To understand early development, psychological researchers together with parents tend to ask questions like whether early experiences to leave enduring impressions on the minds of the children and their personalities. Also is whether the first relationship with parent or caregivers shapes their lifelong social relationship and self-understanding. Or is the world of an infant a buzzing confusion which requires adults to offer clarity and organization? Moreover, people question if the environment is a catalyst for healthy child development. It must be noted that about 90% of a child’s brain does develop at the first three years of his or her life. It is the period of rapid cognitive, social, emotional, linguistic, and motor development (Thompson & Nelson 2001). That is, the brain of the child grows as he or she feels, sees, tastes and hears. It is because every time a child applies a specific sense, a neuro-connection is established in the brain of the child. The creating of positive developmental progression via daily, repeated shapes the child’s thinking, feelings, behaviors, and learning. Therefore, parents or caregiver when playing, or talking g with the baby via banging pots, pans, filling buckets or boxes help a child’s development process. In such a case the obligation of any caregiver is established by the all the needs of the developing child. Therefore, healthy interaction between caregiver and a child determines triggers good brain development growth.
Theory of mind
Individuals intuitively understand the actions of others. The understanding is motivated by desires, feelings, goals, intentions, mental states and thoughts. One prominent discovery of young kids is that they often develop their intuitive path of the mental process right from the beginning of early life. A child’s developing theory of the mind transforms how it responds to people and how it learns from people. Infants and young kids begin to understand what goes in the minds of the people and how the feeling and thoughts are similar to theirs.
Brain development takes place during the early life and the advances rapidly during the prenatal months. Brain development starts within the first six months after the conception an when both the brain and spinal cord have started to take their shape within the embryo. By the sixth month of pregnancy, all the nerve cells shall have developed. Once the neurons are formed, they go to the brain regions and are differentiated to take specialized duties and form connections or synapses with other neurons thus allowing for communication and storage of information (Thompson & Nelson 2001). Formation of synapses with other neurons continues during childhood. Hence, at the time of birth, most neurons have been located appropriately within the immature brain of the child and begins to function like the mature brain. Moreover, given the need for novelty and attention to sensory experiences, likings for social stimulations, the architecture of the neurons of a newborn starts to change significantly (Macvarish, Lee, & Lowe 2014).
What occurs is that before and after birth, the blooming of brain connections happens. That is neurons form more synapses with other neurons in quantities that cannot be retained by a mature brain. The proliferation of such synapses form a potential for brain development but still makes the brain inefficient and noisy with unnecessary and redundant neural connections. Hence, such proliferation gives birth to the stage of “pruning,” where little-used synapses are eliminated gradually to attain the required number to allow the brain to operation (Bruer1999).
How synapses selected for either retention or elimination
The stimulating experiences are what activate particular neural synapses thus triggering growth processes which consolidate the connections. Hence, through the principle of “use it or lose it” synapses that are not progressively activated wither over time thus allowing the structure of the developing brain to adapt to the needs of daily stimulation and experiences. For instance, during early months, a child’s visual sharpness increases just because the neural pathways which connect the eye to the brain are consolidating as the child gazes at his or her surroundings. However, if an infant does not exercise vision deprivation, the pathways shall remain unorganized because the neurons are not consolidated thus hindering vision. Just like language learning, reflect the brain blooming and pruning (Thompson & Nelson 2001).
Thinking and Learning
Right from birth, the minds of the newborns are active but the thoughts and behaviors are disorganized. From such stage, newborns crave for originality because they are bored with familiarity. Their sensory organs like eyes, and ears are attuned to occurrences that are unfamiliar. Their eyes are drawn sharply to movements and contrast thus helping them to distinguish boundaries between objects. They also learn sophisticated interpretations about size, shape, rigidity, and wholeness. Newborns are also capable of integrating knowledge from various senses. Hence they tend to look towards the source of an interesting sound or objects that match the texture of pacifiers that’s have been placed in their mouths. Such early capabilities establish the surprising growth concepts, problem-solving, causation as well as memory during a child’s early years. For instance, in causation and problem solving, infants tend to be fascinated with making things happen. For instance, they learn to pull tablecloth to gain access to the milk on the table or manipulation people to attain their goals. The memory, on the other hand, becomes flexible due to routine actions or events (Cusick & Georgieff 2014).
A young infant naturally can distinguish speech sounds. As early as fifteen to eighteen months old, they language learning is rapid. They can put words together into modest sentences, master some grammar rules and vocabularies (Thompson & Nelson 2001).
Learning and Relationships
All learning during child development takes place in a social context. Even a newborn baby responds in special ways to the social stimuli. However, the stimuli they portray are offered by the individual providing care to the child. For example, a baby’s interest in social sights, speech, and the sound is focusing his or her active mind in trying to interpret and understand human facials expressions, social behaviors, words, and vocal intonations. Therefore, achievements in the mind contribute to a child’s social and emotional development (Sullivan, Perry, Sloan, Kleinhaus & Burtchen 2011). For instance, the early learning of the child is founded on the interest the child has on the intentions of adult speakers. Therefore, a child does learn about the world when assisted. The child’s minds innate abilities and never-ending activity offer a powerful avenue for understanding the things when they are assisted by daily experiences and the social behaviors of people around them. Secure, safe environments and things for play which are easily accessible allow a child to explore things and take part in activities (Bornstein & Bradley 2014).
Attachments: Secure and Insecure
The first attachment between a baby and a parent is biological. The growth of emotional attachment at the age of one is always preceded by several months of social interaction during which the newborn and the mother exchange playful gazes, smiles, laughter, touch, and smiles. Hence, such interaction offers sense of security which allows for confident explorations and reassurances (Thompson & Nelson 2001).
Self-Regulation and Social Understanding
Caretaker guides a child behavior by applying indirect strategies like bargaining and explanations which suits the child’s development abilities for self-control. For instance, caregiver helps a three-year-old to understand the consequences of misbehavior by showing the consequences of it to create a social understanding and self-regulation (Thompson & Nelson 2001)
The personality growth of a child begins when a child learns about the phrase “who am I” in an insightful manner. The psychological understanding establishes avenues for greater self-awareness as infants slowly learn the difference between “other” and “self.” Hence, at the second year, a child develops visual self-recognition and verbal references. At the age of three, he or she refuses assistance. She or he will insist on doing things alone to assert autonomy and competence. Moreover, during preschool years, the child develops self-monitoring and enthusiasm to succeed. At three years old, events are now remembered with mentions of personal significance. Here, autobiographical memory is constructed to create consistent identity throughout the events of life (Thompson & Nelson 2001). Moreover, at this stage, the self-awareness is strongly dependent on the assessment of those who the child is attached to emotionally. Consequently, at the age of two to three years old, the child’s emotions broaden beyond the simple emotions to include shame, guilt, pride and embarrassment which are elicited by a social situation. Hence, self-concept is determined social interactions with others (Hawley & Gunner 2000).
The importance of Caregivers
The sensitivity of the caregivers also influences an additional catalyst for intellectual growth. Caregivers stimulate a child mental growth through a variety of activities. Most importantly, they establish daily routines which enable a child to anticipate, represent, and remember the routines of activities or events like preparing breakfast, going to a mall or daycare, going to bed or taking a bath. Moreover, caregivers are responsible for constructing shared activities which are manageable for a child and can promote new skills and form a pride of achievement (Phillips & Adams, 2001). Such activity can be storytelling, jigsaw puzzle among others. In such a case, a caregiver, through singing assists the child to develop and advance language growth. Hence, both parents and caregivers do a lot of intentional actions to promote the learning and cognitive growth of the child. Most importantly, the catalyst they offer are uncoached (Lally & Mangione 2017).
In conclusion, healthy interaction between caregiver and a child determines triggers good brain development growth. Rapid brain development happens at the first three years of his or her life. Brain development starts within the first six months after the conception an when both the brain and spinal cord have started to take their shape within the embryo. Due to the need for novelty and attention to sensory experiences, likings foe social stimulations, the architecture of the neurons of a newborn starts to change significantly. Moreover, through the principle of “use it or lose it” synapses that are not progressively activated wither over time thus allowing the structure of the developing brain to adapt to the needs of daily stimulation and experiences. Several months of social interaction always precedes the growth of emotional attachment at the age of one. Therefore, caregivers are critical to stimulating a child’s mental growth through a variety of activities and establish daily routines which enable the child to anticipate, represent, and remember the routines of activities.
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