Considering the child's needs - the Seven Developmental Domains


This area includes progress towards achieving all the physical developmental milestones from childhood to puberty, injury prevention and immunisation against preventable illnesses, managing childhood illnesses and accidental injuries, personal hygiene, good dental care, the provision of a healthy diet and the development and maintenance of a physically active lifestyle. It includes the management of specific health conditions such as asthma, allergies, diabetes, cancers etc and /or disabilities such as vision loss, hearing loss, speech impairment, mobility difficulties, etc.  During adolescence, sexual health and alcohol and drug usage become important.

Emotional and Behavioural Development

This area focuses on the child’s responses to other people and the world around them, as reflected in their feelings and demonstrated through their actions. Positive attachments and nurturing relationships build healthy emotional and behavioural responses that equip the child to better deal with stresses and become resilient. However poor quality attachments, continually stressful experiences and/or especially traumatic experiences can mean that a child develops patterns of thinking and ways of responding that can negatively impact on their emotional and behavioural development.


This area covers the child or young person’s thinking and learning processes from birth to adulthood. Education is much broader than formal schooling, although participation in pre-school, primary school, secondary school and vocational training is very important for developing life skills and the capacity to continually learn. Every child needs to be supported by those who care for them to have high aspirations so that they maximise the benefits of formal education, fulfil their potential and develop the skills that will equip them for a good life.

Family and Social Relationships

Families provide the primary social relationships for a child. Children need a positive relationship with at least one significant adult to provide a secure base from which to develop other positive relationships. Sibling relationships are also very important. Maintaining positive connections with as many members of their extended family as possible is important for a child’s stability, especially if a child cannot live with either or both of their biological parents. This area also considers the child’s capacity to make friends, get on with peers and develop the skills needed for future successful adult relationships as partners, parents, friends and work colleagues.


This area covers the question of ‘Who am I?’ and where do I belong. The sense of self is influenced by their gender, ethnicity, religion, sexuality and physical appearance. Family, community and culture provide significant elements of a child’s identity, especially for Aboriginal children. Photos, certificates, mementos, recalling and retelling shared experiences develop the individual child or young person’s “life story” about growing up in a particular time and place.

Social Presentation

A child’s appearance, social behaviour and personal habits affect how other people perceive and treat them. These reactions will affect a child’s self esteem and self confidence. The way a child or young person is dressed, their physical appearance and their behaviours lead to judgements being made by others. Young people need help and resources to present themselves in ways that help them to be positively regarded by their peers and adults. Recreation and leisure activities develop self confidence and skills related to successful interactions with peers.

Self Care Skills

All children need to be given the opportunity to care for themselves at a level appropriate to their age and ability with the goal of eventual independence. From babies drinking from a cup, to toilet training to completing simple chores to being ready to live independently. Most of these skills are developed from observing the role modelling of others.

For more detailed information on the Seven Developmental Domains, download the document below.

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