дитя и ребёнок
Both дитя and ребёнок appear to mean "child".
I can't really find the difference between them. Would anyone know when it's more appropriate to use each, if we can use them interchangeably in some situations and if there are situations where one is less appropriate?
Any insights on this would be appreciated :)
Usual disclaimer: not a native speaker.
That said, I have pretty much never heard дитя used in the singular, but always ребёнок. Conversely ребёнок I have only ever heard in the singular except when it's used casually to mean "guys" - ребята.
The plural of дитя is used for the plural of ребёнок, so you get a situation where the singular is pretty much always a form of ребёнок and the plural a form of дитя, so that's why you have он ребёнок but они дети.
I wouldn't say you'd never come across дитя as a singular form, and like I say, ребята is used albeit in a different meaning, but for yourself, if you use the guideline ребёнок = singular and дети = plural, you'll probably be right at least 99% of the time ;)
You are right - we use "ребёнок" for singular and "дети" for plural. There is a number of expressions where "дитя" is used in singular: "моё дитя" is an ironic way to refer to a child, since it is a neuter gender used for a human; "чем бы дитя не тешилось..." - a common reproach to a person passionately doing something useless.