What Is Lifespan Development?
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What Is Lifespan Development?


Lifespan development is the method in which individuals develop and progress through diverse stages of life, including infancy, childhood, and adulthood. It envelops these areas of development:

  • Physical: Includes physical development (such as stature changes, weight changes, and adolescence)
  • Cognitive: Includes mental development (such as problem-solving, information, and language aptitudes)
  • Social: Includes learning to connected with other people and frame connections
  • Perceptual: Includes engaging with one’s environment by utilizing senses
  • Personality: Includes creating special characteristics and behaviors that make oneself distinctive
  • Emotional: Includes learning about, communicating, and managing feelings

By and large, these areas develop amid the aging process. However, developmental disabilities can cause delays in this growth. Common examples include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum clutter, and dyslexia. In case a parent suspects their child features a developmental delay, they may discover it helpful to turn to a developmental psychologist. These experts are knowledgeable around the human development process and can offer assistance to recognize and treat developmental inabilities. Whereas these inabilities may be diagnosed at any age, they’re most commonly caught within the early stages of development.

Also Read: Importance of Social Interaction in Early Childhood Development

Lifespan Development Stages

Lifespan development starts when a human is conceived and proceeds until the end of their life. This long process can be separated into four particular stages:

  1. Pre-birth(prenatal): The pre-birth stage refers to the development of a baby within the womb.
  2. Infancy: The infancy stage starts once a child is born and proceeds until they’re one year in age.
  3. Childhood: After infancy, grown-ups go through childhood. This covers toddler years, elementary school, and adolescence.
  4. Adulthood: Adulthood starts between the ages of 18 and 21. This stage keeps going for the leftover period of one’s life.
    These stages are separated based on both age and key milestones. As people progress from one stage to another, they encounter major shifts in all forms of development. For example, individuals learn and express new types of emotions as they develop from infants to toddlers and young children.

It’s critical to note that these stages can be further broken down into smaller stages of development. For occurrence, there are key differences between young adults and elderly people (indeed in spite of the fact that they both fall beneath the “adulthood” stage)

Also Read: Virtual Autism Alert: Dangers of Excessive Screen Time for Your Toddlers’ Development

Pre-birth Development

Also known as fetal development, the pre-birth stage is the primary step of development. It starts at conception and continues throughout pregnancy or until birth. The pregnancy itself can be separated into the following stages:

  • First trimester
  • Second trimester
  • Third trimester

The first trimester starts at conception, which happens when an egg becomes fertilized by sperm. Over time, a water-tight sac called the amniotic sac develops around the fertilized egg (or fetus) to secure it. At that point, the fetus starts creating features like eyes, blood cells, and bones. After approximately 8 weeks of development, the embryo is referred to as a fetus. The first trimester closes once the fetus is completely formed (after approximately 12 weeks). All limbs and organs are developed at this stage.

The second trimester starts at week 13 and closes at around week 28. During this period, the fetus proceeds to develop. Facial features have become more pronounced, and certain organs and systems (such as the nervous system) have become functional. The fetus will for the most part also show movement.

The third trimester begins after the seventh month of pregnancy. All through this stage, the body prepares the baby for birth. In addition to completing development, it’ll gain weight. Toward the conclusion of this stage, most fetuses move position so that the head drops into the pregnant person’s pelvis. This position change indicates the baby is prepared for birth. Once it’s born, it gets to be a child and officially exits the pre-birth stage.

Also Read: Role of Play in Child Development and Emotional Expression

Infancy Development

The following development stage is infancy, which starts when a child is born and proceeds until 1 year of age. This stage is checked by major breakthroughs in physical and cognitive development, such as the following:

  1. Motor work: Within the start of infancy, most physical development includes the head and mouth (which is utilized for breastfeeding). Over time, the newborn child may start flexing their hands and toes. By the age of 6 to 9 months, most infants start crawling. By 12 months, newborn children can ordinarily stand and walk many steps.
  2. Sensory abilities: Hearing is already developed by the time a child is born. During infancy, the child creates other senses (such as touch, taste, and scent). Their vision too grows. At almost 2 months of age, newborn children can begin following objects and recognizing faces. Once they hit 4 to 6 months, they can begin to see colors.
  3. Language abilities: Newborns depend on crying to communicate their needs (such as hunger or pain). As they develop, they may begin cooing or making vowel sounds. By 12 months, infants can ordinarily mimic sounds and say preliminary words (like “mother” or “dada”). After a year, infancy concludes and the childhood stage starts.

Childhood Development

Childhood development could be a long stage that begins at 1 year of age and proceeds until around 18 years of age. It can be broken down into the following stages:

  • Toddler (1-3 years)
  • Preschooler (3-5 years)
  • Middle Childhood (6-11 years)
  • Puberty (11-18 years)

The toddler years come with critical developments in motor abilities, language, and behavior. Many toddlers start strolling and talking and end up more self-aware. They might begin replicating other people’s behaviors and expressing new feelings, such as resistance. As they enter preschool age, children regularly end up being more independent. They might express a want to socialize more with other children or to undertake new things (like riding a tricycle). Middle childhood covers elementary school. All through this period, children develop enormously in physical, cognitive, and social ranges. They develop in size, learn new subjects (such as reading or math), and make new friends.

Also Read: Human Psychology Theories on Personality Development

At around 11 years, most children begin going through puberty. This causes hormonal changes that influence both physical appearance and personality. For example, numerous children may develop facial hair or start the feminine cycle. Mood swings are also common. As children progress through their high school years, they complete adolescence and finish developing. Personality-wise, they have usually gotten to be more independent and responsible.


The ultimate stage of lifespan development is adulthood. Like childhood, this stage can be broken down into diverse categories:

  • Young adulthood
  • Center adulthood
  • Late adulthood

Young adulthood begins between 18 and 21 years of age and proceeds until the mid-30s. At this point, body growth is usually completed, and physical well-being is at its peak (unless the young grown-up has a health condition). Brain development, on the other hand, proceeds until age 25. Amid this stage, many individuals continue their education, start careers, and settle down to begin their families.

As people enter middle adulthood, they begin showing signs of maturing, such as wrinkles and graying hair. They also develop an expanded risk of health issues, including heart illness and diabetes. For those who were assigned female at birth, the capacity to reproduce decreases. In terms of life achievements, numerous individuals have raised children or furthered their careers through this period.

Also Read: Does mental illness affect economic development? 

The ultimate stage is late adulthood, which starts in the mid-60s. As adults age, both physical and mental well-being may decay. Potential well-being problems include diminished immune strength, joint pain, heart illness, and Alzheimer’s disease. Indeed with these dangers, numerous older grown-ups stay dynamic and solid. They might resign and begin traveling or spend more time with family. The development cycle completes at the end of a person’s life.

  1. https://www.mentalhelp.net/articles/lifespan-development/
  2. https://courses.lumenlearning.com/suny-hvcc-psychology-1/chapter/what-is-lifespan-development/
  3. https://opentext.wsu.edu/psych105nusbaum/chapter/what-is-lifespan-development/

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