Knowledge of child development

Increased knowledge of the developmental stages and milestones for infants and young children enhances a parent’s ability to foster realistic, age-appropriate expectations for behavior and has important implications for how parents can support their child’s development with positive interactions, using developmentally-appropriate discipline practices, and providing cognitively stimulating environments. Research shows that mothers with more knowledge of child development are more likely to provide developmental stimulation to their children and that their children in turn have better developmental outcomes (Goodnow, 1988; Miller, 1988; Dichtelmiller et al., 1992; Ertem et al, 2007). Moreover, clinicians may rely on a parent’s knowledge about the health and development of their children for decision making, counseling and referrals (Glascoe & Dworkin 1995). Increased knowledge of a child’s developmental milestones can lead to early detection of developmental delays and health issues. 

To track increases in knowledge over time, participant data could be collected at intake/enrollment; at 3, 6, or 12 months after point of enrollment; and at termination/exit. To examine performance on this outcome measure across program cycles, one may compare the relative performance of different cohorts on this outcome measure annually, or after each program cycle.


Work Cited

Dichtelmiller, M., Meisels, S. J., Plunkett, J. W., Bozynski, M. E. A., Claflin, C. & Mangelsdorf, S. C. (1992) The relationship of parental knowledge to the development of extremely low birth weight infants. Journal of Early Intervention, 16, 210–220.

Ertem, I.O., Atay, G., Dogan, D.G., Bayhan, A., Bingoler, B.E., Goc, C.G., Ozbas, S., Haznedaroglu, D. & Isikli, S. (2007). Mother’s Knowledge of Young Child Development in a Developing Country. Child: care health and development, 33, 6, 728-737.

Glascoe, F. P. & Dworkin, P. H. (1995) The role of parents in the detection of developmental and behavioral problems. Pediatrics, 95, 829–836.

Goodnow, J. J. (1988) Parents’ ideas, actions and feelings: models and methods from developmental and social psychology. Child Development, 59, 286–320.

Miller, S. A. (1988) Parents’ beliefs about children’s cognitive development. Child Development, 59, 259–285.

Bornstein, M.H. (1989). Sensitive periods in development: Structural characteristics and causal interpretations. Psychological Bulletin 105(2): 179-197.

Belsky, J. C., Hertzog, C., & Revine, M. (1986). Causal analyses of multiple determinants of parenting: Empirical and methodological advances. In M. E. Lamb, A. L. Brown, & B. Rogoff (Eds.), Advances in Developmental Psychology, Volume 4 (pp. 153-202). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.

Miller, S. A. (1995) Parents’ attributions for their children’s behavior. Child Development, 66, 1557–1584.

Reich, S. (2005) What do mothers know? Maternal knowledge of child development. Infant Mental Health Journal, 26, 143–156.

Tamis-Lemonda, C. S., Chen, L. A. & Bornstein, M. (1998) Mothers’ knowledge about child play and language development: short-term stability and interrelations. Developmental Psychology, 34, 115–124.

Wacharasin, C., Barnard, K. E. & Spieker, S. J. (2003) Factors affecting toddler cognitive development in low-income families. Infants Young Child, 16, 175–181.