A child's ability to learn can be influenced by physical, emotional and cognitive development. While these three areas are distinctly different they are connected in many ways. Due to this interconnectedness, a child might present with a problem in one area, but its cause actually lies in another. It is important to understand these development areas in order to assess where your child is excelling and where they may need help.
Your child's physical health can influence how they perform at school. Children are naturally exuberant; a child that is exhibiting signs of listlessness or lethargy could be experiencing health problems. A healthy diet, moderate exercise and good sleeping patterns are tantamount to the health of your child.
General practitioner, Dr. Linda Baigent, says that the human body needs a good balance of carbohydrates, protein and fats as well as vitamins and minerals to develop and function properly. "Children require more sleep than adults and a good night's sleep is extremely important; nine to ten hours is vital for primary school learners. If your child is going to bed early but still seems tired, they may be a restless sleeper and may be suffering from allergies, post nasal drip, an iron deficiency or ear problems," advises Dr. Baigent. Problems at home can be challenging
Your child's emotional development relates to their feelings, how they handle situations and processes their emotional reaction to them. Emotional intelligence or EQ is a person's ability to measure, identify and control their emotions. Educational psychologist Annemi Scheepers says problems at home can be challenging for your child to handle and may filter across to affecting their performance at school. "Sibling rivalry, fighting between parents, divorce, the death of a close relative or an emotionally unavailable parent are just some of the problems which may occur in the home environment and affect your child in the classroom."
Cognitive development refers to your child's ability to learn, reason and solve problems. Cognitive skills like concentration, perception, memory and logical thinking are mental skills which are used to acquire knowledge. "When a child struggles to acquire knowledge in certain areas, it may indicate a cognitive skill deficit," explains Susan du Plessis, director of educational programmes at Edublox. If you know what to look for, cognitive problems are easy to spot. Does your child reverse letters like "b" and "d" or confuse numbers like 65 and 56? Speak to your child's teacher to find out if your child struggles to copy correctly from the board or if they battle with story sums.