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Course Name: Cognitive Sciences, Psychology and Other Related Sciences in Education

Topic 3: Child Development: Infancy and Toddlerhood

In this topic, we shall look into the followings:

1. Physical Growth and Development

2. The Brain
3. Motor Development
4. Sensory and Perceptual Development

1.1 Physical Growth and Development

In physical growth and development, we shall look into the followings:

1. Principle of Development
2. Height and Weight
3. Infant Body Cycle
4. Nutrition

Principle of Development
Normally, when an artist draws a figure of a person, he will start to sketch the face before moving
on to the body, arms and legs.

In drawing the face, the usual procedure would be to start with the nose as it can serve as the
center point of the face. From the nose, the artist will then proceed with the eyes, mouth and the
rest of the face.

Notice how the artist starts to draw from the head to toe, and while drawing the face, he draws
from the center before proceeding outwards.

In human development, there are similar principles that guide our growth and development. Much
like the principles that guide the artist in drawing a human figure, our development follows two
principles of development, before birth and also after:

• Cephalocaudal Development
In Greek, Cephalocaudal means "from head to tail". Our development follows this
principle in developing the upper part of the body first before proceeding to the lower
parts (i.e. from head to toe).

When you were first born, your head was proportionately larger than your body because
it followed the Cephalocaudal principle of development. As you grew older, the lower
parts of your body caught up in size.

• Proximodistal Development
Proximodistal means "near to far" in Latin. This principle applies to our development in
the sense that we grow from the center outward.

Remember how the artist draws the nose first before going on to the eyes and mouth?
Our development starts from the trunk, and then our head and body, the arms and the
legs will begin to take shape.

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Course Name: Cognitive Sciences, Psychology and Other Related Sciences in Education
Topic 3: Child Development: Infancy and Toddlerhood

Apart from following the two principles, there are also patterns in our development.

From birth to becoming a one year old, we experience a very rapid growth. Our entire body will
develop fast after year one, but the speed of our development will decrease as we grow older.

Figure 1: Rapid Growth From Birth to One Year Old

Another pattern that our development follows is that it will have a linear and steady annual
increments after age one.

After age one, our development will become consistent, and we will notice that our growth
increases proportionately with our age. Our growth does not take place suddenly or abruptly at
one time, and then stops for a period of time before suddenly becoming active again. As the
graph shows, our development is very systematic.

Boys and girls have little difference in size and growth rates during infancy and childhood.

Different body parts grow at different rates. For example, the head will start to grow big and fast
while the rest of the body will grow little by little. When the other body parts begin to grow rapidly,
the head grows little by little to finally have a balance in size between the parts of the body.

Figure 2: Systematic Development After One Year Old

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Course Name: Cognitive Sciences, Psychology and Other Related Sciences in Education
Topic 3: Child Development: Infancy and Toddlerhood

Height and Weight

As infants, our height increases dramatically compared to our weight. Children's growth seems to
occur in spurts, often after long periods of no growth.

As a young child grows, his or her body shape and proportions change: the head becomes
proportionately smaller until he or she reaches his or her full height.

"Proportionately smaller" does not mean that our head will shrink to match the size of our body,
but instead it grows less rapidly while our body grows more rapidly.

During infancy and toddlerhood, we grow faster than we will ever grow, especially in the first few
months. In the fifth month, our weight would have doubled from 7½ pounds at birth to about 15
pounds. After a year, we would weigh about 22 pounds.

By our second birthday, we would already weigh four times as heavy as we were at birth!

In terms of height, we develop by about ten to twelve inches in the first year to approximately 30
inches tall. The second year would see an increase of about five inches, making an average two
year old about three feet tall. By the end of the third year, we would be taller by another three to
four inches.

Our physical growth in terms of height is very rapid from the day we are born till we are about
three years old. The development during this period is fast and in great quantity, but the speed of
growth decreases as we grow older.

In terms of weight, our development is consistent. Notice how our weight increases as we grow.
We do not grow to be heavy in one year and become lighter in the next, but instead our weight
gradually increases.

Infant Body Cycle

Most of us, under normal circumstances, would stay awake during the day to do our daily
activities such as work, class and play, while the night is filled with restful sleep. Or, if you are
used to waking up at six in the morning to the sound of your alarm clock, chances are that you
would find yourself waking up at about that same time even if you forgot to time it the night

It seems that even babies know the time, even though they obviously cannot know how to look at
a watch. How do you think this is possible?

Babies have an internal biological clock that tells them when to sleep, wake or engage in
activities. This state of arousal, or alertness in an infant, seems to be inborn.

Each baby shares similar states of arousal, but the arousal patterns are different from one baby
to the other. For example, the average sleeping duration for a baby is 16 hours, but some might
sleep for only 11 hours and some for as long as 21 hours.

Most babies will sleep and wake up every two to three hours, day and night. They have about six
to eight periods of sleep initially. After about three months, the babies become more wakeful
during the late afternoons and early evenings and start to sleep through the night.

While awake, babies would portray different activities. Some would stick their tongue in and out
and some would smile often. Some babies are more active than others because of their
temperamental differences.

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Course Name: Cognitive Sciences, Psychology and Other Related Sciences in Education
Topic 3: Child Development: Infancy and Toddlerhood

Until the age of four to six months, breast milk or formulated milk is the only food necessary for
us. From either of these, we can get vitamins and minerals necessary for a continuous healthy
living. After four months, however, we need supplementary iron to prevent anemia.

Breast milk is almost always the better choice. It contains a complete source of nutrients for the
first four to six months. Breast milk is more digestible than cow's milk and is less likely to produce
allergic reactions in babies. Moreover, because of the different manner in which babies suck in
breast milk compared to the bottle for formula milk, babies who are breastfed tend to have better
teeth and jaws. Also, breast milk will provide a better protection from diseases such as diarrhea,
respiratory infections and Otis media. Cow's milk also has less iron in it to meet the need of
infants in the early months, unless it is supplemented with extra iron.

Other than physiological benefits, breastfeeding also helps the formation of mother-infant bond.
However, for healthy development of the infant, the quality of the relationship between parents
and the infant is more important than the feeding method.

Babies also have a preference for fruit juice, but it is only recommended after the babies are four
to six months old. Excessive feed of orange juice to children may interfere with the children's
appetite for higher calorie and more nutritious food. Not more than four to eight ounces of orange
juice are recommended for two to three year old children.

As for solid food, we may only have it after we have grown enough teeth. And of course, while we
still have teeth.

1.2 The Brain

In this topic, we shall look at the brain’s structure and its components at macro and micro levels.

1. Macro Level
Looking at the macro level will involve looking at the physical structure of the brain in
general, without going into much detail. At this level, the brain is made up of:

i. The Hindbrain
Hindbrain is at the back of the brain, where the cerebellum that maintains body
balance and motor coordination and development is located.

Our ability to walk straight and balance ourselves is controlled by the hindbrain.
The hindbrain is also responsible in enabling us to use our arms, legs and our
other motors when doing any tasks involving our body movements.

ii. The Forebrain

The forebrain, which is the largest part of the brain, is located at the top of the
brain, covering the 2 other parts like a cap. It consists of a structure called the
cerebrum that has a critical part in perception, language and thinking.

When we think, we will mostly use our forebrain. The same goes when we use
and learn a language. The forebrain is also responsible for our perception such
as our sense of touch, sight and hearing.

As you have been told, an important part of the forebrain is the cerebrum. The
cerebrum consists of parts called lobes. The occipital lobe coordinates vision,
while the temporal lobe handles hearing. Body sensations are handled by the

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Course Name: Cognitive Sciences, Psychology and Other Related Sciences in Education
Topic 3: Child Development: Infancy and Toddlerhood

parietal lobe while voluntary muscles and intelligence are governed by the frontal

iii. The Midbrain

The midbrain is located between the hindbrain and the forebrain, where many
fibers can be found connecting the two parts of the brain. The midbrain's specific
function is to convey what we hear and see to the brain to be processed.

The midbrain serves as a "collector" of information from the outside world. When
information is first received, the midbrain gathers it before sorting and sending it
to the appropriate parts of the brain to be processed.

Figure 3: Macro Level Components of a Brain

2. Micro Level
When looking at the brain at the micro level, we will begin to analyze what lies beneath
the brain structure.

Figure 4: Micro Level Components of a Brain

At this level, the brain is made of:

i. Neurons
ii. Dendrite
iii. Axon
iv. Myelin sheath

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Course Name: Cognitive Sciences, Psychology and Other Related Sciences in Education
Topic 3: Child Development: Infancy and Toddlerhood

Neurons are nerve cells that send and receive information in our brain. A neuron consists
of a nucleus and a cell body. There are about 100 billion neurons in our brain, and they
can be regarded as a small complex computer within our brain. Neurons have a nucleus
and a cell body. On the cell body, there are many connecting parts that lead to other
parts of the brain. These parts are dendrites and axons. Dendrite is the part that receives
information and transports it to the cell body, while the axon carries the information away
to various parts of the brain. A layer of fat cells, the myelin sheath, protects the axon,
enabling the information to travel faster.

Figure 5: Neurons

At birth, a child's brain is about 25 percent of an adult's brain in terms of weight. By the
second birthday, it is about 75 percent of its adult weight. The development of the brain
does not follow a uniformed process, which means some parts of the brain will mature
earlier and some later. The neurons in the brain await experience to further develop by
producing new connections as needed by the brain. The information from the
environment through sights, sounds, smells, touches, language and eye contact will help
the neurons to establish new connections within the brain.

Figure 6:The Development of Neurons

The major difference in our brain's development is that our experience plays a more
prominent role in developing it rather than our age. We might grow old in a cave, but because
there is so little information that we receive throughout our lifetime, our brain will develop very

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Course Name: Cognitive Sciences, Psychology and Other Related Sciences in Education
Topic 3: Child Development: Infancy and Toddlerhood

1.3 Motor Development

Some play sports, some dance and some just laze around the television exercising their fingers
on the remote control. Some climb rocks, some swim and some sit behind a personal computer
and use their muscles to move the mouse and type at the keyboard. All these movements require
us to use our muscles.

Motor development concerns the development of the movements of body parts of a human being
such as the arms and legs, mouth and eyes.

Motor development also takes place in sequence, from the center to the outer parts and from the
upper to the lower parts of the body, following the two principles of development.

Rhythmic motor behavior in an infant concerns the actions of the infant that are done repetitively.
For example, an infant drops an object from the tall chair he/she is sitting on and cries. The
parent would then pick the object up and return it to the child, only to discover the object is
dropped again later. Other examples would include the swaying of the legs back and forth and
nodding the head over and over again. This behavior is an indication that the infant is either
experimenting with his or her own body parts or using the body parts to experiment on other

Such exercises are necessary for infants to practice their motor skills and also to add new
experiences to encourage learning. The more infants use a skill through rhythmic behavior, the
better they will be at using the skill. As infants grow more adept at a skill, they will be more able to
consciously control it.

Even now, if we practice a skill over and over, we will find that the skill will improve. For example,
if we take up badminton, we would hopefully be able to hit a shuttlecock using a single stroke
forward. After more practice sessions, we will find that we can do a lob, drive, smash and the

There are two types of motor skills, which are:

1. Gross Motor Skills

2. Fine Motor Skills

Gross Motor Skills

As our development is systematic, our ability to use our arms, legs and bodies increases, as we
grow older. When we were mere infants, we had so little control over our movements. Most of our
actions were instinctive, guided by our natural reflexes. Before we were able to have full control
over the use of our fingers, we first gain the ability to use our arms and legs.

Gross motor skills involve the coordination of large muscles such as the coordination of muscles
that move the arms and legs. When we were first born, we would not be able to really coordinate
our arms or chest, but within the first month we should be able to lift our head from a prone
position. At three to four months, our parents can notice our ability to rollover. We can support
some of our weight come month four or five, and at about six months of age, we can already sit
without any form of support. Crawling and standing without support will be achievable in the
seventh or eighth month. After further development in motor skills, we will be able to pull
ourselves up to stand, and by the tenth month or so we can already walk by using furniture as a

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Course Name: Cognitive Sciences, Psychology and Other Related Sciences in Education
Topic 3: Child Development: Infancy and Toddlerhood

We can walk without any assistance after a period of about one year after birth.

All babies share the same sequence of development of their motor skills, and it is important to
note that with each accomplishment of their motor skills comes a greater degree of
independence. By the age of 13 months to 18 months (we would be toddlers by now), a child can
already walk fast or run stiffly, play and kick a ball without falling and jump up and down on a
particular spot.

Figure 7: The Development of Gross-Motor Skills

Fine Motor Skills

Take a look at your hands. Try to rotate your wrist in a circular motion. Next, close your fingers
into a fist, and then raise your fingers one by one, starting from the thumb. After that, shrug both
your shoulders (try also raising your left shoulder up, and then your right).

One of the purposes of the above exercise is to loosen up your muscles and freshen you up.
However, more importantly, the exercise is to give you a first hand experience on the use of your
fine motor skills.

Fine motor skills involve more complex movements at a finer level, such as the movement of
fingers in reaching and grasping. When we were infants, we would not be able to fully control our
fine motor skills. It is during the first two years of life that we develop the skills, expressing
movements in the shoulder and elbows, and more coordinated finger movements. Only later
would we be able to rotate our hands and wrist, and also the coordination of the thumb and the
forefinger. Our hand and eye coordination will grow more mature as we grow older, and this will
be reflected by the development of our fine motor skills. In other words, we would be able to
match what we see with what we do in a more precise and exact manner. Moving from
instinctively grasping our mothers' fingers when close enough, we would then be able to actually
follow the movements of our mothers' fingers and attempt to grasp them. Or, we could hold an
object in our hands, and turn it up, down, left and right with our more advanced wrist movements
to examine the object.

As much as we are able to move every muscle in our body, the muscle coordination is achieved
by a well-developed perception.

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Course Name: Cognitive Sciences, Psychology and Other Related Sciences in Education
Topic 3: Child Development: Infancy and Toddlerhood

Figure 8: Development Progress in the First Two Years

1.4 Sensory and Perceptual Development

In this topic, we shall look into the followings:

1. Visual Perceptions
2. Other Senses

Visual Perceptions
Imagine that you are visiting a haunted house, and it is now nighttime. The wind blows softly
outside, but you can feel the cool breeze touches you as if the walls of the house do not exist. As
you try to feel comfortable in the house, you feel the hair on your neck raises, a tingling
sensation. Though you cannot see anybody else with you in the house, you are sure of another
presence somewhere near you. In trying to ignore the unnatural fear, you take out a piece of
sandwich from your food pack and take a bite of it. The taste hits you as sour…

A weird and evil laugh startles you. You are sure that is what you heard! Then your nose picks up
a stench, a horrible smell, and it becomes stronger with each passing second.

You catch a glimpse of a dark standing being in the corner of your eye, and you freeze in fear. As
your sandwich drops to the floor, you notice a set of gleaming white fangs in the split of a second
before you feel an immense pain at the side of your neck….

The brief vampire story is obviously written for your enjoyment, but notice the cold you feel and
the fear; the taste of the sandwich, the laughter you hear, the horrible smell, the white fangs you
see and finally the pain in your neck. In reality, and in the study of human development, all these
are some examples of the experiences that we can get from our environment, and these
experiences are taken in by our perception as information. Some of the information that you
receive is new, and some you already know. When the information is processed, the resulting
interpretation is called perception.

In studying the sensory and perceptual development in infants, one studies what infants sense
from their environment, and what their interpretation, or perception, will be, and the stages of their
sensory development.

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Course Name: Cognitive Sciences, Psychology and Other Related Sciences in Education
Topic 3: Child Development: Infancy and Toddlerhood

People once thought that an infant's visual perception is full of confusing and exploding images of
the world. However, an infant's vision is more complex that what was thought.

A newborn's vision is only 20 to 30 times lower than the vision of the average adult, and at first
his/her perception would not be able to process the information on the colors that he/she sees
until two months of age. After six months from birth, their vision gets better to 20/100 on the
Snellan chart (the chart that one looks at when sitting for an eye examination), and gradually
improves to enable an infant's vision to match that of an adult's by his/her first birthday.

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Course Name: Cognitive Sciences, Psychology and Other Related Sciences in Education
Topic 3: Child Development: Infancy and Toddlerhood

Figure 9: The Snellan Chart

Infants also have visual preferences: infants prefer to look at patterns than colors.

Robert Fantz (1963) discovered that an infant prefers to look at a face, a piece of printed matter
or a bull's eye longer than looking at red, yellow or white discs. This ability to differentiate and
give preference alone reflects that a baby's vision is not of a confused nature.

However, size constancy will not be available to an infant's perception in the early stage, meaning
that a child would not be able to understand that the farther and smaller a visible object seems to
be, it still retains its original size. Newborns would initially perceive that a faraway object is
physically smaller than the object nearer to him/her. Size constancy would only appear after five
months, and would gradually improve through 10 to 11 months of age. Size constancy helps
infants to perceive their world as being stable rather than chaotic or unstable.

Young infants can also perceive depth at an early age, but cannot perceive the danger of falling.
An experiment dubbed as the "visual cliff" by Walk and Gibson (1961) demonstrates that a very
young infant put face down directly on the glass above the "cliff" shows a reduction in heartbeat
rate. Slower heartbeat indicates interest, not fear that is often indicated by a faster heartbeat. The
development in the perception of depth will be enhanced through the infants' experiences.

Infants can also have visual expectations if the perceived object has a pattern. For example, an
infant about 4 months of age looking at a bouncing ball will almost immediately know where to
look for the ball when it stops even if he or she does not look at it until the ball stops bouncing.
This is because the infant can perceive the pattern of the direction the ball is taking.

Infants have very complicated sensors and perception. As infants grow older, their sensory and
perceptual development increases in quality, and they will be able to synthesize or process
information more thoroughly and effectively. As we become adults, we can even choose our own
angle of perception, or perspective, when looking at an object and manipulate the information we
receive creatively to come up with something totally new.

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Course Name: Cognitive Sciences, Psychology and Other Related Sciences in Education
Topic 3: Child Development: Infancy and Toddlerhood

Other Senses
We have other sensors besides our eyes. We have our noses, mouths, tongue, ears and skin.
These other sensors help us in our ability to smell, taste, hear and feel physical sensations such
as pain, heat and cold.

i. Hearing
An infant can immediately hear after birth, but the stimulus must be louder than required
by adults for an infant to be able to hear it. An infant is also born with the ability to
respond to the sounds of any human language. Infants would always prefer to hear their
mother's voice than any other woman's, or the language of her mother than any other
language. An interesting developmental stage occurs during the first year, when an infant
can discriminate phonetic contrasts from languages they have never heard before.

Very young infants are known to be able to differentiate even subtle phonetic sounds,
such as ba and ga.

ii. Touch and Pain

Newborns will respond to touch, but whether very young infants can coordinate touch
with visual perception is yet to be determined. However, one year old and even six
months old infants can coordinate the sense of touch with their visuals.

This means that young infants would be able to look at an object or a person and
coordinate his hands to touch the object or person when they are old enough, but before
reaching the age, the existence of this ability is still questionable.

Newborns can also feel pain, as male newborns who are circumcised on day three would
cry out intensely. However, their ability to cope with the pain is remarkable, because
within several minutes after circumcision they would interact in a normal manner with
their nurse or mother. Still, the time recently circumcised newborns spent on sleeping
would increase to cope with the pain.

iii. Smell
From the expressions on their face, infants are found to be able to discriminate the smell
that they like and the ones that they do not like. Infants show a liking to their own
mother's breast pad when they are six days old, but they did not show any preference
when they were two days old. This is an indication that infants need several days to be
able to recognize a certain scent or odor.

iv. Taste
Similar to their response to smell, infants display like or dislike through their facial
expression concerning taste. Infants would smile and laugh at something they like, and
they would cry or frown at something they do not.

At about four months, infants display a preference for salty tastes, which they disliked.

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Course Name: Cognitive Sciences, Psychology and Other Related Sciences in Education
Topic 3: Child Development: Infancy and Toddlerhood

In this topic, we shall look into the followings:

1. Approaches in Cognitive Development

2. Language Development

2.1 Approaches in Cognitive Development

There are four different approaches in cognitive development, which are:

1. Behaviorist Approach
2. Piagetian Approach
3. Psychometric Approach
4. Information-Processing Approach

Behaviorist Approach
You are most likely to have an idol. He or she can be either from your family members, peers and
even pop artists. When you fancy these people, somehow, it affects and influences you to follow
the way they dress up or the way they talk. For example, the Late Lady Diana's hair fashion used
to be a trend. This scenario applies to infants as well. Infants learn from what they see, touch,
taste, smell and hear. These are what we call classical conditioning and operant conditioning,
showing the learning development of infants and toddlers.

Let us study the behaviorist approach by looking at infants of two hours old. These infants have
been classically conditioned to turn their heads and suck if their foreheads are stroked. At the
same time they are given a bottle of sweetened water.

Newborns learn to suck when they hear a tone like buzzer. This is an example of Babinski reflex:
infants turn their heads and open their mouths; infants move their arms instead of clasping the
hands; infants widen and constrict their pupils; infants blink; infants show a change in heart rate.
One demonstration of classical conditioning on human beings was done to an 11-month-old baby
known as "Little Albert". In this demonstration, Little Albert was identified to have an interest in
furry animals. He was brought to a laboratory. He then saw a furry white rat and was about to
grasp the rat when he heard a loud noise. This noise frightened him and now he is scared of rats,
and automatically the fear generalized to rabbits, dogs, Santa Claus mask and other furry white
objects. Based on the demonstration, we can conclude that a baby can be conditioned to fear
things that he or she was not afraid of before.

Moreover, if the conditioning encourages neonates to perform some kind of behavior they can
already do, they can learn by operant conditioning.

In addition, the combination of both classical and operant conditioning can produce complex
behaviors. This is proven by a study on one to twenty weeks old infants. In this study the infants
would turn their heads and receive milk when they hear a sound of the bell. However, babies who
do not learn this by operant conditioning will learn to turn their heads through classical
conditioning. For example, instead of waiting for the infants to turn their head, milk should be
made to appear in a location where they need to turn their head, right after sounding the bell.

By four to six weeks, all babies learn to turn their heads when hearing the bell and learn other
new things such as differentiating the bell from a buzzer.

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Course Name: Cognitive Sciences, Psychology and Other Related Sciences in Education
Topic 3: Child Development: Infancy and Toddlerhood

At about the age of three months, the babies learn to turn to whichever side where food is given,
as signaled by the bell.

When they reach the age of four months, they learn to reverse their responses to a bell.

Piagetian Approach
Piagetian approach emphasizes the qualitative changes of cognitive functions. In other words, it
focuses on evolution of the mental structures and how infants and toddlers adapt what they think
to their environment.

Piaget called the first of the four stages of cognitive development the sensorimotor stage.

This stage occurs from birth to the age of two. It involves learning to respond through motor
activity to the various stimulus that are presented to the senses. The task at this stage is learning
to coordinate sensorimotor sequences to solve problems. There are six sub stages in the
sensorimotor periods that have been divided from month to month.

Figure 10: Six Substages of Piaget’s Sensorimotor Stage of Cognitive Development

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Course Name: Cognitive Sciences, Psychology and Other Related Sciences in Education
Topic 3: Child Development: Infancy and Toddlerhood

Furthermore, during the sensorimotor stage, infants develop object permanence, which is the
knowledge that an object continues to exist independently of our seeing, hearing, touching,
tasting or smelling it. All this happens at the age of three years old. Let us look an example on
Piaget's daughter Lucianne. Here, Piaget puts a watch chain in a half-closed matchbox and
pretends trying to take the watch chain out. When Lucianne sees this, she opens her mouth
wider, trying to tell her idea of widening the slit of the box.

In addition, the development of imitation, for example copying the behavior of another, also
happens at this stage. Piaget states that infants younger than nine to twelve months old do not
show imitation. However, he was describing deferred imitation like imitating someone or
something no longer present. For example, when a child of three years old is given a tea set toys,
she will immediately "serve tea" to her friend. This is the stage in which child are better in
remembering and imagining.

Psychometric Approach
An infant overheard his father discussing over the phone with a business partner. He heard his
father mentioned "…square feet", and in response, asks out "Square shoe?". Does the infant
have a high intelligence, or a low one? How do we actually measure intelligence, for that matter?

Psychometrics is a study of cognitive development that seeks to measure the quality of

intelligence a person possesses. It includes statistical assessment of intelligence, personality and
also numerous methods of testing specific aptitudes like memory, logic, concentration and speed
of response.

The goal of psychometric approach is to measure quantitatively the factors that make up
intelligence such as comprehension and reasoning.

Moreover, the psychometric approach tests the intelligence, sensory and motor abilities of infants
and toddlers.

For example, a simple test is done on taste. Normally, infants prefer sweet tastes to sour or bitter.
The sweeter a fluid is the more the infants will suck and drink.

Another test is done on vocabulary and expression. In this aspect, an infant would normally use
"tomorrow" to refer to any time whether it is in the future tense or the past tense.

Information-Processing Approach
The information-processing approach concerns individual differences specifically in the way
people use their intelligence. It is also to discover the processes that are involved in the
perception and handling of information.

We know that information is knowledge acquired through experience or study. This leads to the
focus of this approach that revolves around memory, problem solving and learning. The goal is to
discover what infants, children, and adults do with information received.

Carolyn Rovee-Collier (1987) found that infants could remember certain things. In her
experiment, she places an infant in a crib under a moving mobile. She ties the infant's left ankle
with satin ribbon and observes as the infant kicks and moves.

After a week, the infant's feet are left untied and placed in the same crib. The infant tries to kick
again, reflecting what happens before this.

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Course Name: Cognitive Sciences, Psychology and Other Related Sciences in Education
Topic 3: Child Development: Infancy and Toddlerhood

Habituation is a type of learning that involves repeated exposure to a stimulus like sound or sight.
This results in a reduced response to that stimulus. For example, let us look at a study of
habituation in newborns using repeated stimulus, which is sound and visual pattern. The
researcher monitors the response in terms of heart rate, sucking, eye movements, and brain
activity. When the stimulus first presented, the baby who has been sucking typically stops.
However, after the same visual has been presented again and again, it loses novelty for the baby
to continue sucking. This is what we call habituation. Habituation becomes accurate during the
first three months of life.

On the other hand, dishabituation is an infant's renewed interest in stimulus. It results in the
increase in response to new stimulus. Here, a new sight or sound will capture the infant's

2.2 Language Development

Language development can be divided into three stages, which are:

1. Sequences of Early Language Development

2. Characteristics of Early Speech
3. Genetic and Environmental Influences

Sequences of Early Language Development

Below are the sequences of early language development:

i. Early Vocalization
Infant is a Latin word, which means "without speech". Before infants say their first word,
they make sounds that progress from crying to cooing and babbling, imitation and
elaboration. This process is known as the pre-linguistic speech. Here, infants learn the
ability to recognize and understand speech sounds and to use meaningful gestures. This
is the stage during which the early vocalization begins.

The graphic below shows the language milestones from birth to 3 years.

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Course Name: Cognitive Sciences, Psychology and Other Related Sciences in Education
Topic 3: Child Development: Infancy and Toddlerhood

Figure 11: Language Milestones from Birth to 3 Years

You must be wondering why a baby cries all the time. This is because crying is a baby's
only way of communication. To strangers, all cries may sound the same, but the baby's
parents can tell the cry for food from the cry of pain. There are different pitches, patterns,
and intensities for hunger, comfort or anger. For example, infants cry when they are

Now we will move to the second early vocalization that is cooing. Cooing involves making
squeals, gurgles, and vowel sounds like "ahhh". This happens between the age of six
weeks to three months. When an infant is about three months old, he or she will begin to
play with speech sounds. For example, when a mother says "fish", the infant will say

Babbling is repeating consonant-vowel strings. For example "ma-ma-ma". This happens

between six and ten months of age that is often mistaken for an infant's first word.
Babbling is not a real language because it has no meaning for the infant.

The language development of infants with normal hearing and speech continues with
accidental imitation of language sounds. They do so by hearing and then making the
sounds. At about the age of nine to ten months, infants can imitate sounds without
understanding them. Once they have a repertoire of sounds, they string them together in
patterns that sound like language but have no meaning.

However, before infants can express ideas in words, parents will get used to reading
infants' emotion through the sounds they make.

ii. Recognizing Language Sounds

Infants can differentiate speech sounds like "ba" from "pa" since in the womb. For
example, let us look at one study in which two groups of Parisian women in their ninth
month of pregnancy sang different nursery rhymes. A month later, the researcher played
recordings of both rhymes close to the women's abdomen. The fetuses' heart rates
slowed when the rhyme the mother usually sang was played, but not for the other rhyme,
which was unfamiliar to the fetuses. Since the voice on the tape was not their mother's
voice, it seemed here that the fetuses' were responding to the linguistic sounds that they
had heard their mother used.

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Course Name: Cognitive Sciences, Psychology and Other Related Sciences in Education
Topic 3: Child Development: Infancy and Toddlerhood

This suggests that hearing the mother's own language before birth may "pre-tune" an
infant's ear to pick up linguistic sounds.

Infants have learned the basic sounds of the infants' own language before six months of
age. This is due to the recognition of metrical patterns that seems to develop, as infants
become more familiar with their own language. For example, "da" and "ga".

But at the age of nine months, infants listen to longer words with the stress pattern. They
also lose the ability to differentiate sounds that are not part of the language they hear
spoken. For example, Japanese infants could not tell the difference between "ra" and "la"
which do not exist in Japanese language.

iii. Gestures
Let us look at the graphic given. The boy is pointing to an object, sometimes making a
noise to show that he wants it. This is what we call gestures. Gesturing occurs between
the ages of nine to twelve months. Infants learn few conventional social gestures like
waving bye-bye and nodding their heads, which means yes.

Figure 12: Example of Gesture

Meanwhile at about 13 months, more elaboration on representational gestures is used.

For example, infants would hold up their arms to show that they want to be picked up.

Another example is an infant would hold an empty cup to his mouth showing that he
wants to drink.

The symbolic gesture is also used to show that infants understand things. For example,
an infant would blow his or her drinks to show that the drink is hot. This often appears just
before or about the same time as when infants say their first words. It shows that infants
understand that things and ideas have names. This also shows that symbols can refer to
specific everyday objects, events, desires and conditions like blowing a "hot" object.

Gestures usually appear before infants can master their first 25 words. In fact, infants will
stop gesturing when they can use words to express their ideas.

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Course Name: Cognitive Sciences, Psychology and Other Related Sciences in Education
Topic 3: Child Development: Infancy and Toddlerhood

iv. First Words

The next sequence of early language development is the first word. Here, the linguistic
speeches, which are the verbal expression, that convey meaning begin at the age of ten
to fourteen months. The infant's first word maybe "mama" and "dada" but at the same
time "da" may mean, "I want that". This is what we call a holophrase that expresses a
complete thought in a single word.

Infants first understand lots of words at about age nine or ten months. They start with
their own name and the word "no". By thirteen months, infants understand that a word
stands for a specific thing and quickly learn the meaning of new words. Vocabulary
continues to grow and only lasts until eighteen months of age. The most common early
words are names of things like "bow wow" for dogs and other action words like "bye-bye".
Sometimes between sixteen and twenty four months, a naming explosion occurs where
toddlers can say from fifty words to about four hundred a week.

v. Sentences, Grammar and Syntax

When toddlers start putting two words together, they arrive to the stage called linguistic
breakthrough. This usually happens at the age of 18 to 24 months. The first sentence
usually deals with everyday events, things, people, or activities. For example "Lisa fall".
This speech is called telegraphic because like most telegrams, it includes only certain
words. For example, when an infant says "Damma deep", she means "Grandma is
sweeping the floor".

The first sentence also usually consists of nouns, verbs and adjectives. Tense and case
endings, articles, and prepositions are missing. For example, "Lisa fall". This goes with
subjects or verbs like "Go bye-bye" and "Mama sock". When the speech is more
complex, infants may string two words together. For example "Adam eat food".

The next aspect is syntax, which means the rules for putting sentences together in a
language. Articles (a, the), prepositions (in, on), conjunction (and, but) and other forms of
verbs are also used. For example, at two years and ten months, an infant can produce
clear and grammatical sentences. However, in a frustrating situation, the infant might
produce a sentence like "I can't get this glove on my hand".

Characteristics of Early Speech


This may be the first word that infants would speak. An infant's first words usually revolve around
the calling of important people like their mother and father; familiar animals like cat, vehicles,
toys, food, body parts or greetings like "hello". These are the first words of infant's 50 years ago,
and infants today are still using them. This is due to the limited cognitive or linguistic skills by
which only one word comes out instead of the whole sentence.

There are four characteristics of early speech. The first one is to understand the grammatical
relationships between words in sentences, which an infant cannot yet express.

For example, a girl understands that a dog is chasing a cat, but she cannot explain or think of
words to express the complete action. She then elaborates as "Puppy chase" rather than "Puppy
chase kitty".

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Course Name: Cognitive Sciences, Psychology and Other Related Sciences in Education
Topic 3: Child Development: Infancy and Toddlerhood

Her uncle gave a toy car to a 13-month-old Anna. She called the car "koo-ka". One day her father
came home with a gift saying "Look, here's a little car for you". The girl shook her head and ran to
get the car given by the uncle and said "koo-ka". To Anna, the car that was given to her by her
uncle was the only thing to be called a "car".

This is the second characteristic of early speech: an under extending of word meanings. In the
example of Anna, she under extended the word "car" by limiting its meaning to a single object.

Ironically, overextending word meanings is also a characteristic of early speech. For example, a
young boy jumps when he sees a gray-haired man and shouts "Grandpa". He is overextending a
word here. He thinks that because his grandfather has gray hair, all gray-haired men can be
called "Grandpa".

Over-regularity of rules is the fourth characteristic of early speech. Toddlers apply some rules
without knowing that certain rules have exception. For example "mouse" instead of "mice", "I
thinked" rather than "I thought".

However, once the children learn the grammatical rules for plural and past tense, they will use
them all the time.

Below is the five stages of a child's language development based on Mean Length of Utterance
(MLU). This is a good index of a child's language maturity.

Figure 13: MLU’s 5 Stages of Child’s Language Development

Genetic and Environmental Influences

We shall look into look at genetic and environmental influences on infants' language

a. Genetic Influences
The genetic influence is noticeable in moderate positive correlation between parents'
intelligence and the rate at which their biological children develop communication skills
during the first year. In other words, parents' intelligence influences their biological
children's ability to communicate.

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Course Name: Cognitive Sciences, Psychology and Other Related Sciences in Education
Topic 3: Child Development: Infancy and Toddlerhood

According to Hardy-Brown, Plomin, & DeFries, the correlation only exists between
children and their biological mothers. In case of adoption, the correlation does not exist
between children and their adoptive parents.

b. Environmental Influences
Social interaction is one of the environmental influences in infants' language
development. It concerns how adults talk with infants and how often they talk.

Social interaction is crucial because at this stage, infants develop their language skills by
picking up new words, the nuances of speech and correcting wrong assumptions.
Therefore, the more parents talk to their infants, the sooner the infants develop their
language skills.

In addition, language requires practice. Therefore, the more parents talk to their infants,
the sooner the infants develop their language skills. Research has been done on twins
and single-born children and the findings show that twins speak later than single-born
children. This is because mothers of twins speak less frequently to each child and have
shorter conversations. This concludes that, interaction between children and adult is
more influential than interaction between children and their siblings of their age.

After looking at the environmental influences, we will now look at the nature vs. nurture debate.
Motherese is a kind of speech often used by mothers and other adults to talk to babies. It involves
a high pitch than normal and with simple worlds and sentences. In this debate, one should be
aware of the interrelations between environmental and hereditary influences. Both the
environment and hereditary elements play a role in developing a human being.

One of the ways that parents can teach their children to develop language skills is by using child-
directed speech (CDS) or also known as Motherese. Motherese helps children learn their native
language and helps adults and children develop a relationship. It also teaches children how to
carry on a conversation.

"Without genes, there is no person; without environment, there is no person". (Scarr and
Weinberg, 1980)

The above quote is based on a debate known as "Nature versus Nurture". It shows the
interrelations between environmental and hereditary influences. Nature is the biological heredity
of human beings and nurture is the environment such as gender, race, ethnicity, culture, lifestyle
and socioeconomic status.

Both nature and nurture play a role in language development. As mentioned before, parents'
intelligence correlates to their biological children's language development and social interaction.
This is the most influential environmental influence that assists children in increasing their ability
to communicate. Therefore, one must aware the interrelations between environmental and
hereditary influences.

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Course Name: Cognitive Sciences, Psychology and Other Related Sciences in Education
Topic 3: Child Development: Infancy and Toddlerhood

In this topic, we shall look into the followings:

1. Foundation of Socio-Emotional Development

2. Socio-Emotional Development in Infants
3. Socio-Emotional Development in Toddlers
4. Contact With Other Children

3.1 Foundation of Socio-Emotional Development

The foundation of socio-emotional development can be divided into three areas, which are:

1. Emotion
Emotions refer to subjective feelings like sadness, joy, and fear. These feelings arise in
response to situations and experiences. They are expressed through some kind of
altered behavior. It is what you feel inside. For example you might feel angry whenever
someone teases you by calling you a liar.

Everyone has emotions. The same goes with babies who show signs of distress, interest
and disgust very soon after birth. The emotions differentiate into joy, anger, surprise,
sadness, shyness and fear within the next few months. Infants too are born with two
types of fear, which are fear of loud noises and fear of falling.

These fears arise due to their actual experiences, taught by the parents. All the emotions
occur due to the timing of brain maturation. Let us now look at the definition of emotions.
The development of emotions can be seen on the graphic shown according to the
biological timetable.

The emotional timetable can be altered by extreme environmental influences. For

example, abused children show fear several months earlier than do other babies.
However, although the development of certain basic emotions seems to be universal,
there may be cultural variations.

Figure 14: Timetable of Emotional Development

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Course Name: Cognitive Sciences, Psychology and Other Related Sciences in Education
Topic 3: Child Development: Infancy and Toddlerhood

Self-conscious emotions only appear the second and third year after children have
developed self-awareness. Examples of self-conscious emotions are empathy, jealousy,
embarrassment, shame, guilt and pride.

Self-awareness is the understanding that infants are separate from other people and
things. It appears at the age of 18 months. Self-awareness is necessary before toddlers
can reflect on their actions and measure them against social standards.

Infants show their emotions by crying, smiling and laughing.

These emotional expressions and behavior in infancy tell us something about the
personality of the child later in life. For example, abused children will feel insecure and
afraid in many situations.

2. Temperament
Some people are cheerful, some very quiet. Some people are simply charming, but some
are very boring. But all were once upon a time infants…

We were born with temperaments, a combination of traits and characteristics that

resulted in our personalities. Our temperaments, though inborn, interrelate with our
environment, shaping each of us into the kind of person that we were, are and will be.

Each newborn always shows unique personalities. One newborn may like a bottle of milk
being given to her, but another newborn may totally dislike the bottle of milk.

Temperamental differences are inborn and largely hereditary. Temperaments are stable
throughout our lives.

Figure 15: Three Temperamental Patterns

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Course Name: Cognitive Sciences, Psychology and Other Related Sciences in Education
Topic 3: Child Development: Infancy and Toddlerhood

There are nine aspects of temperament that show up soon after birth. Those are:

i. Activity Level
Relates to how and how much a person moves.

ii. Rhythmicity or Regularity

Relates to how predictable the biological cycles of hunger, sleep and elimination

iii. Approach or Withdrawal

The response a person initially makes to a stimulus.

iv. Adaptability
How easily an initial response to a new or altered situation is modified in a
desired direction.

v. Threshold and Responsiveness

How much stimulation is needed to evoke a response.

vi. Intensity of Reaction

How energetically a person responds.

vii. Quality of Mood

Determiner of a person’s behavior, whether pre-dominantly pleasant or

viii. Distractibility
How easily an irrelevant stimulus can alter or interfere with a person’s behavior.

ix. Attention Span and Persistence

How long a person pursues an activity and continues in the face of obstacles.

3. Earliest Social Experiences

People say that when a turtle lays its eggs on a beach, tears will flow from its eyes as it
leaves its "children" in the hands of fate. How the baby turtles survive or develop is
beyond her help.

We are more fortunate than the turtles because our parents do not desert us at birth.

In general, a family has a big influence on a child's development. Family relationship

during infancy affects infants' ability to form intimate relationships throughout life.

In addition, infants' experiences with mothers and fathers generally differ from one
another. Mothers, even when employed outside the home, spend more time in infant-
care. Mothers and fathers in some cultures have different styles of interacting with

In fact, parents contribute to some gender differences in their children's socio-emotional

development. Parents treat baby boys and baby girls differently: boys get more attention
and girls are encouraged to smile and to be more social.

If a mother and her baby are separated during the first hours after birth, the mother's
feeling of closeness and caring with her newborn may not develop normally.

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Course Name: Cognitive Sciences, Psychology and Other Related Sciences in Education
Topic 3: Child Development: Infancy and Toddlerhood

However, researchers claim that some mothers seem to achieve closer bonding with their
babies after early-extended contact, and no long-term effects have been shown.

The mother-infant bond is not the only meaningful tie that an infant forms. A mother may
breastfeed her child but other people (e.g. father, siblings, and grandparents) also
comfort, play with them and give them a sense of security.

Fathers usually form a close bond with infants soon after birth. Men can also be sensitive
and responsive to care for babies despite the common belief that women are biologically
predisposed for the task.

A pattern shows that fathers spend more time playing with infants than feeding or bathing
them. Vigorous play with the father offers an infant excitement and challenges to
overcome fears.

3.2 Socio-Emotional Development in Infants

There are four areas of socio-emotional development in infants, which are:

1. Trust
Oxford Dictionary defines trust as a firm belief in the reliability of other people.

According to Erikson, the stage of trust begins in infancy and continues till about 18

Infants start the development of trust by developing the feeling of how reliable their
surrounding is. The surrounding refers to the people and things around them. This
process takes place in the early months of infancy.

This process is very important because infants need to balance the feeling of trust and
mistrust. By having the balance of these two feelings, only then can they form and
develop intimate relationships and even to protect themselves.

Moreover, the feelings of trust and mistrust have a great impact on infants especially on
the way they perceive their lives and the world. If the feeling of trust predominates,
infants will develop the belief that they can fulfill their needs and obtain their desires.

On the other hand, if the feeling of mistrust predominates, infants will see the world as
unfriendly and unpredictable and will find it difficult to form relationships.

Furthermore, trust can enable infants to let the mother out of sight.

In fact, in developing the trust during infancy, special attention needs to be given on
some critical elements. The elements involve:

i. Sensitive
Sensitive refers to parents' or caregivers' awareness of infants' feelings,
moods and reactions.

For example, when a baby suddenly feels down and gloomy, he or she
does not want to play. So, the mother needs to be sensitive to realize or
notice the sudden change of mood of the baby. The mother has to find
out the reason and the cause of the mood change. By doing this, the

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Course Name: Cognitive Sciences, Psychology and Other Related Sciences in Education
Topic 3: Child Development: Infancy and Toddlerhood

baby will perceive the mother as someone reliable and a person he or

she can turn to for love and comfort. This leads to the next element in the
development of trust.

ii. Responsive
Responsive refers to the way parents or caregivers react or reply to
infants' needs and desires.

For example, when a baby is hungry, he or she will start to cry. His or her
mother needs to respond quickly and favorably so as to show that the
mother cares about the child. The mother has to be quick to identify the
reason and calm the baby down. In this case, the mother needs to feed
the baby by giving milk or food. By doing this, the baby will feel secure
and view the mother as someone trustworthy in fulfilling his or her needs
and desires.

iii. Consistent Care Giving

It refers to the consistency in the way infants are taken care of by
parents or caregivers.

For example, in an incident, a baby cries because he or she quarrels

over a toy. The mother comforts the baby by giving an advice not to
quarrel. The same treatment should be given if the same incident
reoccurs. However, if the mother scolds the baby, the baby will think that
the mother cannot be trusted and relied on. He or she is confused due to
different treatments, both positive and negative, that result from the
same incident.

2. Attachment
In Human Development context, attachment means the feeling that binds a parent and
child together. There are three processes infants must go through first before they can
develop the sense of attachment to their parents.

The processes are:

a. To learn to distinguish human beings from inanimate objects.

b. To learn to distinguish between human beings so that they can recognize their
parents as familiar and strangers as unfamiliar.
c. To develop a specific attachment to one person.

Attachment can be defined as an active, affectionate, reciprocal, enduring relationship

between two people whose interaction continues to strengthen their bond.

Sucking, crying, smiling and clinging are examples of attachment seeking behavior.
These are activities on the baby's part that may get a response from adults. These
behaviors are successful when the mother gives warm response, expresses delight and
gives the baby frequent physical contact and freedom to explore.

Furthermore, according to Ainsworth, there are four overlapping stages of attachment

behavior during the first year.

The four overlapping stages of attachment behavior during the first year are:

i. Before two months

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Course Name: Cognitive Sciences, Psychology and Other Related Sciences in Education
Topic 3: Child Development: Infancy and Toddlerhood

At this stage, infants respond indiscriminately to anyone. This is because they

still cannot recognize individuals. Therefore, they treat and respond to everybody

ii. 8 to 12 weeks
The baby is now able to recognize people especially through the voice.
Therefore, at this stage, the baby cries, smiles and babbles more to the mother
than anyone else but continues to respond to others.

iii. Six or seven months

The baby starts to show close attachment to his or her mother. He or she wants
to be wit his or her mother most of the time. In fact, the fear of strangers may
appear between six to eight months during which the baby refuses to be alone
with strangers.

iv. Attachment with father and siblings

When a baby has close attachment to his or her mother, he or she also starts to
develop an attachment to the father and siblings. This is done mostly through
recognition of the voice. The baby does not treat the father and siblings, as
strangers and he or she may feel secure to be with them even without the
presence of the mother.

There are four patterns of attachment:

• Secure attachment
Infants use the mother as secure base. They cry when the mother leaves and
greet her when she returns. They are also usually cooperative and relatively free
of anger.

• Avoidant attachment
Infants rarely cry when the mother leaves and avoid her when she returns. They
tend to be angry and do not reach out in time of need. They also dislike being
held but dislike being put down even more.

• Ambivalent attachment
Infants become anxious before the mother leaves and they will be very upset
when she goes away. When she returns, they seek contact but also resist the
contact by kicking. They also do little exploring and are hard to comfort.

• Disorganized-disoriented attachment
Infants show inconsistent, contradictory behaviors. They also tend to be
confused and afraid most of the time.

The main factors that contribute to the security of attachment are the personalities and
behavior of both mother and infant and the way they respond to each other.

3. Communication with Caregiver

Generally, infants and their caregivers develop two-way signals that become a precise
language of emotional communication. This kind of relationship helps infants to "read"
and identify others' expectation.

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Course Name: Cognitive Sciences, Psychology and Other Related Sciences in Education
Topic 3: Child Development: Infancy and Toddlerhood

Mutual Regulation is a process of interaction between infants and their caregivers that
determines the quality of attachment. This depends on the ability of both to respond
appropriately to signals about each other's emotional states.

Figure 16: Example of Mutual Regulation

Social referencing is a process of seeking out and interpreting the caregivers' perception
of a situation and gaining an understanding of appropriate ways of responding to it.

According to the mutual regulation model, babies actively regulate their emotional states.
They read the emotions of others and after six months of age, they engage in social

Depression is an affective mood disorders in which a person feels down and unhappy for
a prolonged period of time, interfering with his or her normal functioning.

Healthy interaction between infants and their caregivers occurs when the caregivers can
read and understand infants' message accurately and respond appropriately through
mutual regulation.

In addition, infants become joyful and interested if their goals are met. However, if their
goals are not met, they become angry and sad. They will keep on sending messages to
correct the interaction.

In fact, young infants can perceive emotions expressed by others and can adjust their
own behavior accordingly.

In terms of social referencing, infants will be able to show the social referencing starting
six months after birth. Their action and behavior are based on the immediate presence or
appearance of a new person or toy.

The other factor that has an influence on communication is depression. Different types of
depression may affect how infants are brought up.

There are two types of depression that are known as temporary and chronic depression.
Temporary depression may not affect the interaction between infants and their caregivers

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Course Name: Cognitive Sciences, Psychology and Other Related Sciences in Education
Topic 3: Child Development: Infancy and Toddlerhood

in the long run. However, chronic depression can have serious effects on the interaction
such as ignoring the child and overriding the child's emotional signal.

In fact, the result of chronic depression may lead infants to give up and stop sending
emotional signals. They may believe that they have no power to draw any response or to
get any attention from their caregivers. They will perceive their caregivers as unreliable
and the world as untrustworthy.

4. The Anxieties
Generally, anxieties reflect the infants' attachment with their mothers. This usually
happens after six months of age and throughout the rest of the first year.

Anxiety can be defined as the feeling of fear, weariness or apprehension. There are two
types of anxiety, which are:

i. Stranger anxiety
The feeling of weariness of person infants does not know.

ii. Separation anxiety

The feeling of distress when a familiar caregiver leaves an infant.

The two anxieties, Stranger Anxiety and Separation Anxiety, are related to temperament and
life circumstances. Generally, in the case of Stranger Anxiety, the infants' reaction towards
strangers is affected by the reaction portrayed by their caregivers.

For instance, infants who are approached by an unfamiliar person will act friendlier to the
person if their mothers speak positively to them about the stranger. This is an example of the
way infants use social referencing to look for cues.

In temperament, infants who are fussy (cry a lot), clingy and fearful tend to deal with
separation from the caregiver (separation anxiety) and meeting a stranger (stranger anxiety)
less well than infants who are happy, less anxious and friendly.

In life circumstances, infants who experience physical abuse tend to have a bad case of
separation anxiety. The caregiver has become their protector from the abuser. These infants,
as a result of the abuse, have become fearful of people that are afraid to be left behind and to
meet strangers. In addition, infants who spend all their time with the caregiver and don't see
much people outside the immediate family tend to have more separation anxiety and stranger

On the other hand, Separation Anxiety may be due less to the separation itself than to the
quality of substitute care. When caregivers are warm and responsive and play with the infants
before they cry, the infants cry much less than when they are with less responsive caregivers.

3.3 Socio-Emotional Development in Toddlers

Socio-emotional development in toddlers can be divided into 4 divisions, which are:

1. Sense of Self
The development of self-awareness means that children begin to understand their
separateness from other things. This means that they are physically distinct and their
characteristics and behavior can be described and evaluated. Their sense of self
emerges gradually and is not given by parents or caregivers. For example, when children
do something good, it is not because they are asked by the parents to do it but merely
because they themselves want to do it.

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Course Name: Cognitive Sciences, Psychology and Other Related Sciences in Education
Topic 3: Child Development: Infancy and Toddlerhood

Moreover, self-awareness is the first step of developing standards of behavior whereby

children start to understand the response given by parents to something they have done.
This is directed at them and not just at the act itself.

For example, when children throw rubbish everywhere, the parents scold them. The act
of scolding is not only directed to the act of throwing rubbish but also to the children
themselves. This is to correct the children's action as well as to tell them the standard
behavior that the parents want the children to follow.

There are three phases in the development of sense of self in toddlers. The phases are:

i. Physical self-recognition and self-awareness

In this phase, most toddlers recognize themselves in mirrors or pictures by
the age of 18 months, showing awareness of themselves as physically
distinct beings.

ii. Self-description and self-evaluation

Once they already know that they are distinct beings, children begin to use
descriptive terms and evaluative ones on themselves. They learn the
descriptive terms. This is the time when needs and vocabularies expand.
For example, a four-year-old girl knows that she is a girl, has black hair,
loves to play with teddy bears and she likes to eat yogurt with a strawberry

iii. Emotional response to wrongdoing

In this phase, toddlers show that they are upset with their parents'
disapproval and stop doing things they are not supposed to do while they are
being watched.

2. Autonomy
Based on Erikson's theory, toddlers learn to be independent and have self-control from
18 months to three years. This happens during the autonomy versus shame and doubt

At this time, toddlers have acquired the sense of basic trust and self-awareness. As a
result, by using the sense of basic trust and self-awareness, toddlers begin to replace the
caregiver's judgment with their own.

In addition, according to Erikson, unlimited freedom is neither safe nor healthy.

Therefore, it is necessary to include the doubt and shame in developing a child.

Self-doubt helps children recognize what they are not yet ready to do. On the other hand,
shame helps them to live by reasonable rules.

For example, when a girl wants to do something, she will have a doubt whether she can
do it, she wants to do it or even she is ready to do it. Then, she will think about the effect
of her action whether it is all right for her to do it and how others view her action. How can
she know that her judgment is correct?

In this case, parents can help by setting the level of freedom for their children. Let the
children know that although they can make their own judgment there are still limits in their
actions and there are rules that they have to follow.

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Course Name: Cognitive Sciences, Psychology and Other Related Sciences in Education
Topic 3: Child Development: Infancy and Toddlerhood

3. Self Regulation
Self-regulation is a process of controlling one's behavior to conform to a caregiver's
demands or expectations, even when the caregiver is not present.

It is an undeniable fact that parents are the most important people in toddlers' life. One of
the parent's responsibilities is giving approval.

Toddlers will find ways to meet the parents' approval. They do this through social
referencing and by reading their parents' emotional responses to their behavior. This
process goes on, as toddlers will continue to absorb information about what conduct their
parents approve of. For example, a boy who is always praised by his parents for keeping
his toys in a box will always do that when he finishes playing in order to be praised.

For your information, the development of self-regulation parallels the development of the
self-conscious emotions such as empathy, shame and guilt. It requires flexibility and
ability to wait for gratification.

Normally, the full development of self-regulation takes about three years. There are four
significant periods occurring in these three years of development. The periods occur in
the first year, 1½-year, two years and three years.

During the first years, babies cannot generalize from one situation to another. They treat
each situation in isolation. For example, a baby named Daniel has to be told to stay away
from electric outlets each time he approaches one. Then, he will stay away for only a
short time and also when his father or mother is around. He will keep poking his finger
into other dangerous places.

In 1½ year, infants can think and remember well enough to connect what they want to do
with what they have been told. For example, Daniel wants to play with a socket, his father
shouts "No!” Daniel pulls his arm back. The next time, when he points his finger to the
socket, he hesitates and says "No!" to himself. He stops doing something that he is not
supposed to do.

During the age of two years, toddlers probably will know many rules about what and how
to do things and to avoid things that they are not allowed to touch. For example, Daniel is
aware, by now, that he is not supposed to touch electrical outlets and he is even not
supposed to go near them. However, he might not follow the rules totally especially when
it comes to something new, for instance a new electrical outlet installed in the house.

During the age of three years, young children already know the things that need to be
avoided. For example, when Daniel sees any electrical outlets even if they are new to
him, he will not touch them. He even will avoid anything that looks like an electrical outlet.

4. Internalization and Conscience

Internalization is a process of accepting societal standards of conduct as one's own.

On the other hand, conscience is an internal standard of behavior that usually controls
conduct and produces emotional discomfort when disregarded.

After we have understood the definition of the two words, now, let us see the
development of conscience.

Societal standards are the rules and regulations or norms set by the society and
generally accepted by its members.

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Course Name: Cognitive Sciences, Psychology and Other Related Sciences in Education
Topic 3: Child Development: Infancy and Toddlerhood

Internal standards are rules and regulations that are personally set in an individual and
sometimes might differ from the societal standard.

Socialization depends on the internalization of societal standards. Therefore, it is said

that successfully socialized children are those who have made the society's standards
their own. In fact, internalization is crucial for the development of conscience.

Next, let us have a look at the factors that contribute to the process of socializing a child.
Among the factors are as below:

i. The way parents socialize the child

ii. A child's temperament
iii. Secure attachment to responsive parents
iv. Observational learning of parents' behavior
v. The way parents and child interact

These factors influence how hard and easy the process of socializing a child will be.

Moreover, the factors mentioned earlier also play an important role in motivating a child
to comply.

There are two types of compliance, which are:

i. Committed compliance
Committed compliance is an early form of conscience whereby children accept
the mother's order wholeheartedly, following them without reminders or lapses.
Children who are rated as having internalized household rules by their parents
tend to display the most committed compliance.

For example, a child who is prohibited from playing with electrical outlets will stay
away from them either with or without the mother's presence. This shows that the
child has internalized the prohibition.

ii. Situational compliance

A situational compliance show that children need to be ordered to obey that is
the compliance depends on ongoing parental control. Children who show
situational compliance tend to yield to temptation when their mothers are out of

For example, a child who is forbidden from playing with electrical outlets has to
be reminded from time to time. He or she might play with them when the mother
is not there to see what he or she is doing.

3.4 Contact with Other Children

In contact with other children, we shall look into the followings:

i. Siblings
It will be much easier for you to understand the lesson if you can imagine a situation in
which infants or toddlers is playing with their siblings.

Now, close your eyes and imagine you are in a room. You can see three or four children
playing in the room. Observe how they interact with each other.

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Course Name: Cognitive Sciences, Psychology and Other Related Sciences in Education
Topic 3: Child Development: Infancy and Toddlerhood

Normally, babies start to interact soon after birth. However, the interaction is more
obvious after the first six months when they start to interact more with their siblings.

The amount of time one-year-old children spend with their siblings is almost as much as
the time they spend with their mothers. In fact, in many societies, older siblings have a
responsibility to take care of their younger siblings. However, in the process of the sibling
care, rivalry occurs as does affection.

As young children are usually attached to their older brothers or sisters, it is common for
them to cry and become upset when their siblings go away and greet them when they
come back.

As young children grow up, siblings will display both positive and negative behaviors. For
example, toddlers have the tendency to imitate whatever behavior displayed by their
older siblings due to their closeness.

ii. Non-Siblings
Young children not only show their interest in their family members but also the people
outside their families, especially those of their own size.

Picture yourself standing in a room with a few newborns. All the newborns are sleeping.
Suddenly, one of the newborns starts to cry maybe because he or she is hungry. Notice
that, after a few seconds the other newborns will also start to cry.

Such a scenario is common, for it is common for babies to start crying upon hearing
another baby's cries. In addition, during the first few months, they begin to show their
interest in other babies the same way they respond to their mother.

When babies reach the age of six months to one year, they will start to smile at, touch
and babble to other babies. This is more likely to happen when they are not distracted by
the presence of adults or toys.

Later, when babies reach one year old, they prefer to play with toys than with other
people. However, at the age of three, they start to show more interest in what other
children do. This will help them increase their understanding on how to deal with other

As we have discussed in the previous lesson, toddlers like to imitate other people
especially their siblings. The same thing happens when they are with non-siblings.

Toddlers will imitate each other. This is actually one way for them to learn something
new. Furthermore, imitating one another helps them to interact with other children and
pave the way for participation in more complex games during the preschool years.

Toddlers cannot run away from facing conflicts in the interaction with non-siblings.
However, conflicts with other children help toddlers learn how to negotiate and resolve
arguments and disagreements. The older they become the bigger the conflicts they
would experience.

For example, two little girls are dressing up a doll together. However, the two of them
have different ways and they start to argue on which way they should dress the doll. This
is an example of a situation which requires them learn how to negotiate in order to satisfy
the people involved.

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Course Name: Cognitive Sciences, Psychology and Other Related Sciences in Education
Topic 3: Child Development: Infancy and Toddlerhood

iii. Daycare
A high quality daycare has positive impact on cognitive, emotional and social

Characteristics of a good day care:

• Children have access to educational toys and materials.

• Children have caregivers that teach and accept them.
• The caregivers are neither too controlling nor merely custodial but provide a
balance between structured activities and free play.

Based on cognitive measurement, children who have the chance to be in daycare and
join other children have the tendency to perform better in many tasks compared to those
who just stay at home alone.

They also tend to score higher on IQ tests, to show more advanced eye-hand
coordination, to play more creatively, to know more about the physical world, to count
and measure better, to show better language skills and be more advanced in knowing
their names and addresses.

Many parents feel afraid to send their young children to daycare because they think that it
will ruin their interaction and attachment with their children. This is not true. However, the
effect or risk lies in a combination of poor quality care and unresponsive parenting.

Poor quality care involves mainly the caregivers in daycare. Some caregivers have no
training and no experience in taking care of children. On the other hand, unresponsive
parenting refers to parents who are unable to give appropriate responses and are not
sensitive to their children needs.

Research shows that infants whose mothers are insensitive tend to be insecurely
attached if they get poor-quality day care. Moreover, boys who spend more than 30 hours
a week at the day care center tend to be insecurely attached.

However, there are still positive effects of sending young children to daycare.

Young children who spent much time at the daycare center during their first year tend to
be as sociable, self-confident, persistent, achieving and skilled at solving problems as
children at home.

Moreover, preschoolers raised in daycare tend to be more comfortable in a new situation,

more outgoing, less timid and fearful, more helpful and cooperative, and more verbally

Page 34 of 35
Course Name: Cognitive Sciences, Psychology and Other Related Sciences in Education
Topic 3: Child Development: Infancy and Toddlerhood


Printed Materials

• Levine, Ellen (ed.) 1995. The Good Housekeeping Book of Child Care. USA: St. Remy Press
• Fenwick, Ellen 1996. The Complete Book of Mother and Baby Care. Great Britain: Dorling
Kindersley Ltd.
• Papalia, Diane E.; Olds, Sally W.; Feldman, Ruth D. 1998. Human Development. USA:
• Santrock, John W. 1997. Children. USA: Brown and Benchmark Publishers.
• Santrock, John W. 1999. Life-Span Development. USA: McGraw-Hill.
• Sdorow, Lester M. 1998. Psychology. USA: McGraw-Hill.
• Smith, Tony (ed.) 1996. Complete Family Health Encyclopedia. Great Britain: Dorling
Kindersley Ltd.

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