The sequence and rate of babies and children’s development goes hand in hand, and it occurs simultaneously; nonetheless there is a difference between the two. A simplified example of this would be: babies hold their head up at one month, and they will roll over at three months. The sequence is holding their head up, then rolling over, the rate is doing this at one month old then three months old.
It must be remembered that in all areas of development the sequence, or order, of development, and the rate, or speed can vary enormously. However, the sequence of development generally follows a common pattern. For example, a baby may crawl, then use furniture to support themselves while they ‘cruise’ along, and then start walking. Whereas another baby may not crawl but ‘bottom shuffle’ and then start to walk. So some elements of development may be missing but there is a patten to the order in which a child develops. A well known phrase is “you can’t run before you walk” and this perfectly sums up the sequence of walking first then running; all children will do this but it is not know exactly what age this will be mastered.
The sequence of development is apparent in the intellectual development of children, for example learning to write. This of course begins with holding a pencil, then making marks on the paper, forming letters and then ensuring the writing is legible. This shows the sequence of leaning to write. The rate, however, can vary considerably. Following this example, children may correctly hold a pencil at three years of age, whereas others may find this difficult and could take until the age of five to accomplish this.
Therefore the rate is the speed of development. With sequential development we see a definite pattern in progression; it is easier to foresee the order in which babies and children will evolve in their different areas of development. On the other hand, the rate of development can be more difficult to predict, for example it is known that a child’s milk teeth will fall out and their adult teeth will grown through (sequence), but at what age this happens at (rate) cannot be accurately stated for each individual child.
The rate of some areas of development can be recorded to attempt to predict a pattern. A good example of this is weight and height in babies and young children. By recording this data, any problems or concerns can be highlighted: if a babies weight is not increasing as it should in reference to their age, this could show a digestive problem or an intolerance to certain foodstuffs.