Physical development refers to the advancements and refinements of motor skills; the children’s abilities to use and control their bodies. 

Motor development refers to the development of a child’s bones, muscles, and ability to move around and manipulate his environment.

1. Early childhood

   Height and weight clearly measure the child’s overall growth. Growth follows a cephalocaudal pattern followed by proximodistal pattern. In cephalocaudal pattern the greatest development takes place at the top of the body, i.e. the head and moves gradually downward - neck, shoulders, trunk, etc. In proximodistal pattern development occurs from the center of the body in an outward direction. 

   During this stage children acquire hand-eye coordination which enables them to engage in activities involving vision with body movements such as shooting a basketball or playing the piano. The use of the hand is made possible by maturation of the wrists which occurs earlier among girls than boys. Motor development improves with age. 

  As early childhood continues, the child looks thinner even if he weighs more because the muscles become larger, stronger and heavier.

  During the first 4 – 6 months of early childhood the last 4 baby teeth – the back molars erupt. At the end of early childhood, the child has 1 or 2 permanent teeth in front and some gaps where permanent teeth will eventually erupt. 

2. Middle childhood

   Between the ages of 6 ½, 8 ½ and 10 years in girls and approximately at 7, 9 and 10 ½ in boys, growth occurs in spurt. Coordination both in fine motor skills and those involving large muscles improve. Motor skills and hand-eye coordination are improved with agility and balance added. 
3. Late childhood

   Growth is relatively slow and uniform until puberty. There is a yearly increase of 2-3 inches. The girl is 58 inches (4 ft., 8 inches) tall and the boy is 57 inches. This is because girls are more mature in bone structure than the boys. 

   Weight increases annually by 2-5 lbs. An average 11 yr. old girl weighs 88.5 lbs. while a boy weighs 85.5 lbs. The head is still too large for the rest of the body but some of his facial disproportions disappear as the mouth and jaw become larger, the forehead broadens and flattens and the lips fill out, the nose becomes larger and acquires more shape. The trunk elongates and becomes slimmer, the neck becomes longer and the chest broadens, the abdomen flattens, arms and legs increase in length and the hands and feet grow larger but at a slow rate. Fat tissue develop more rapidly than muscle tissues.

4. Adolescence

    The early sign of maturation is the adolescent growth spurt. There is a sharp increase in height and weight among girls aged 9 ½ and 14 ½ and in boys between 10 ½ and 16. Usually adult height is attained at age 14 or 15 for girls and 18 for boys. The various parts of the body gradually come into proportion.

   Both male and female sex organs mature in size during late adolescence. Secondary sex characteristics are at a mature level by late adolescence. These characteristics are those associated with either masculinity and femininity such as development of the breast, deepening of voice, changes in bodily shapes, widening of the hips in girls, growth of pubic hair, etc. 

   Manifestations of growth differ among boys and girls. The male develops wider shoulder, longer legs and forearms. On the part of the female, there is widening of the pelvis to make child bearing easier. 

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