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Published: April 11, 2011

Child development

The progressive changes in the physical, mental, emotional, functional and behavioral characteristics of children as they mature. Child development stretches through six life periods, beginning with the prenatal period, from conception to birth; the neonatal period, during the first month after birth; infancy, from about four weeks to two years; preschool, from two to six years; middle childhood, from six to nine; and preadolescence, from nine to adolescence. Each of these periods sees significant changes in personality, self-perception, language skills, cognition and learning skills, peer and family relationships, relationships with adult authority, family influences and external cultural influences.