Factors That Affect the Health & Physical Development of Children

by Erin Schreiner Google

Many dedicated parents spend a great deal of time worrying about their children's development. These parents watch eagerly as their children approach developmental milestones, hoping that their kids hit them. If you are a worrier, it may help you rest a little easier to know which factors determine the rate at which your child develops and how healthy he will be as he moves through his childhood.

Sleep

Ensuring that your child gets an adequate amount of sleep is an easy way to ensure his proper development and keep him healthy and happy. As ChildAware reports, children need more sleep than their adult counterparts. School-age children, for example, require 10 to 11 hours of sleep a night. If your child is getting fewer hours than this, it might be necessary to tuck him in a bit earlier to ensure that he gets the sleep he needs.

Heredity

While some of the factors that influence physical development are within your control, others are not. Heredity plays a large part in your child's development. Mental development, in particular, is deeply grounded in heredity. As Education.com reports, neurological efficiency, or the speed with which a child's brain operates, is largely genetically controlled and not, instead, something that you can influence.

Diet

For your child to develop properly and remain healthy, he needs to eat a healthy and balanced diet. While eating a nutritionally sound diet is important at all ages, it is even more vital when your child is young, as malnutrition or a deficiency of vital nutrients can put your child at a disadvantage later in life. As Education.com reports, children who lack balanced nutrition in their diet when they are babies may suffer cognitive effects for years to come.

Medical Care

During the first two years of your child's life, he will likely visit his pediatrician numerous times. While these visits to the doctor may seem difficult to sketch into your schedule, they are vital for future health and development. Your child's doctor will monitor your child's developmental progress and give you techniques to help him, should he demonstrate a deficiency. Your child will also receive numerous vaccinations during these early years, helping to prevent future ailments that could have a lasting impact.

Presence of Toxic Substances

If your child is exposed to toxic substances during youth, he may suffer from developmental or health deficiencies as a result. As Education.com reports, exposure to substances ranging from alcohol to lead-based paint can have a negative impact on children, ultimately impacting not only their health but also their neurological development.

About the Author

Erin Schreiner is a freelance writer and teacher who holds a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University. She has been actively freelancing since 2008. Schreiner previously worked for a London-based freelance firm. Her work appears on eHow, Trails.com and RedEnvelope. She currently teaches writing to middle school students in Ohio and works on her writing craft regularly.