Infancy and Childhood Development

Infancy and Early Childhood Development An infant is completely dependent, and the trust an infant develops is based on how dependable and reliable the caregiver is. Erik Erikson theory states that between birth and one year of age is the most important stage in psychosocial life development. Although it may not seem a significant amount of time, newborns and infants go through a lot of development compared to the rest of their average 75 years of life expectancy. This paper will explain how families affect the development of infants and young children.

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Evaluate different parenting styles and their influence on development during infancy and early childhood. It will also discuss early childhood education and its influence on cognitive development. How Families Affect Development Parents and cultures are pivotal to this process, which makes it biosocial not merely biological development (Berger, Ch. 5, 2007). Families greatly affect and infants developmental stages more than just socially, brain development is also affected.

Parents and caregivers behaviors influence schedule and expectations of sleep patterns. Starting from birth is important to setting a pattern because sleep becomes regular and distinct sleep-wake patterns develop by age 1 (Berger, Ch. 5, 2007). Sleep deprivation is detrimental to brain development. The child gains its patterns from how structured the caregiver makes the scheduled. A mother who takes their child out constantly and has inconsistent hours may find it hard for their child to develop a sleep pattern as they get older.

Mother who set a strict schedule in the early stages finds their children able to settle in to a consistent sleep pattern. Although giving a balance to what the infant is exposed to is just as important. Every gesture, move, sound and sight is a new experience for the infant. Early experiences help with the development of the parts of the cortex that are dedicated to senses and motor skills. The experiences are vital to synapses link to neurons. If the neurons go unused the brain will redirect that region to other sensations causing a lack of development in certain areas.

Caregivers and parents need to constantly expose the infant to new experiences especially during the first year. Because each culture is different experience-dependant brain growth is different in each infant, but all well developed infants have the same potential in capabilities of emotion, linguistics, and sensory. Some emotions began at birth but other develop over time anger emerges with restriction and frustration, between 4 and 8 months of age, and becomes stronger by age 1 (Berger, p. 201, 2007).

Fear develops at the end of age 1 as well but behaviorist believe that babies learn many things from their parents including fear. What to fear and what brings joy can come from learned actions of the parent or caregiver. The first 2 years are considered extremely important in all theories, caregivers and parents highly influence the child’s behaviors. In the epigenetic theory it is expressed that the influence even affects genetic traits such as temperament. Temperament is genetic but how the child inhibits it is influenced by the parent’s behaviors.

Since human development in general is directly related to its cultural environment the caregiver-infant relationship has a huge impact on the infant’s development. The interaction the parent or caregiver has with the infant shapes the behavior. Influence from Parenting Styles Early years of a child are very important in developing emotional, social, physical, language, and even think skills. Parents are ongoing role models through the child life but the aspects of parenting that are linked with development of young children are social and emotional development.

Parenting styles can be defined along two important dimensions: 1. Responsiveness: how well the parent is attuned to the child and able to respond to the child’s needs and interests, and 2. Control: how much the parent supervises and disciplines the child and requires obedience and self-control. (Canadian Council on Learning, p. 2, 2007) The style of parenting my parents used would be a combination of both responsiveness and control. However my mother was more controlling and less responsive compared to my father.

I believe the affect that my parents parenting style had on me was somewhat positive although I do lack an emotional closeness to my family. I look for more of a friendship with my family versus a loving emotional connection. Socially I am not as strong as I think I could have been because I had trouble gaining friends in my early childhood. My interests were driven by what my parents wanted and what I believed would make them happy versus my own deep desires. Early Childhood Education and Cognitive Development Piaget and Vygotsky had quit a few differences but there bases where very similar.

In general both theories state cognitive development happen throughout time. The differences however are between stages and zones, and interaction with more knowledgeable beings. Vygotsky’s theory emphasized the need of a MKO or More Knowledgeable Other. Piaget’s theory doesn’t need any outside influence learning is internally stimulated. Piaget believed during early childhood maturity is achieved through stimilizing the cognitive ability. The maturing of the mind and thought process occurs from an education rich in hands on learning and sensory driven activities.

During the child’s life span the child’s imagination and creativity become the main source that drives the learning process. Around this stage, 2-7 years old, education depends on maturing the cognitive schemes and developing new ones. Vygotsky and Piaget theories also differentiate by the use of Zone of Proximal Development, ZPD, and Stages. I believed Vygotsky to be more accurate. I think his learning theory of scaffolding and using different levels of assistance from a MKO is important to cognitive development. Also language has a very important role in learning development.

Yes both Piaget’s and Vygotsky’s theories both put and emphasis on the environment playing a significant part in the cognitive development process but “Vygotsky provided a very influential theory which provided a meaningful social context in the development of learning” (Eddy, n. d. ). Conclusion Society, parents or caregivers, and environment are major influence in infant and early childhood development. Behaviors and personalities are molded beginning earlier than age 1. Education during the early childhood not only promotes growth intellectually but develops social maturity.

The parent must find the balance and guide the infant not force them through their experience in order to obtain a beneficial development process. I believe the saying is true, “it takes a village to raise a child”. Reference Berger, Kathleen Stassen. (2007). The Developing Person Trough the Lifespan seventh edition. Canadian Council on Learning. (2007). Lessons in Learning. p2. Retrieved July 22, 2011 From http://www. ccl-cca. ca/pdfs/LessonsInLearning/Dec-13-07-Parenting-styles. pdf Eddy, Samuel. Psycho Hawks Making Psychology Simple for Everyone. . Retrieved July 24, 2011. From http://psychohawks. wordpress. com/about-the-blog/

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