old and is energetic as she is actively involved in many activities. At age five, she falls under stage 3 of physical development, characterized by developing fundamental motor skills and beginning to play. In this case, we can see that Avery is actively engaged in making dolls, stuffed animals, and artwork. She has acquired a high level of competence in fundamental motor skills as she is confidently involved in playing and learning sporting activities. She regularly assists her mother with changing diapers, feeding, or helping around the house.

Avery’s Social Aspects

At the age of five, Avery is in her late years of early childhood in her social development, denoted by her ability to adapt and engage with others through play. At her age, she is distinctly socialized, especially at home, where she helps the mother and cares for the younger siblings. She can engage in conversations and expresses her pride in her ability to make dolls and artwork. Even as she shows some confidence at home, she needs more comfort and assurance at school. Teachers report her being shy and having trouble making friends. As she continues to grow, it is expected that she will improve her ability to blend with a larger number of friends.

Avery is at the pe-operational stage of cognitive development as she demonstrates some intelligence through symbols and language. She can talk and shows some maturity and a good memory as she reports her love for reading and good grades. However, her thinking seems quite concrete, non-logical, and non-reversible, as she has trouble focusing on schoolwork.


Erkan, N. S. (2021). Editorial Introduction to the First Issue of Theory and Practice in Child Development. Theory and Practice in Child Development, 1(1), i–iv. Web.

Klaus Libertus, & Hauf, P. (2017). Motor Skills and Their Foundational Role for Perceptual, Social, and Cognitive Development. Frontiers Media Sa.

Saracho, O. N. (2021). Theories of Child Development and Their Impact on Early Childhood Education and Care. Early Childhood Education Journal. Web.

‌Starmans, C. (2017). Children’s Theories of the Self. Child Development, 88(6), 1774–1785. Web.

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