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Child Health Nursing - Growth and Development | 12th Nursing : Chapter 6 : Child Health Nursing

Chapter: 12th Nursing : Chapter 6 : Child Health Nursing

Growth and Development

Growth is an increase in the size of the whole body or any of its part.


Growth is an increase in the size of the whole body or any of its part. It can be measured in inches, centimetres, pounds or kilograms. Development is functional maturation. It is a progressive increase in skills and capacity of function. Each child has its own rate of physical, social, emotional and spiritual growth and development. All children grow through the normal sequence of development.


Factors influencing Growth and Development

·            Heredity: The characteristics are transmitted through genes that are responsible for size, shape of the body and also the family illness.

·            Race: Similar physical characteristics are seen in people belonging to the same race.

·            Sex: A male baby is larger than female

·            Intra  uterine  development:  Maternal and nutritional deficiencies, drugs and infections during pregnancy can have effect on the growing foetus.

·            Illness and injury: Illness may reduce the weight and minimise the child’s process.

·           Nutrition: Quality and quantity of food consumed by the child have effect on his/ her body building and resistance.

·           Environment: Sunshine, air, socio economic factors also affect children’s development.

·           Ordinal position in the family: Younger children learn from older, which may be lacked by the first child.

·           Emotions: Lack of love, security, and parent child attachment can affect the personality. The disturbed children are always slow in development.

·           Intelligence: It influences motor development, Psycho social development and learning ability.

·           Exercise: Stimulates physical and muscular activity.

·            Hormones: Plays an important role in growth and development. E.g. deficiency of growth hormone causes dwarfism and over production leads to gigantism.


Growth Periods

1. New born – From birth to four weeks.

2. Infant      – from birth to one year.

3. Toddler   – from one year to three years.

Preschooler – from three years to six years.

Schoolage  – from six to twelve years.

Adolescent – from thirteen to nineteen years.

Physical Growth

Gross Motor Skills:- Movement of the whole body. (E.g. Holding a spoon)

Fine Motor Skills:- Takes more learning to get the correct movement. (Eg. Head control)


Infant (1-12 months) :

The infancy period is one of the rapid motor cognitive and social development period

Physical growth:- During infant period the birth weight doubles at 6 months and triples at 1 year. Total height increases by 50% at 1 year. Head and chest circumference are equal at 1 year.

Pulse rate is 130 – 140/mt.

Respiration is 36-40 /mt.

Blood pressure is 64/41 – 95/58 mmHg.


Central incisors – 6-8 months.

Lateral incisors – 8-11 months


Mile stone development

1 month      –        Recognizes mother’s voice

2 months    –        Social smile

3 months    –        Head control

4 months    –        Giggle and laugh

5 months    –  Turn backs to abdomen

6 months    –        Sitting with support

7 months    –        Sitting without support

8 months    –        Crawling

9 months    –        Standing with support

10 months  –        Stands without support

11 months  –        Walking with support

12 months  –        Walks without support


Toddler: (1-3 years)

Toddler period is characterised by intense activity and discovery. It is a time of marked physical and personality development.


Preschooler: (3–6 years)

The children between 3 and 6 years of age are known as preschooler. Children in the preschool years grow relatively slow. They become taller and thinner without gaining much weight. They look more like an adult because of skeletal maturation.


School aged child (6-12 years)

This is the time of gradual growth and development with more event progress in both physical and emotional aspects.


Adolescent: (13-19 years)

Adolescent is a period of transition from child hood to adulthood. It is time of rapid physical, cognitive, social and emotional maturing. This period is viewed as beginning with the gradual appearance of secondary sex characteristics (11-12 yrs) and ending with cessation of body growth at 18 – 20yrs.

For girls

·            Beginning of puberty 8-13 years

·           First pubertal change – breast development.

·           Pubic hair development.

·           Under arm hair development.

·           Menstrual period 10 -16.5 years of age.

For boys

·           Enlargement of scrotum and testes.

·           Pubic hair development.

·           Under arm hair development.

·           Crack and breaky voice. 

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