Early to middle childhood development is defined as principles, facts, and concepts that describe, explain, and account for involved processed in a child's change from immaturity to a maturity status and function (Katz, 1996, p. 137). The three main categories that development is divided into are physical, cognitive, and social and emotional development (Berk, 2000). Changes from the way a child grow, move, and perceive their environment is physical development. Children use memory, language, and problem solving to acquire knowledge, and these are the mental processes of cognitive development. How children understand their feelings and handle relationships with other is addressed through emotional and social development. This paper will summarize physical changes, cognitive changes, and major milestones with social and emotional changes from early childhood to middle childhood and a comparison of males vs. females.
Physical developments slightly differ between males and females. Around age 2, boys are more aggressive physically and girls are more relational aggressive. Boys are less verbal than girls. Around age 3, boys start to develop abdominal muscle and stomach starts to tighten and at this stage girls add fat. The increase of height occurs more rapidly with girls than with boys. The average from the age of two to seven will have slower growth spurts than earlier years. The rate of growth averages from two ½ inches and seven pounds per year for this age group (Rella, 1999-2012).
Rapid physical growth comes with puberty from age six to 11 and is considered middle childhood stage of development. Between these ages gender is a concrete attribute to a child's mind. The child establishes more eating habits at this time, the voice starts to mature, and there is an increase for more sleep time. Theses years are spent gaining physical strength and academic competence. Children are more into sports and forming friendships during this period of development. Because testosterone levels escalate more boys tend to be more athletic and win more competitions (Dalcour, 1999-2012). Same-sex friendships generally tend to form at this age. The identification with either feminine or masculine attributes is stronger.