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The Nurturing Parent

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  1. Introduction
  2. Getting Started & Assessment
    Description and Orientation
  3. Change, Growth and Letting Go
  4. My Life Script
  5. Nurturing Parenting
    Nurturing as a Lifestyle
  6. Nurturing Skills Rating Scale
  7. Cultural Parenting Traditions
    My Cultural Portrait
  8. Developing Spirituality in Parenting
    Ways to Increase Spirituality
  9. Making Good Choices
    Smoking and My Child's Health
  10. Families & Alcohol Use
  11. Families and Alcohol Use Questionnaire
  12. 12 Steps to Keeping Children Drug Free
  13. Self-Awareness Quiz
  14. Love, Sex, STDs and AIDS
  15. Dating, Love and Rejection
  16. Touch, Personal Space, and Date Rape
  17. Possessive and Violent Relationships
  18. Growth and Development of Children
    Children's Brain Development
  19. The Male and Female Brain
  20. Ages & Stages: Appropriate Expectations
  21. Ages & Stages: Infant Development
  22. Ages & Stages: Toddler Development
  23. Ages & Stages: Preschooler Development
  24. Ages & Stages: Skills Strips
  25. Feeding Young Children Nutritious Foods
  26. Toilet Training
  27. Keeping My Children Safe
  28. The Importance of Touch
    The Importance of Parent/Child Touch
  29. Infant & Child Massage (Refer to the Nurturing Book for Babies and Children)
  30. Developing Empathy
    Developing Empathy
  31. Getting My Needs Met
  32. Myths and Facts About Spoiling Your Children
  33. Recognizing and Understanding Feelings
    Helping Children Learn How to Handle Their Feelings
  34. "Feelings" Exercise
  35. Criticism, Confrontation and Rules for "Fair Fighting"
  36. Problem Solving, Decision Making, Negotiation and Compromise
  37. Managing and Communicating Feelings
    Understanding and Handling Stress
  38. Understanding and Expressing Anger
  39. Understanding Discipline
    Improving Self-Worth
  40. Measuring My Self-Worth
  41. Children's Self-Worth
  42. Ten Ways to Improve Children's Self-Worth
  43. Developing Personal Power in Children and Adults
  44. Helping Children Manage Their Behavior
  45. Understanding Discipline
  46. Developing Family Morals and Values
  47. Developing Family Rules
  48. Child Proofing Your Home
  49. Home Safety Checklist
  50. Safety Reminders by Age
  51. Rewards and Punishments
    Using Rewards to Guide and Teach Children
  52. Using Punishments to Guide and Teach Children
  53. Praising Children and Their Behavior
  54. Time Out
  55. Punishing Children's Inappropriate Behavior
    Why Parents Spank Their Children
  56. Verbal and Physical Redirection
  57. Ignoring Inappropriate Behavior
  58. Developing Nurturing Parenting Routines
    Establishing Nurturing Parenting Routines
  59. Nurturing Diapering and Dressing Routine
  60. Nurturing Feeding Time Routine
  61. Nurturing Bath Time Routine
  62. Nurturing Bed Time Routine
  63. Prenatal Parenting
    Changes in Me and You
  64. Body Image
  65. Keeping Our Bodies and Babies Healthy
  66. Health and Nutrition
  67. Fetal Development
  68. Foster and Adoptive Parents
    Foster & Adoptive Children: Attachment, Separation, and Loss
  69. Expectations on foster and Adopted Children
  70. Worksheet for Adoptive Parents
  71. Worksheet for Foster Parents
    Parenting Resources
Lesson 21 of 72
In Progress

Ages & Stages: Infant Development

Hope4Families October 25, 2022

Infant Development

The first year of an infant’s life is both fascinating and startling. For years, psychologists have thought that babies were incompetent creatures who were unable to comprehend the world around them. Today we know that is untrue. At six to ten days, the newborn can recognize the mother by her smell. Some studies reveal that newborns can move their bodies in rhythm to the meaningful speech of adults. Babies at two weeks will look at their own mothers more frequently than they will look at strangers. It is apparent that very young infants can begin to make some sense of their new environment. As they grow older during this first year of life, their body language, intelligence, and social interactions also increase.

Physical Development

The major part of the infant’s first year is devoted to survival. The infant is completely helpless at birth and is totally dependent upon the parents for help. Being fed, held, touched, looked at, and talked to have a significant impact on the growth of the child. There is so much activity that the average baby sleeps from 16 to 20 hours each day. In fact, there is so much going on during the first year that it is impossible to notice everything. 

The first year is an important one for the child’s physical growth.

  • Automatic reflexes such as hand-to-mouth (0 to 2 months)
  • Can focus on objects 8 to 15 inches away (newborn) 
  • Makes cooing, crying, and grunting sounds (newborn)
  • Will use eyes to follow you (2 months)
  •  Will lift head when on stomach (2 months)
  • Sucks fingers (2 months)
  • May be pulled slowly by hands to a sitting position (2 months)
  • May be starting to teethe (4 months)
  • Can sit up without support for a short time (7 months)
  •  Can begin to crawl by pulling self forward with arms and dragging legs and stomach (7 months) 
  • With help of furniture, can pull self up to stand (7 months)
  • Likes to pick things up and drop them, only to pick them up again (7 months)
  • Feeds self pieces of food with hands (7 months)
  • Starts practicing walking but continues crawling (10 months)
  • Likes to eat meals using fingers, begins using one hand more than the other (10 months)
  • Begins a tottering walk with legs wide apart (12 months)
  • Sits independently on hard surface (12 months)

Intellectual Development

Physical and intellectual development are closely related to one another. The child learns about the world through exploration of objects, by moving around, and through interactions with the parents. Jean Piaget, a Swiss psychologist, helped us understand how children learn. He believed that intelligence involves adaptation to the world. Such adaptation means that the individual is capable of interacting effectively with the environment.

The behavior of infants during the first year, and subsequent years, is to help them understand, adapt, and interact effectively with their world.

  • Reflex behaviors, like sucking, are practiced (0-2 months)
  • Begins to recognize familiar voices or faces (2 months)
  • Responds to strangers by crying or staring (2 months)
  • Likes repetition of simple acts like sucking, open and closing hands, etc. for sake of activity (2 to 3 months)
  • Baby still cries but also laughs out loud (4 months)
  • Can imitate sounds; watches your mouth with interest when talking (7 months)
  • Child uses responses to solve problems and to achieve some goal. For example, a child may move one object to get at another (12 months)
  •  response to and imitates facial expressions of others (5-12 months)

Language Development

Language develops very slowly during the first year of Life. At birth, babies cannot say anything. By the end of their first year, their vocabulary increases to about two to eight words. An adult’s vocabulary is largely determined by the speech they heard in the first three years of life. The first two years are the most important.

Babies, however, do communicate their needs even without language. Crying is a way babies let their parents know they are either wet, hungry, tired, or frightened. Mothers and fathers soon learn the difference between a cry of fear and one of hunger. By the second month, babies begin cooing – a way of showing their pleasure. Babbling begins during the fourth or fifth month. Syllables are repeated over and over again. 

Parents who talk to their babies, and praise and reinforce their efforts at communication, help facilitate the development of language.

  • Respond to speech by looking at speaker (0 to 12 months)
  • Makes crying and non crying sounds (0 to 12 months)
  • Babbles by repeating some vowel and consonant sounds (0 to 12 months)
  • Attempts to imitate sounds (0 to 12 months)
  • Babies begin to “understand” many words or phrases such as “no” or “come” or “bring.” (1 to 12 months)

Social/Emotional Development

The stages of social and emotional growth are described by Erik Erikson. In the earliest stages, birth to one year, the child struggles with learning to trust or mistrust himself and others in his environment. The degree to which a child comes to trust the environment, the other people, and himself, depends to a considerable extent upon the quality of the care the child receives.

The child whose needs are met, whose discomforts and fears are quickly removed, who is held, loved, played with, and talked to develop a belief that the world is a safe place, and that people are dependable and helpful.

The child who receives inconsistent and inadequate care and who is rejected develops a basic mistrust of others, his environment, and self. For this child, the world is not a safe, fun place to be and people are not to be depended upon to have needs met. 

Although the child is actively involved in developing trust or mistrust in the first year, the same issue arises again at each successive stage of development.

  • Likes high pitched voices and will usually quiet down when they hear them (0-2 months)
  • Smiles spontaneously (0-2 months)
  • Loves to be played with and likes to be picked up (4 months)
  • Responds differently to strangers (may cry) than to familiar persons (4-6 months)
  • Babies make give joyful kicks and gurgle and laughed to engage mother in play (5 months)
  • Knows that mother exists even though she may not be visually present (5 months)
  • May become attached to a particular toy; play time is important (7 months)
  • Child is beginning to learn to be independent. May go a little away from you, but will quickly return (10 months)
  • Child will Express frustration (through crying) for failure to master some tasks (8 to 10 months)
  • Child loves an audience and will repeat any behavior that gets attention (12 months)
  •  Tantrums may occur. Based on needs and limited abilities, a child may desire to have or do something that cannot be achieved (12 months)