What Affects Development in Early Childhood?

Updated November 21, 2016

Every parent wants his child to grow and develop into an intelligent and well-rounded individual, but there are several factors that can either aid or block healthy childhood development. Knowing what these factors are, and learning how to provide a supportive and stimulating environment in which to grow, is a key task in parenting. All parents must understand these factors to ensure their children develop at the speed that they are expected to.

Individual Genes

All children are different, and therefore their health, behaviour and overall personality will be huge factors in their development. Knowing and understanding what motivates your child and successfully engaging her in ways that will aid development is important. Some children are born with behavioural issues that prevent them from developing social skills in early life, meaning their development can suffer as a result. Every child is different, so finding out any potential problems early is vital to development.


Studies by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services show that children born to parents who live in poverty or who are poorly educated themselves often struggle to develop at an acceptable rate. A family that struggles to make ends meet will usually have less time to dedicate to health and emotional issues, which can have a negative effect on childhood development. Parents from a wealthy background have the means and resources to dedicate to their children in early years, resulting in improved chances of the child developing healthy.


A healthy diet in the early years can have a direct impact on the development of a child. A child who does not get the right sort of nutrition can suffer from physical growth issues as well as brain development problems. A child who is fed junk food instead of healthy alternatives could suffer from developmental issues.


Children born in low-income communities have been shown to suffer from a range of issues relating to high levels of toxins and pollution that can directly affect development. Low-income communities also tend to have less access to top-of-the-range health and educational institutions, meaning illnesses that can be easily cured often are not, which can affect childhood development.

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