Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Middle Childhood: Psychosocial Milestones

Between the ages of 6 and 11, baby will be increasingly more able to self-regulate every day as she takes on more responsibility and shows self-control. She strives for independence and influences your decisions regarding her care. Erikson called this stage industry versus inferiority as she strives to master whatever abilities are valued in her culture. In layman's terms, she spends this time deciding whether she is a winner or a loser.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Middle Childhood: Cognitive Milestones

The cognitive development of middle childhood allows baby to do almost anything she puts her mind to. From musical instruments to chess to poetry, her brain really lets her do it all.

Piaget called this stage in middle childhood concrete operational thought. They can think logically about the world they perceive. He thought that while 5- to 7-year-olds could start to think logically, age 7 is when they are able to apply that logic to concrete situations. One of the concepts mastered at this young age is classification, the ability to group things according to similarities. A class can be a family, people, animals, etc. They start to understand that while any daisy is a flower, not all flowers are daisies. Another example of the concrete stage is called transitive inference, the ability to infer the link between two facts even though it is unspoken, including rules at school that go unstated - called hidden curriculum. This opens the young mind to all sorts of logical thought. Seriation is another related principle of logical thought, the ability to arrange things in sequence.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Middle Childhood: Biosocial Milestones

Between ages 7 and 11, baby will be almost invincible. These years are the healthiest period in her entire life. In these fortunate years, fatal illnesses are rare and mortal injures unusual. Baby's rate of growth slows down by age 6 and now she can settle into her own skin: awkward adolescence is a few years away. Children in middle childhood (aged 7 to 11) can make their own lunch, walk themselves to school, brush their own teeth, etc. Children this age can master plenty of skills with a little motivation and a lot of practice. The "just right" phenomenon has faded away, allowing for plenty of opportunity to try new things.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Early Childhood: Psychosocial Milestones

Between the ages of 2 and 6, baby starts to learn how to express her emotions as her brain matures and the limbic system makes contact with the prefrontal cortex. This emotional regulation is the key to control and happiness in the rest of her life. By age 6 she should be much less explosive than the toddler she was before.

Erikson called this psychosocial stage initiative versus guilt as self-esteem comes out. This crisis has to do with baby undertaking new skills and feeling guilty when she fails. As a part of this stage, she develops a self-concept, or a basic understanding of herself. You will undoubtedly notice as a part of this stage that baby may hold herself in very high esteem, thinking she is attractive, strong, smart, and that almost anything can be done. This pride in her own identity, partnered with a longer attention span, are signs of neurological maturity. This stage involves guilt, meaning that baby blames herself when things go wrong, rather than shame which means she feels that other people are blaming her.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Early Childhood: Cognitive Milestones

As baby's thought processes develop, we look back to Piaget. He called the stage between the ages of 2 and 6 preoperational intelligence. It is a period of incredible self-centeredness. Centration is baby's tendency to only focus on one idea, one part of something. She excludes any outside possibilities. For example, Daddy is Daddy only - he cannot be anyone's brother, uncle, or anything else because he is her Daddy. This also exhibits egocentrism - she only thinks of the world from her own perspective. You've probably noticed that by now.

She also has a tendency to focus on only what she sees. This is called focus on appearance. If something is not apparent to her, she generally won't think of it. This is in part because of static reasoning, a characteristic that means a young child thinks that nothing changes. What she sees is what she gets. Another characteristic related to this same mindset is called irreversibility, the belief that things cannot be undone. A snowman cannot become snow again. One 4 and 6 are 10, they are no longer 4 or 6, nor can they ever be again. Part of this can be seen in the "just right" phenomenon, for example, a tomato touched her sandwich and it is now inedible, the tomato cannot be removed.