At each stage of development a child needs to master a particular range of new skills in physical, intellectual and social skills. Over time, these developmental changes should include:
- ability to handle complex ideas
- ability to concentrate and to remember what is learned
- increasing physical and social independence
- physical abilities, stamina, strength and coordination
- increasing self-awareness and sense of identity
- ability to express negative feelings and frustrations verbally.
These general trends are all important, but there is plenty of ‘normal’ variation in how they occur. Changes seem rapid during some periods and slow at other times and at any age, a young person may switch between more and less mature behaviours. ‘Transition’ times place extra stresses on children. These are times of major change. Some are imposed from outside: starting school, moving from primary to secondary school, leaving school. The most important ‘internal’ transition is puberty.