The Infants World (Developing Child) (The Developing Child)

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While physical growth and change is easily observed and measured in precise terms such as in inches and pounds, cognitive change and development is a little harder to determine as clearly. Therefore, much about what experts know about mental and cognitive development is based on the careful observation of developmental theorists and their theories, such as Piaget's theory of cognitive development and Erickson's psychosocial stages.

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Bronfenbrenner's ecological model also helps explain infant mental growth to some extent. According to Piaget, newborns interact with their environment entirely through reflexive behaviors. They do not think about what they're going to do, but rather follow their instincts and involuntary reactions to get what they need: food, air, and attention.

Infancy Cognitive Development

Piaget believed that as babies begin to grow and learn about their environment through their senses, they begin to engage in intentional, goal-directed behaviors. In other words, they begin to think about what they want to accomplish, how to accomplish it, and then they do it.

Your Baby's Social Development

This is also when infants develop object permanence, which is the ability to understand that something still exists even if it can't be seen. These two milestones, goal-directed behavior and object permanence, are the highlights and major accomplishments of infant cognitive development. Piaget separated infancy into six sub-stages, which have been adjusted somewhat over the years as new research and discoveries have occurred The sub-stages include: reflexive activity, primary circular reactions, secondary circular reactions, coordination of secondary schemes, tertiary circular reactions, and beginning or representational thought.

While these sub-stages sound highly confusing and complicated, they will be explained in more detail in the next paragraphs in order to simplify them and highlight the important aspects of each.

The Infant’s World

The first sub-stage is reflexive activity, which lasts from birth to approximately 1 month. According to Piaget, while babies are engaging in reflexive actions such as sucking when offered a bottle or the breast, or other reflexes covered earlier in this article, they are learning about their environment and how they can interact with it. Babies don't think about behaving reflexively; they simply act out those reflexes automatically.

Crying It Out. For babies, crying is a normal response to settling down at bedtime.

The challenge

There are many ways to help babies learn how to self-soothe and fall asleep. Developmental Screening and Assessment. Support your child's developmental growth by participating in the screening and assessment process, and becoming a key member of the therapeutic team. Early Intervention.

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  • A range of early intervention services offers very young children the opportunity to develop the skills and abilities that will ready them for school and life. Health and Nutrition.

    Learn more about all aspects of child health, including early nutrition, physical activities for young children and other issues focused on a healthy lifestyle. Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health. Social and Emotional Development. Strong, positive relationships help children develop trust, empathy, compassion and a sense of right and wrong.

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    Trauma and Stress. Strong, caring and loving relationships can shield children from the impact of negative experiences, and they can be mutually healing.

    Infant and Child Development Program | Counselling Services of Belleville and District

    Skip to main content Skip to footer. Close Search Submit. Upcoming Events. Search Submit. Topic Ages and Stages All children are unique. Topic Challenging Behaviors As young children are just beginning to develop self-control, challenging behavior is common and expected in the years from birth to three.