Archive | August, 2012

Toddlers: Explorers By Nature

30 Aug

Let’s say that there’s a mother of a boy named Christopher.  Christopher is a toddler and since getting ‘into everything’, as toddlers do, his mother has been keeping him in a playpen for most hours of the day.  Here is my response for my Infant and Toddler Development class based on Erikson’s theory of development….

I would try and help Christopher’s mother to understand just how important it is to keep her child out of the playpen.  Toddlers are explorers by nature; they are extra curious in discovering how the world works around them.

Parents and caregivers should allow children to become familiar with the environment.  Children require stimulation, ie: sensory and the manipulation of objects.  Allowing them to explore is also vital to their physical growth (University of Illinois).  By crawling around and grabbing onto furniture a child is slowly enhancing their gross motor skills.

This would be best explained to a person like Derek’s mother through Erikson’s first three stages of psychosocial development:

1.) Trust vs. Mistrust, where parents should interact with their child in order to instill an element of trust.

2.)  Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt, where it is important to introduce independency in order to instill confidence.

3.)  Initiative vs. Guilt, where children assert power and control through play and interactions.  This instills the feeling of social cabability to lead others (about.com).

As previously mentioned, allowing toddlers to explore their natural surroundings is necessary to their social and physical development. Most importantly, toddlers require parental interaction and improval to enhance their confidence, thus shaping the people that they will become in the future.  This will not only assist them in developing confidence with people, but with their world surrounding them as well. So in reality, a playpen is not the best place for Christopher.  As he grows, it may affect him in negative ways, socially.  His mother may find that he does not trust others, or that he has developed a fear of exploration.  According to Erikson, Christopher could also have feelings of self-doubt or inadequacy, as a result of not having control over certain choices such as food, toys, or clothing, which is vital to the beginning stages of independency (about.com).

In my opinion, toddlers are some of the most interesting human beings on earth.  When parents provide them with the freedom to explore is when they will discover how joyful it is to watch their child grow during a crucial stage in development.

Sources:

http://psychology.about.com/od/psychosocialtheories/a/psychosocial_2.htm

http://urbanext.illinois.edu/toddlers/exploring.cfm

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Let’s Examine the Language of a 2-year-old…

13 Aug

I have recently completed a language observation assignment for my Infant & Toddler Development class.  Here are my results…

For the past few days, I having been listening and observing the language of 2-year-old Liv.  Judging by what I have read in the Berk text, she is exactly where she should be as far as language development is concerned.  It is also amazing how much this child relates to the many explanations of her growth stage in chapter six of my college textbook, as it relates to the tactics I have been using to aid in enhancing her growth.

At exactly 25 months old, Liv is in “the two-word utterance phase”  Today, I went to go and visit with her.  Even this very morning when I walked in the door to her home, she said: “Cole here!”–meaning “Nicole is here”.  As described on page 239 in the Berk text,  these two-word utterances are known as “telegraphic speech”.  Ths means that the child will focused on the subject matter, leaving out the shorter, less important words or phrases.  In this case, Liv left out the word “is”.

I’d like to believe that I have had much influence in supporting Olivia’s early language development.  She has terrific capabilities of recognition and recall–this had been developed through reading stories, and the incorporation of child-directed speech as well as flash cards.  Through the utilization of flash cards I have been able to help strengthen Liv’s language, object recognition skills, and cognitive development.  This is done through lots of repetition and, as mentioned, child-directed speech (CDS).  CDS is a form of speech in which parents and caregivers speak to the child in short sentences with “high-pitched, exaggerated expression, meaning, and repetition of new words in a variety of contexts” (Berk, 2012, pg. 241).  This behavior is similar to that of the mother who was dressing her baby in The Baby Human DVD.  She utilized that opportunity for face-time with the little girl with melodic CDS.  As mentioned in the DVD, it almost sounds like song–a mixture of high and low pitches.  What is interesting is that the child seems very engaged with her mother; this could very well be a result of the soothing rhythum of her mother’s words.

I believe that as a child enters the toddler years the CDS gradually changes.  For instance, I still find myself speaking in various tones and pitches with 2-year-old Liv, but there has been a decreasing use of “baby talk”.  Now I exhibit kindness in my voice and use longer sentences.  The more words that are used when speaking to a toddler means the more new words that they will learn, as there exists a demanding task of using additional words in order to communicate (Berk, 2012).

Baby Vision, Inc. (2009). The Baby Human (DVD). Richmond Hill, Ontario

Berk, L. (2012). Infants and Children Prenatal Through MIddle Childhood. Seventh Edition: Pearson Education, Inc.

False Hope With Early Development

6 Aug

Ever see that commercial for “My Baby Can Read”?  No offense, but I think it’s sort of silly.

Let’s say there was a neighbor that was reluctant to enroll a 5-moth-old baby into an infant stimulation class.  In this class the baby would “learn” to reading and mathematics.

There is nothing wrong with exposing a young child to reading, adding and subtraction.  According to Dr. Lin Day, early experiences play an important role later with math and science learning in school.  By introducing a child to math through play, it may help them build an interest for future learning.

However, I would tell this parent to beware of any false hope.  Five-month-old babies do not possess the mental capacities that school-aged children do.  They may be able to eventually understand the concept of order (the number 3 follow the number 2), but it is doubtful that they will leave an infant stimulation class with the ability to count nonetheless add or subtract (Day, 2008).

In the DVD, The Baby Human: “To Walk”, there are a few babies that are crawling on a raised checkered floor.  The floor next to it is an optical illusion—the checkered floor is down below a glass surface, so it appears to the child that if he or she crawls on top of it, they may plummet through (although they won’t because of the clear, glass surface).  What is interesting is that these babies were able to use logical thinking skills.  They looked down and recognized that it may have been unsafe for them to continue across the unit. In reality, the children were wrong—the glass would have saved them from falling.  So while I am commending the children for using reasoning skills, this test from the DVD proves that they only did what was appropriate for their age group.  These children were far too young to understand that if they simply put one hand on the glass to determine if they would fall through or not, then they would have been able to crawl across.  Therefore, how can a child of the same learning caliber possibly comprehend any kind of mathematical or reading skills?  In the end, 5-month-old babies do not have the cognitive capacity for such a level of learning.

I personally believe that infants can only be prepped for what the type of learning that they will be exposed to in the future.  For example, the University of Vienna concluded that there is no proof that listening to Mozart or any type of “passive learning” provides miraculous reasoning benefits.  It has been found though, that children that receive musical or instrumental instruction excel in fine motor skills, tone discrimination, and vocabulary and nonverbal reasoning.  Other researchers claim that these children also do well in mathematical reasoning and spatial relationships (Their, 2010).

Each of these studies back up the claim that a 5-month-old child does not have an advanced-enough learning capacity to learn math or reading.  As I’ve mentioned, it is great to introduce babies to learning strategies, but we shouldn’t expect any newsworthy results.  It’s only the first step in enhancing the developments of a child.  As Their states in his article: “…you may need to do more than put on a CD during playtime”.

In addition, why are we rushing children to learn so much, so soon?  They won’t stay babies for long and when they are grown then trust me, you will wish you had cherished those goo-goo gah-gah moments with all your hearts.

Sources:

Day, Dr. Lin. “Babies and Mathematics.” Baby Sensory. N.p., 2008. Web. 24 July 2012. <http://www.babysensory.com/Downloads/MathsEN.pdf&gt;.

The Baby Human: “To Walk” Discovery, n.d. DVD.

Thier, Dave. “‘Mozart Effect’ on Babies a Myth, Research Says.” AOL News. America Online, 11 May 2010. Web. 24 July 2012. <http://www.aolnews.com/2010/05/11/mozart-effect-on-babies-a-myth-research-says/&gt;.