1. The first five years of a child’s life are crucial to their physical, mental, social, and emotional development. Based on the reading, discuss what are the most important things (give us your top 3-5) for parents to do to promote healthy growth in all areas of a child’s development?
2. Discuss various ways can parents promote self-regulation within their children?
Effective parenting is essential to children’s growth and development. Parenting young children is a challenging and often isolating task, but good parenting is essential to the well-being of children. In this lesson, students will explore children’s growth, skillful parenting techniques, ways for parents to access needed support, and how to monitor and supervise media use for their school-age children.
Topics to be covered include:
· Techniques to help children aged 0- 5 years develop positive relationships with family and peers.
· Parenting techniques that help children aged 0-5 years learn to regulate their behavior and develop problem solving skills.
· Ways in which parents support children’s cognitive, physical, social-emotional and language development during the first five years of life.
· Most parents bring their newborn home and feel utterly overwhelmed–even parents who have done it before. Caring for a new baby is all-encompassing. Newborns need to eat round-the-clock, and typically have highly erratic sleep behaviors. During the course of the first year, the parents gain confidence, and the infant begins to regulate itself and gain a wide range of developmental skills.
Routines for sleep vary depending upon parent preferences. Some parents are happy and willing to breastfeed or rock an infant to sleep regularly, while others value more independent sleep. Providing comfort during the transition to sleep helps the infant develop healthy attachment, so encouraging independent sleep is not appropriate in a young infant, under six to nine months. Increasingly, experts are recommending more gentle transitions to independent sleep, rather than the traditional suggestion to just leave an infant to cry.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) provides parents with a distinct and important set of recommendations regarding infant sleep. These recommendations are designed to prevent SIDS or sudden infant death syndrome. The causes of SIDS remain largely unknown; however, the following measures have been scientifically proven to reduce the risks:
· Breastfeeding and immunization reduce the risk of SIDS and are recommended.
· Infants should sleep on a firm, flat surface without soft bedding, including crib bumpers.
· Infants should sleep in the parents’ room, in an infant-appropriate sleep space, like a crib.
· Babies should always be placed to sleep on their backs, without positioners of any sort.
Sleep and bedtime routines can help to smooth the transition for older infants, toddlers and preschoolers. Common routines include a bath, a final snack, teeth brushing, and stories. Some children may do best if a parent sits with them while they fall asleep; however, this transition can be shortened over time.
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Even as newborns, infants may express significantly different preferences regarding movement, activity, light and physical touch. Parents should, as much as is possible and safe, take those preferences into account to keep the baby as content as possible. Obviously, some things infants may dislike are inevitable, including car seats and tummy time. For high-need infants or those that settle less easily, babywearing, or carrying the infant in baby carrier on the chest or back, as is age-appropriate, can provide additional physical touch, and may make daily tasks easier for the parents.
Other considerations include:
Attachment is the bond between a child and caregiver or parent that forms with sensitive and responsive parenting. This connection develops during the infant stage. This bond helps the infant understand relationships and forms the basis of future relationships and trust. Parents develop attachment through sensitivity when identifying the infant’s needs and responding quickly and appropriately. Parents also develop secure attachment by being positive and emotionally accepting of the child, socially interacting with the child, and developing a mutual relationship between the child and themselves. Preschoolers’ levels of attachment will directly affect their sense of self-esteem as well as their ability to adapt socially with a group of their peers.
Parents who are struggling to meet the emotional and physical needs of their infants should seek additional assistance and support. A failure to develop bonds and attachment between parent and child will cause ongoing difficulties for children. In addition, healthy attachment to alternative caregivers is important, so parents should carefully choose caregivers for their children.
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THE IMPORTANCE OF PLAY‹ 1/7 ›
· Play is an important interaction with infants and can help them learn language, manipulate toys, be cooperative, and learn social interaction skills. Play at the infant stage may involve the handling of toys by the infant or the looking, pointing at, and sharing of toys. It can also involve sensory play with objects of texture. Songs, rhymes and simple games, like peek-a-boo help to engage children.
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The Development of Language
Language development includes receptive and expressive language. Receptive language is language that is heard and understood. Expressive language is language that is spoken, signed, or otherwise communicated. Both receptive and expressive language development is critical, and the two types of language development occur simultaneously for most children.
The language development process includes:
Language development begins from day one when the child cries and learns that the parent will respond. Cries, even for newborns, are distinct. Responsive parents will soon learn to distinguish a tired cry from a hungry one; however, it is normal for some infants to cry for no apparent reason. The cause may be discomfort, overstimulation, or another reason. Crying is most common in the early evening. Crying is not an attempt to manipulate the parents, but rather the infant’s only way of communicating physical or emotional needs, and should not be ignored. Children need to learn that their needs will be met by parents or other caregivers, from birth.
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The Emotional Development of Infants and Young Children
Emotional development in the first year of life involves an infant developing the general emotional states that he or she is born with (e.g., contentment, alertness, and distress) to the specific emotions of joy, sadness, anger, and then fear (or stranger anxiety) by the age of eight months in response to situations that occur. While newborns have only the simplest emotional states, within weeks they clearly display a wider range of emotions, and become more expressive of those emotions.
Emotionally responsive and reassuring parenting will help children regulate their emotions. By the end of the first year, the infant will show additional emotions (e.g., interest, surprise, and disgust). Emotional expression is determined not only by parenting, but also by the child’s temperament. The child’s temperament is their own–many aspects of temperament are inborn. Temperament includes two key aspects; reactivity or how sensitive the child is to stimuli and self-regulation, or the ability to calm and control oneself.
Children will demonstrate more aggressive behaviors between the ages of one and three years. Aggressive behaviors, including temper tantrums, are often the result of frustration for young toddlers. They have relatively little ability to express their emotions and needs, and limited control over their own lives. These aggressive behaviors can occur due to hunger, fatigue, or unexpected changes in routine or illness. Meeting the child’s physical needs, providing responsive parenting, and maintaining a stable routine can decrease tantrums and aggression. These behaviors often decrease after the age of three, as children become more capable of both self-regulation and effective communication.
· What are the elements of temperament?
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o Reactivity and self-regulation
o Self-soothing and sensitivity
o Reactivity and sensitivity
o Routine and self-regulation
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ESTABLISHING RULES AND BOUNDARIES‹ 1/5 ›
· Establishing a set of rules that are in line with the child’s abilities will help establish routines and boundaries. Understanding child development helps parents to recognize age-appropriate behaviors and work to modify that behavior in an appropriate way.
Parents will help the child develop appropriate social interaction skills and behaviors through the use of reasoning and explanations rather than harsh and controlling interactions and punishment methods.
Transitions and Routines
A positive home environment with consistent daily routines, rules, and consequences will help the child prepare for expected situations during the day. Parents can also prepare children for transitions to new activities or changes in daily routines by announcing them a few minutes earlier to give the child time to adjust. The amount of time needed for an advance warning will depend upon the individual child’s needs. A close relationship between parents and child will provide the parents with the ability to know their child’s needs, and to manage their child’s behavior more effectively.
Parents can also try to anticipate potential problems and have a plan to help deal with potential issues like hunger, soiling of clothing, boredom, and fatigue. It is important that parents deal with conflict in a positive, consistent, and firm manner so the child knows expectations.
Orientation (Brooks, 2013).
Facilitating Intellectual Development
Here are some strategies for facilitating intellectual development in young children.
EMOTIONAL AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
In order for children to grow intellectually to their full potential, they need to have a secure emotional and social developmental foundation. Children who have developed an attachment with their parent or caregiver feel emotionally secure within their families, have healthy self-esteem, and exhibit confidence in their abilities. These children will be more prepared to see the world as a safe place to learn and explore. Children who have not yet established this foundation or lack confidence will need more positive support to help them along their journey.
A parent can support their young child’s intellectual development by exploring beginning academic skills like reading, counting, color knowledge, drawing, coloring, and other activities in a fun playful manner. These activities should become part of daily life–and shouldn’t involve worksheets or other concentrated activity. Instead, as parents read with the child, they can point to letters or tell stories about the pictures in a book. They can allow a toddler to help cook and talk about the food, or talk about the colors of socks while they sort laundry.
Reading to infants and young toddlers increases intellectual skills, vocabulary skills, and emotional bonds especially when the lap reading method is used. When the child sits or cuddles on the parent’s lap, the close physical contact is soothing and encourages emotional support. The child can also clearly see the book’s words and pictures, become familiar with the format of the book, understand how it is handled, and appreciate how the parent reads from left to right. Reading with children teaches them a variety of essential pre-reading skills.
Encouraging young children to count objects with you will help them learn basic number concepts and prepare them for school. Children learn best through play and fun activities. In the same way, through play, conversation and daily living, children can begin to learn about time, about how books work in terms of a beginning, middle and end, about the letters and sounds of the alphabet and much, much more.
The intellectual development of an infant, young toddler, or preschool-age child develops through a combination of many factors and exposure to activities we already discussed in this section.
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· Here are some strategies for facilitating intellectual development in young children.
Support for Parents
There are many books, magazines, courses, websites, and usually family members, friends, or acquaintances available to give advice to expectant parents. Typically, parents with a strong social support system will adjust to parenthood more easily–they have increased access to friends and family. Many parents lack that support system, and some may find it inadequate. Why is this job so challenging when the baby arrives?
One of the possible answers to this question is that each child is an individual with a different temperament, needs, physical genetic makeup, and their home environment also has many different variations. New parents may be worn down physically, emotionally, and financially. Mothers are recovering from the physical trauma of birth, whether natural or caesarian, and parents’ marriages often struggle during the first year after a baby’s birth.
They may not have a support network. An infant may have needs that have to be identified or managed differently. These factors may all take a negative toll on a parent’s belief in their ability to care for their child. The care the child receives may be significantly impacted by the parents’ belief in their own abilities.
Parent Support Programs
Parental self-efficacy, or the belief a parent has doors