What Are 4 Environmental Factors That Affect Growth
Child growth and development are affected by 4 major types of environmental factors: biological, physical, psychosocial, and familial

Child growth and development are affected by 4 major types of environmental factors: biological, physical, psychosocial, and familial.

Examples of each type are as follows:

  • Biological environment
  • Physical environment
    • Cleanliness
    • Weather
    • Housing conditions
  • Psychosocial environment
    • Stimulation
    • Learning motivation
    • Friends
    • Stress
  • Familial environment
    • Parents
    • Siblings
    • Relatives

What are the major areas of child development?

The major areas of child development are as follows:

  1. Physical
    1. Size
    2. Strength
    3. Motor control and coordination
  2. Intellectual
    1. Thinking
    2. Learning
    3. Problem-solving
  3. Emotional
    1. Learning appropriate responses to events
    2. Recognizing one's own and others' emotions
    3. Expressing feelings
  4. Social
    1. Skills needed to successfully interact with others
  5. Moral
    1. Developing a conscience
    2. Differentiating right from wrong
    3. Understanding the impact of actions or words

How can parents create an environment that promotes growth?

Heredity vs. environment

While heredity plays an important role in child development, it is not absolute. For example, children from the same family but raised in different environments may have different intellect scores. 

A child's brain is made up of a hundred billion nerve cells that form synapses. The more synapses grow, the smarter the child becomes. Environmental stimuli can aid in the establishment of these synapses. Parents, therefore, can help their children reach their full potential by creating an optimal environment for growth and development. 

Love

Parents can provide stimulation in the form of love and affection as the first step. A child who grows up in a loving and secure home develops confidence and independence, which can improve their cognitive, behavioral. and emotional capacities.

Nutrition

Parents should ensure their child’s nutritional needs are addressed. Feed your child complete, balanced meals on a daily basis to make sure that both their physical and mental health are being cared for. Proper nutrition can have a huge impact on cognitive growth.

Socialization

Parents should help their children create positive and healthy social relationships. Children learn how to socialize mostly through interactions with their surroundings and other people. This is how they learn to solve issues, form good habits, and acquire the skills they will need later in life.

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How familial environment factors impact child growth and development

Family is the most critical factor in a child's development. 

  • How kids connect with others is heavily influenced by how they observe their parents, siblings, and other relatives engaging with one another.
  • As they grow older, they will notice everything from behaviors to relationship dynamics and internalize these observations as examples of how to act. 
  • Their perception of good and wrong will closely match the moral compass of the family. 
  • They can distinguish socially acceptable behaviors and the ones that are not, as well as the repercussions of such acts.
  • Parenting style can also have a significant influence on a child’s development. Parents who spend quality time with their children, have real discussions, and encourage their children problem solve and express their opinions respectfully can encourage healthy development and promote positive behaviors.
  • Parents who must work long hours should know that the quality of time spent with their children matters. Make the most of time with family. Try to have meals together and listen to one another. Even if you are on a budget, ensure that your children understand the principles of good nutrition.

How social and economic factors impact child growth and development

Schools, community services, and opportunities and access to quality health care all play a role child development.

  • Children generally spend a significant portion of their day in school, so it is in the best interests of the child to carefully select the school they will be attending. If the district just has one school, meet with the principal, become a member of the community and volunteer at the school to ensure the child is getting the most out of their time.
  • Parks and community centers also offer children opportunities to be active and socialize. Encourage children to participate in recreational sports or other community activities.
  • When it comes to providing the best environment for a child to flourish, poorer families may be at a disadvantage. However, some cities may have early intervention programs for children who meet certain criteria. 
  • Head Start is a national program in the United States that assists children who belong to low-income families from birth to age 5 with their development.
  • If your child needs vaccinations or other medical care, do research in your area to find reputable doctors and hospitals.

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Medically Reviewed on 4/4/2022
References
Image Source: iStock Images

Schell LM, Knutson KL, Bailey S. Environmental Effects on Growth. In N Cameron, B Bogin (eds). Human Growth and Development, 2nd ed. https://edisciplinas.usp.br/pluginfile.php/3917785/mod_folder/content/0/Chapter-10-Environmental-Effects-on-Growth_2012_Human-Growth-and-Development-Second-Edition-.pdf

PA Child Welfare. Environmental Influences on Child Development. https://milwaukee.extension.wisc.edu/files/2013/04/Environmental-Influences-on-Child-Development.pdf

Ulijaszek SJ. The international growth standard for children and adolescents project: environmental influences on preadolescent and adolescent growth in weight and height. Food Nutr Bull. 2006 Dec;27(4 Suppl Growth Standard):S279-94. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/15648265060274S510