The development of infants and toddlers is the focus of Chapters 5 to 7. In these chapters, the various developmental changes that occur during the first two years of life are highlighted.
Chapter 5 discusses the various physical changes that occur during the first two years of life. It stresses that it is during these years that a human being goes through the most rapid developmental changes. Infants and toddlers grow by leaps and bounds as compared to development at the latter stages of the life cycle. Furthermore, the chapter notes that physical development of infants and toddlers vary and are influenced by various factors. Heredity, ethnic background, gender, and social environment are some of the factors that greatly influence infant and toddler development. The chapter stresses that physical development during infanthood and toddlerhood are the most critical because delays or problems that occur during these stages may cause the human being to encounter physical disabilities later on in life.
In chapter 6, the focus shifts to cognitive development. Piaget’s Cognitive-Developmental Theory is highlighted in this chapter. The focus was on the first stage of Piaget’s theory called the sensorimotor stage since this stage refers to the first two years of life. During this stage, infants and toddlers rely on their senses to develop an understanding of the world around them. What infants and toddlers see, smell, hear, touch, and taste are what they think. In line with cognitive development, the chapter likewise discusses how infants and toddler process information. Furthermore, Chapter 6 looks at the development of language during the first two years. The three theories of language development are discussed with focus on how infants and toddlers develop their first words and the patterns they use to produce sounds. The various factors that influence cognitive development in infants and toddlers are likewise discussed in this chapter.
In Chapter 7, the emotional and social development of infants and toddlers is discussed. Erikson’s theory of infant and toddler personality is used as the basis of the chapter’s discussion. The chapter looks at how infants and toddlers develop their basic emotions and how they respond to the emotions that other people show. The development of temperament and attachment during the first two years are likewise discussed for infants and toddlers are known to be attached to figures that they commonly see. Parents, most especially the mothers, are the figures that infants and toddlers normally form attachments to.