The Pattern Of Development In The First Three Years Of Life
From birth to the age of 3 children progress greatly, considering they are born with only simple reflexes and are helpless and dependent on adults to feed and care for them. At birth babies are born with many actions that are done without thinking, these are called reflexes, and many of these reflexes are carried out in order to survive. To ensure a baby can feed they have a swallowing and sucking reflex. To help a baby find food they move their head to look for a nipple or teat if their cheek or mouth is touched this is called rooting.
Babies have a grasping reflex by where they will automatically grab whatever is placed in their hand if it touches their palm. If there is a loud sound or bright light babies will perform their startle reflex, they will raise their arms and clench their fists. If a baby is held with their feet touching a hard surface they will perform the walking and standing reflex by making stepping movements.
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At 1 month babies change a great deal, they begin to settle into a pattern and still sleep a lot of the time but they will gradually begin to stay awake for longer periods.
They cry to communicate their needs and may vary their cry dependant on a particular need. At this age babies are also learning about their parents or carers and may stop when they hear their voice, they coo when they are content. They can focus at a distance of around 20 -30 cm but try to focus on the face of who is holding them. While asleep they smile fleetingly, this is usually done when they are content. At 3 months they have grown a lot in both height and weight. Some babies may now know the difference between day and night and are able to sleep through the night.
They are now able to lift and turn their head and begin to notice mobiles and other objects that are around them. They are now more alert and sleep less during the day. They now know their parents voice and smile quite a lot, especially when they see a smiling face. At 6 months babies have learnt many new skills. They are very alert and will move their head to see what is happening around them. When playing with their parent or carer they will smile and squeal to express their enjoyment. They can now focus on objects and toys and explore them by using their mouth and fingers.
Babies start to show that they understand a little of what is been said to them and lift arms to show that they want to be picked up. They are beginning to try and feed themselves by grabbing the spoon and should be enjoying their food. Teeth are now beginning to come through which can be painful at times. By this age babies are getting stronger and should be able to sit with support and should be able to roll over form their back to their fronts. They should now be settled into a routine and will nap and play throughout the day.
At 9 months babies should now be crawling or finding other ways of getting around, they will sit and spend a lot of time playing and exploring their surroundings, babies can now pick up and handle things and begin to feed using their fingers. Their language should now be developing; their babbling is now more tuneful and long strings of sounds are put together. They can now understand some simple words such as drink or bath and may get excited when they hear them. At around 8 months they may cry when they are left with a stranger and will try their hardest to be with their parents.
Around this age babies will now understand that objects and people around them do not disappear but continue to exist when they can no longer see them. This development is important and explains why at around his age babies protest and become distressed about their parents leaving the room, as they now know they are still around and are desperate to be with them, unlike before when they thought they disappeared once out of sight. At 1 year babies have developed a great deal and are now mobile, if they are not already walking they may be on the verge of learning to walk.
They can stand holding onto furniture and may walk holding onto things around them. They can now crawl very fast and their eyesight has developed to that of an adult. Objects can now be held, touched and moved, they enjoy putting things in and out of containers as well as dropping things to see what happens to them, they will enjoy doing things like this over and over again. By now babies should be able to sit unsupported and should be able to feed themselves with their fingers and should now know what foods they like and dislike so will only eat what they like.
Babies now understand more of what is being said to them and long strings of babbling is still how babies of this age communicate but now they are beginning to try and say their first words. At 18 months they can now walk and are usually referred to as a toddler, they enjoy playing with adults but are still fascinated by other children, they take an interest in what older siblings are doing too. At this age they begin to want some independence, they start to develop a mind of their own , they cry and have temper tantrums if they cannot have their own way or what they want.
They may now be able to use a few words but can understand most of what adults say to them, but this does not mean that they understand the meaning of sharing and how to wait for things. Toddlers can change their mood very quickly and fidgety, which can be tiring for parents, they get upset if they are left in unfamiliar surroundings or with people they don’t know. At 2 years toddlers are now showing their individuality, they know what they want and what they want to do.
They can now walk confidently as well as run and climb, they are able to pick things up. They like to be independent and get annoyed or frustrated if they cannot or are not allowed to do things for themselves, these outbursts are known as the terrible twos. They can now say around 200 words and are beginning to enjoy pretend play such as giving a teddy a pretend drink, they will play with building blocks and simple jigsaw puzzles. At 2½ years children are still happy to be independent and still find it hard to wait for things.
Their communication skills are improving greatly and they can now put two words together, such as daddy gone, they may even manage short sentences. Their physical development is progressing and they are now determined to get things they want which could mean they put themselves in dangerous situations, such as climbing on chairs or standing on tables. They now begin to play more with other children rather than just alongside them. Pretend play and small world toys are now popular, as well as riding tricycles and climbing frames.
Adult attention is still important and still enjoys cuddles and helping an adult, such as throwing paper in the rubbish bin. Been away from parents is still upsetting, unless they know who they are going to be with. At this age potty training may begin and may only take a few days to be out of nappies during the day, for some children. At 3 years children are making a big jump in development which is linked to their language skills, instead of them showing that they are upset they are able to tell us and temper tantrums begin to happen less often.
They begin to understand more of what is happening around them and understand the needs of others. They are now able to play with other children and are able to share toys with ease, other children begin to be important to them and will look forward to going to nursery. Children of this age are now generally happy to be away from parents as they now understand that they will return and are able to talk to staff who are looking after them.