Children - I don’t care what the school says – I’ll take my kids to Ibiza in term time if I want to

Children, also known as kids or minors, are individuals who are typically under the age of 18 and have not yet reached adulthood. The precise definition of childhood varies by culture, but it is generally recognized as a period of time during which individuals are dependent on others for protection and guidance.

Childhood is a critical period of development, during which children undergo significant physical, emotional, cognitive, and social changes. These developmental processes vary substantially based on age, gender, cultural background, and environment. Understanding the different stages of childhood and the factors that can impact development is essential for parents, caregivers, educators, and health professionals who work with children.

Physical Development

Physical development is one of the most obvious and measurable aspects of childhood. From infancy to adolescence, children experience rapid changes in their bodies, including their height, weight, muscle strength, and coordination. Children’s physical development can be influenced by genetic factors, nutrition, exercise, exposure to environmental toxins, and other factors.

During infancy, children experience significant physical growth. At birth, the average weight of a baby is around 7-8 pounds, but by their first birthday, they typically weigh around triple that amount. Infants also go through key milestones, such as learning to lift their head, roll over, sit up, crawl, and walk.

In early childhood (ages 2-6), children’s physical development continues at a rapid pace, but begins to slow down. Children become increasingly coordinated and gain strength and dexterity in their hands and fingers, which allows them to engage in more complex activities, such as drawing and writing.

By middle childhood (ages 7-12), children experience slower but still significant physical changes. They typically experience a growth spurt, with girls often experiencing this earlier than boys. Children may also begin to develop secondary sex characteristics, such as the growth of pubic hair and breast development in girls.

During adolescence (ages 13-18), physical development continues at a slower pace. Adolescents typically experience another growth spurt, with boys often growing taller and developing more muscle mass, while girls often experience changes in their body shape. Adolescents also experience puberty, with girls experiencing menstruation and boys beginning to produce sperm.

Emotional Development

Emotional development is an essential aspect of childhood. Children develop complex emotional skills and begin to understand and regulate their emotions in response to their environment. Emotional development is crucial for children’s mental health and well-being, as well as their ability to form positive relationships with others.

In infancy, children begin to express emotions through crying, smiling, and other nonverbal cues. These early emotional experiences lay the foundation for later emotional development. As children grow into early childhood, they begin to identify and label their emotions, such as happiness, sadness, anger, and fear. They may also develop empathy and understand the emotions of others.

By middle childhood, children’s emotional development becomes more complex. They may begin to experience more nuanced emotions, such as jealousy, guilt, and pride. Children may also begin to develop a sense of self-esteem and self-worth, based on their experiences and relationships with others.

During adolescence, emotional development continues to be a critical aspect of growing up. Adolescents may experience a range of intense emotions, such as anxiety, depression, and mood swings. These emotional changes can be attributed to hormonal changes, social pressures, and the challenges of navigating the transition from childhood to adulthood.

Cognitive Development

Cognitive development refers to the changes in children’s thinking, reasoning, and problem-solving abilities. Cognitive development is critical for children’s academic and social success, as well as their overall ability to adapt to their environment.

In infancy, cognitive development begins with basic sensory and perceptual skills, such as recognizing faces and sounds. By early childhood, children begin to develop language and communication skills, which allow them to understand and interact with the world around them.

During middle childhood, cognitive development continues to advance, with the development of more complex problem-solving and critical thinking abilities. Children also begin to think more abstractly and develop logical and mathematical reasoning skills.

The teenage years are a crucial period for cognitive development, as adolescents begin to think more abstractly and develop more sophisticated reasoning skills. Adolescents may also begin to develop their own values and beliefs, which can impact their decision-making and worldview.

Social Development

Social development refers to the changes in children’s ability to interact with others and form relationships. Social development is critical for children’s social and emotional well-being, as well as their ability to succeed academically and in the workforce.

In infancy, social development involves developing attachments to caregivers and learning how to interact with others through simple actions, such as smiling and crying. By early childhood, children begin to form friendships with peers and engage in play activities that involve cooperation and negotiation.

During middle childhood, social development becomes more complex, with children forming cliques and social hierarchies. Children may also begin to engage in more sophisticated social behaviors, such as sharing, taking turns, and resolving conflicts.

The teenage years are a critical period for social development, as adolescents begin to form romantic relationships and explore their independence from parents and caregivers. Adolescents may also begin to form their own sense of identity and develop a sense of responsibility for their actions.


Childhood is a complex and dynamic period of development, during which children undergo significant physical, emotional, cognitive, and social changes. Understanding the different stages of childhood and the factors that can impact development is essential for parents, caregivers, educators, and health professionals who work with children. By promoting healthy development and addressing challenges early on, we can help ensure that all children have the best possible start in life.

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How to get an elite education for your children without spending a fortune


23-05-16 12:10

UK parents struggling with the rising rates of private school tuition are exploring alternative educational options. Some are choosing to use state education up to the age of 11 before choosing private schooling for GCSEs and sixth-year studies. This approach takes advantage of cheaper tuition during the early years while offering access to the advantages of the private sector later on, without locking children into expensive private educations for their entire schooling. Another option involves staying in state education while offering additional academic tutoring. Still, others opt for an international option that entails studying the "International Baccalaureate" which has been praised for opening up elite educational opportunities to all.
English pupils overtake Poland to come fourth in world literacy rankings


23-05-16 10:34

Primary school children in England have overtaken Finland and Poland to become the fourth-most literate in the world, outranked only by Singapore, Hong Kong and Russia, according to the latest Progress in International Reading Literacy Study. England’s score of 558 was above the international average of 520 and was attributed to the focus on phonics as a teaching method. Among the 43 countries tested, only 11, including England, did not show a significant drop in scores since 2016. The gender gap in England has also narrowed, with girls outperforming boys in most countries.
Are China’s ‘talent dividends’ enough to sustain the country’s rise?

South China Morning Post

23-05-16 10:20

The ageing population in China is raising questions over the sustainability of China's economic growth. India recently replaced it as the most populous country in the world, prompting analysts to question whether China's demographic dividends - a large workforce without significant burden on younger or older generations - will continue. According to the Seventh National Chinese Population Census, the age dependency ratio in China increased to 46.3% in 2021. The UN predicts the total dependency ratio could exceed 75% by 2055. China has encouraged young couples to have children, but analysts are sceptical about the incentives' effectiveness. China should turn its focus to technology and innovation, especially in the sector of aged care, as a way of mitigating this growing demographic issue.
6 children seriously injured when school bus and truck collide in Australia

The Toronto Star

23-05-16 10:04

A truck has hit a bus carrying up to 45 students on the outskirts of Melbourne, in a crash that left six children seriously injured. The bus overturned in the accident and several children were trapped in the wreckage. Emergency services attended the scene and treated 21 children and one adult. A police investigation is underway but the truck driver was unhurt. The pupils were returning to Exford Primary School after competing in an athletics competition for children aged 8-11 years.
Sats tests shouldn't be too hard - schools minister


23-05-16 09:32

England's schools minister, Nick Gibb, has said that SATs tests for pupils in Year 6 will not be made "too hard for children." In response to concerns raised by teachers and parents about a reading paper many branded as too difficult, Gibb said the tests had to "test a range of ability," but stressed that the purpose was to ensure the tests were appropriate for the age group. The results from the tests for 10 and 11-year-olds provide a measure of a school's performance as well as the government's progress in improving maths and English literature skills.
Princess of Wales beaten by Dame Kelly Holmes at bean-bag noughts and crosses


23-05-16 17:04

Dame Kelly Holmes triumphed over the Princess of Wales in a game of bean-bag noughts and crosses during a charity event in Bath. The two-time Olympic champion led a team of 11-13-year-olds from St Katherine's School in Bristol competing in the On Track To Achieve programme run by Holmes and Paralympic gold medallist Liz Johnson. The event, organised to mark Mental Health Awareness Week, was hosted by the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, which teams up elite athletes with young people with confidence issues. Holmes is a passionate advocate of the belief that every young person needs a champion.
Lower child-care fees could see 100,000 more Ontario women in workforce: report

The Toronto Star

23-05-16 15:09

Ontario's $10-a-day childcare programme has the potential to bring almost 100,000 women into the labour market, but the government must create more daycare spaces, according to the provincial financial watchdog. The Financial Accountability Office also warns in a new report that the 71,000 new childcare spaces planned will not be enough to cope with demand and that if insufficient spaces are created, the benefits of the program could be lost. The report also finds a significant discrepancy between the employment rates of men with young children and women in the same category.
Mau­soleum of foot­ball leg­end Pele opens to pub­lic in Brazil

Al Jazeera

23-05-16 14:55

A mausoleum dedicated to Pele's golden coffin has opened to the public nearly half a year after the Brazilian football legend died of colon cancer. Located on the second floor of a high-rise cemetery in Santos, the mausoleum welcomes visitors with two golden statues of Pele, an artificial grass turf, and images of fans in a stadium with an endless soundtrack of cheers playing in the background. After a funeral that saw hundreds of thousands of people come to Santos to pay their respects, including Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Pele was laid to rest in January. He is one of the greatest football players of all time and the only player to win the World Cup three times.
Now woke Canada insults the war dead of Vimy Ridge


23-05-16 13:55

The Canadian government's decision to eliminate historical imagery from its new passport, replacing it instead with pages featuring images such as a man raking leaves and a squirrel, has been criticised as disrespectful to Canada's heritage. Citizenship Minister Sean Fraser suggested that consultations with Indigenous communities and other government departments had shifted the passport's focus. Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre accused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of being out-of-touch and egotistical, claiming he could not "imagine there are any Canadian stories bigger than him". The Vimy Ridge Memorial, dedicated to fallen Commonwealth soldiers, is among those images no longer included on the travel document.
Autistic teen attempted suicide after site refused to take down video

The Independent

23-05-16 19:27

An autistic teenager attempted suicide after footage of him engaging in aggressive behavior was widely shared on social media. Despite reporting the footage to the platform, the teen and his mother were told it did not violate community guidelines, according to Baroness Newlove. However, after accessing a voluntary-run service provided by Report Harmful Content, a charity administered by South West Grid for Learning, the offending footage was eventually removed, but only following mediation with the social media sites involved. An independent appeals procedure to provide redress for social media users was called for by peers during a review of the Online Safety Bill but was rejected by the government.
Perth mum told young son has leukaemia, loses parental rights the next day

The Sydney Morning Herald

23-05-16 19:00

A single mother in Perth, Australia, has launched legal action to regain custody of her son, whom the Department of Communities had taken into provisional care after learning of his leukaemia treatment plan. The woman, who is unnamed, was told she could not take the boy out of hospital overnight after his diagnosis in January, despite admitting fluids and medications for the child. The mother disputed claims that she had refused chemotherapy treatment, and said that she was ultimately threatened with the loss of her child in order to ensure compliance with hospital guidelines and to “work with the hospital” in future. A judge will now decide where the child will receive future treatment.
Kidnapped girl found after six years as shop owner recognises her from Netflix documentary


23-05-16 18:22

A teenage girl who was kidnapped six years ago has been found in North Carolina after a shop owner recognised her from a Netflix true crime documentary series and phoned the police. Kayla Unbehaun, nine at the time of the abduction by her non-custodial mother, Heather, from South Elgin, Illinois, in 2017, was discovered in a shopping centre in Asheville. Heather Unbehaun has been charged with child abduction by the Kane County State's Attorney in Illinois and is awaiting extradition from North Carolina, held on bail of $250,000.
Princess of Wales beaten by Dame Kelly Holmes at bean-bag noughts and crosses


23-05-16 17:04

Dame Kelly Holmes triumphed over the Princess of Wales in a game of bean-bag noughts and crosses during a charity event in Bath. The two-time Olympic champion led a team of 11-13-year-olds from St Katherine's School in Bristol competing in the On Track To Achieve programme run by Holmes and Paralympic gold medallist Liz Johnson. The event, organised to mark Mental Health Awareness Week, was hosted by the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, which teams up elite athletes with young people with confidence issues. Holmes is a passionate advocate of the belief that every young person needs a champion.
Our ‘obsession’ with phonics has worked


23-05-16 16:59

England has been ranked fourth out of 43 countries for the reading ability of children aged nine to 10, according to the Pirls international survey. The country scored highest of all English-speaking nations and ranked above countries including Japan and Denmark. The score was a tribute to the approximately 250,000 primary school teachers who had embraced the learning of systematic synthetic phonics, said Conservative MP Nick Gibb. Gibb argued that evidence from international surveys showed regular reading could reduce or even eliminate the impact of a disadvantageous background on a child's academic success.
Mother sparks debate after using Apple AirTags to ‘track’ her children

The Independent

23-05-16 22:08

A mother in North Carolina has provoked debate after using Apple AirTags to track her children’s location. Vada Stevens revealed via TikTok that she utilises the devices in bracelet form to monitor the movements of her young daughters. She shared a video showing two-year-old Stella and one-year-old Serena responding to the sound of an AirTag beeping before running back to their mother. Despite many positive comments regarding the safety advantages of such usage, some social media users argued that the approach could cause long-lasting psychological harm for children.
Children in school bus crash suffer amputations, head and spinal injuries

The Sydney Morning Herald

23-05-16 21:47

A Balliang man is in custody following a crash between a truck and a bus carrying pupils between two Melbourne schools. Thirteen children were taken to hospital with serious injuries after the bus was hit by the truck on the suburban border between Exford and Eynesbury, about 25 miles west of the Australian city’s central business district. The truck driver was not seriously hurt, but remained in custody, with police planning to question him.
Rep Lauren Boebert files for divorce from her husband

The Independent

23-05-16 21:19

Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert has announced she is filing for divorce from her husband in a statement citing "irreconcilable differences". The Colorado representative and her husband have been married since 2007 and run a restaurant in Rifle until last year when the lease was not renewed. Boebert secured re-election in November after a close race which forced a recount.
How do I keep my children grounded financially?

Financial Times

23-05-17 04:22

Experts have said that parents passing on significant amounts of inherited wealth to their children should adopt an open approach to money matters, with an emphasis on educating their offspring about money and instilling the right attitudes. While riches can lead to issues with drug addiction, gambling and a sense of entitlement, transparency is seen as the best course of action. After outlining the values and concerns, it is suggested that parents educate their children on the value of money, its proper usage, saving and budgeting. Setting financial goals and devising plans to achieve them in conjunction with pocket money and part-time jobs can be helpful. For larger sums of money which are less immediately accessible, advisers should be appointed to explain different savings and investment options, risks attached to various plans, and the salient benefits of longer-term strategies.
Children seriously hurt in Australia school bus crash


23-05-17 01:36

A bus carrying 45 primary school children was involved in a horrific crash near Melbourne, Australia, after being hit from behind by a truck. Nine children aged between 5 and 11 sustained injuries, including amputations, head and spinal injuries, requiring emergency surgery. The truck driver was taken into custody, but not charged. The bus had just picked up pupils from Exford Primary School on Melbourne’s western fringes when the collision occurred. Australia has a below-average road safety record compared to other advanced economies and is currently ranked 20th of out of 36 OECD countries in terms of road fatalities.