Several factors can affect physical development in early childhood. Participating in physical activities such as running, climbing, or playing ball will promote normal physical development in early childhood. Proper diet and nutrition during infancy and toddler years will also promote normal growth and physical development. Illness or disease can influence the physical development of a child. Most medical experts and scientists believe that hereditary factors also affect growth and development during early childhood years.
Genetics play a key role in physical development in early childhood. Some children grow at a seemingly fast pace, while others are smaller than average. A child who is considered small for his age may have parents who are shorter than average. In many cases, the rate of physical development in children correlates to the rate of development his parents achieved at the same age.
The environment in which a child is raised may play an important role in childhood development. Children who are exposed to air pollution may develop chronic lung disease or bouts of pneumonia. A child exposed to extremely loud noise on a daily basis may suffer from hearing loss, which may become apparent when starting school. Children who live in a stressful environment may develop poor eating habits that may contribute to obesity.
Children who are malnourished will typically experience abnormal physical development. This may include soft bones from lack of calcium, or a weakened immune system. Malnutrition may also lead to early tooth decay in children.
In addition, children who do not receive childhood immunizations may develop disease. Some childhood disease can negatively affect a child's physical development, or cause serious health complications, such as heart disease. According to medical experts, a child who has been vaccinated against various diseases stands a better chance of developing normally.
Physical development may also be impaired when young children do not receive adequate physical exercise on a regular basis. Experts recommend that parents encourage children as young as three years old to participate in physical activities every day. Regular exercise may strengthen bones and muscles, as well as improve coordination in very young children.
Chronic illness or serious disease, such as cystic fibrosis, cancer, or asthma may also affect physical development in early childhood. Some medical conditions such as cerebral palsy may impair fine motor skills and coordination in young children. In many cases, physical rehabilitation therapy may improve or develop a child's fine and gross motor skills.