Developmental Psychology and Early Childhood

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EARLY CHILDHOOD
 
Parents label early childhood, which extends from 02 to 06 years, as the problem, the troublesome or the toy-age; by educators as the Pre-school-age; and by psychologists as the Pre-gang, the exploratory, or the Questioning-age.  

   Physical development proceeds at a slow rate in early childhood but the physiological habits, whose foundations are laid in babyhood, become well established.    Early Childhood is regarded as the teachable moment for acquiring skills because children enjoy the repetition essential to learning skills; they are adventuresome and like to try new things; and they have few already-learned skills to interfere with the acquisition of new ones.  

    Speech development advances rapidly during early childhood as seen in improvement in comprehension as well as in the different speech-skills. This has a strong impact on the amount of talking young children do & the content of their speech. While emotional development follows a predictable pattern, there are variations in this pattern due to intelligence, sex, family-size, child training and other conditions.    Early Childhood is the pre-gang age – the time when the foundations of the social development, characteristic of the gang-age of the late childhood, are laid. It is also a time when companions play an important role in the socialization process.     Play in early childhood is greatly influenced by the motor skills children have acquired, the degree of popularity they enjoy among their age-mates, the guidance they receive in learning different patterns of play, and the socio-economic status of their families. In accuracies in understanding are common in early childhood because many childish concepts are learnt with inadequate guidance and because children are often encouraged to view life unrealistically to make it seem more exciting & colourful.  

    Early childhood is characterized by morality by constraint – a time when children learn, through punishment & praise, to obey rules automatically. It is also the time when discipline differs, with some children subjected to authoritarian discipline while others are brought up by permissive or democratic discipline.    The common interests of early childhood include interest in religion, in the human body, in self, in sex and in clothes. Early childhood is often referred to as the critical age in sex-role typing because, at this time, the important aspects of sex-role typing are mastered, especially learning the meaning of sex-role stereotypes and accepting & playing the sex-role approved for members of their sex.  

    Different family relationship – parent-child, sibling and relationships with relatives – play roles of different degrees of importance in the socialization of young children and in their developing self-concepts.  

    The important physical hazards of early childhood include mortality, illnesses, accidents, unattractiveness, obesity and left-handedness. Among the most important psychological hazards of early childhood are unsocial content of speech, inability to establish the empathic complex, failure to learn social adjustments due to lack of guidance, preference for imaginary companions or pets, too much emphasis on amusements & too little on active play, unfavourable emotional weighing of concepts, inconsistent discipline or discipline that relies too much on punishment, failure to be sex-role typed in accordance with the approved pattern of the social group, deterioration in family relationships and unfavourable self-concepts.     Happiness in early childhood depends more on what happens to children in the home than outside the home.

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