Child Development

To learn more about child development and the various categories associated with it, click a category below.

Work

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Tractors

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Play

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Work

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Tractors

Intro to Child Development and Tractors

Play

Playing is an important means for children to develop physically, emotionally, socially and intellectually. Different types of play activities influence these attributes of development. An ideal play area blends activities matched to the developmental stages and abilities of children.

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Videos


Intro to Child Development and Tractors

Follow The Leader: Parental Modeling

Training With A Positive Attitude

Child Development 101

Child Development Is More Than Physical Size And Strength

Tired Children Make Mistakes

Child Development Can’t Be Rushed

Children’s Sociocultural Development

Children’s Social Development

Children’s Perceptual Development

Children’s Physical Development

Children’s Cognitive Development

Prevention Briefs


Child Development & Tractor Charts


Topic
Characteristics
Safety Strategies for Adults
Modeling
Youth learn a lot from watching adults they trust, and will typically copy the behaviors they see.
Model safe behavior. Youth will more often “do what you do” rather than following what you say.
Teaching
Practice and repetition help youth of all ages learn new tasks.
Teach first, let youth try the task, then provide positive and constructive feedback. Always offer positive feedback before critiquing the job.
Attention Span
Attention improves with age, but most youth don’t develop adult-level attention spans until young adulthood.
Assign short tasks, provide frequent breaks and change tasks often, adjusting tasks and work time as youth grow and mature.
Decision Making
Youth get better and faster at making decisions as they develop, but even older adolescents can make risky and impulsive decisions.
Don’t put youth in situations where a bad decision can cause serious injury.
Transferred Learning
Youth may not easily transfer learning from one task to another.
Don’t assume youth will know what to do when given a new task. Teach them the new task and ensure competency.
Supervision
Because of youth’s underdeveloped abilities, they need to be supervised by adults. Supervision can prevent injuries.
The type and level of supervision will vary depending on the youth’s age and ability, plus the task. Visit supervision and work guidelines sections for more information.
Rules
All youth benefit from rules that are known, understood and obeyed. Young children will only remember a few rules, but older youth will remember more.
For youth of all ages, set rules and enforce them consistently. Explain the reasons for the rules and follow the rules yourself. Remember that youth will notice if you violate rules, and they may copy risky behavior.
Praise
Praise positive and safe behaviors. Behavior that is reinforced will likely be repeated.
Tell youth when they do something safely, using a proud and congratulatory tone. This works well for adolescents and children.
Size, Strength & Stamina
Younger children have less size, strength and stamina than older youth. They may try unwise things that are beyond their ability.
Assign tasks involving smaller loads and shorter distances. Provide frequent breaks. Adjust as youth mature.
Confidence
Youth, especially adolescents, may feel overconfident and even invincible and take risks.
Set and enforce rules. Monitor and supervise.
Self-Identity
Many youth value how they look. Especially in adolescence, they want to impress peers. This can lead to hairstyles and outfits that create risk.
Encourage independence and self-identity, but monitor hairstyles and clothing. Set rules to tie back long hair and avoid loose clothing. Ensure personal protection is not skipped in favor of appearance.
Developed by David Schwebel, PhD, Child Development Specialist, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Age
Developmental Characteristics
Safety Strategies
Age Appropriate Play Ideas
6 to 23 months
  • Has difficulty with balance
  • Fascinated by movement
  • Enjoys pretend play
  • Likes to explore surroundings
  • Experiments with sense stimulus (touch, smell, taste)
  • No sense of danger
  • Provide constant supervision
  • Requires fenced in play area with latched gate
  • Avoid uneven or slippery surfaces
  • Keep away from moving machinery
  • Place chemicals and sharp objects our of reach or locked up
  • Following play provide good handwashing
  • Sandbox
  • Playhouse
  • Low climbing objects
  • Swing set
  • Water table with cups/funnels
  • Balls to toss or roll
  • Small steps to climb and tires/barrels to crawl through
  • bubbles
2 to 5 year olds
  • Energetic
  • Can jump over objects 5-6 inches high
  • Balances and hops on one foot
  • Can solve problems if simple and concrete
  • Will play alone or with others
  • Enjoys mimicking adults
  • Does not understand hazards
  • Has illogical or imaginative thinking
  • Provide constant supervision
  • Requires a physical barrier from work areas
  • Attracted to adult farm activities and will want to help
  • Watch for tripping hazards
  • Teach and require child to wear safety helmets
  • Teach and provide good handwashing
  • Swing set
  • Balls to throw, kick and catch
  • Balance beam or stepping stones
  • Props for imaginative play
  • Bubbles
  • Sand box with tools
  • Group games: Duck Duck Goose
  • Playhouse
  • Water table with cups/funnels
  • Tire jungle for climbing
  • Toy tractors
6 to 8 year olds
  • Poor hand-eye coordination
  • Seeks parental approval
  • Operates with concrete facts
  • Unable to have abstract thought
  • Enjoys quiet activities
  • Curious about how things work
  • Short attention span, like to remain active
  • Provide constant supervision
  • Child will attempt adult activities to impress parents
  • Child is not ready for responsibility
  • Set boundaries for play area and enforce rules
  • Require safety helmets when appropriate
  • Require handwashing after play
  • Kite flying
  • Bicycles with helmet
  • Jumping rope
  • Tree house
  • Pretend school or farm store
  • Balance beam
  • Stepping stones
  • Swing set
  • Sandbox
  • Garden tools
  • Group games: Hide and Seek
  • Tire jungle for climbing
9 to 10 year olds
  • Have good coordination skills, but will have awkward moments
  • Desires peer and social acceptance
  • Desires to be independent from adults; will attempt to do activities without adults
  • Successes are important
  • Improvements in reaction time
  • Specialized motor skills have developed
  • Body strength and dexterity increase
  • Does not fully understand consequences
  • Risk taker
  • Provide intermittent/periodic supervision during play
  • Set and enforce simple rules on boundaries of play area with consistent consequences
  • Reward child for good behavior
  • Assign low risk takers with hand tools
  • Remove keys from ignition of tractors and other vehicles; keep keys in safe locaton away from children
  • Instruct children to stay away from work area
  • Instruct workers to return child to play area if found in work area
  • Provide safety helmets
  • Require handwashing
  • Team and individual sports
  • Monkey bars and other climbing structures
  • Tire swing
  • Sandbox
  • Chalk board with colored chalk
  • Tree house
  • Airplanes
  • Snow forts
  • Sprinklers
  • Bicycle with helmet
  • Skates and protective gear