Infancy and Toddlerhood Development in the Socio-cultural Context
A person’s development process is interactive and dynamic and takes place across a lifetime. Toddlerhood and infancy, and infancy lay the foundation of socioemotional, cognitive, and physical development, which is conspicuous for the person’s lifespan. Physical development is an essential aspect of development, especially during a person’s formative years.
Here the child’s weight is an aspect that the healthcare providers pay attention to; for example, it is expected that a newborn in the United States weighs about 5 to pounds and be 20 inches long (Lally & Valentine-French, 2019). However, this is expected to fall within their few days of their life as they learn how to feed. Body proportion is another essential aspect of the person’s observable development during infancy, and the head is expected to make 25 percent of the rest of the body.
This lifespan development paper looks into a person’s development is influenced by their genetics, representing internal factors, and responding to their environment, like nutrition’s impact on the physical, cognitive and emotional development, especially during their formative years.
Person’s Cognitive Development
The brain is the focal point of a person’s cognitive development, and one of its most essential aspects is about eighty-five billion neurons at birth. These neurons are expected to network through the dendrites that form throughout infancy and toddlerhood. These physical attributes, observable during the formative years, influence the individual’s everyday life through their ability to regulate their emotions, strategize, and make judgments throughout their lives.
Infancy and toddlerhood are important stages for the person’s motor development and are observable by the child’s ability to touch its surroundings and their bone and muscular growth. This motor development morphs from reflexive reaction to advanced motor capabilities, and the child’s ability to move and manipulate their environment changes rapidly and is expected to changes across the person’s lifetime.
The core aspects of a person’s sensory capacity include sight, smell, touch, hearing, and taste, and the newborn’s ability in these aspects is considered passive and disorganized, for example, the lack of visual stimuli. An infant’s vision is inadequate because the fovea, way undeveloped compared to an adult, especially during the first 15 months (Lally & Valentine-French, 2019). This means that the infant’s ability to see sharp detail is significantly impaired.
Another aspect of the sensory capacity is the hearing, which is relatively keener and begins prenatal, and this is how they over time can distinguish and even prefer their mother voice over any other person’s. The toddler’s sensitivity to pain and touch is observable during the formative years, something that the child responds by cardiovascular responses and even crying, as they received vaccines via injections or when the male infants are circumcised. Toddlers and infants are also sensitive to taste and smell, which they respond to with facial expressions.
Nutrition Lifespan Development
Nutrition is another aspect of a person’s development, whose basis is formed in toddlerhood and infancy, where the main source is breast milk, which is usually rich in antibodies and nutrients. Therefore, breastfed children have lower chances of being asthmatic, developing childhood leukemia, being obese, or having type one diabetes. One of the most intriguing aspects of breastfeeding is that it is essential to the child’s healthy development across their lifespan and beneficial to the mother, whose uterus regains the normal size.
Given these findings, breastfeeding is culturally encouraged, especially in the West, instead of baby formula. This way, culture directly impacts child development’s core development aspects (Lally & Valentine-French, 2019). The impact extends throughout the person’s lifespan with resistance to various illnesses. Therefore, the socio-cultural contest influences a person’s development, especially during the formative years. Nutrition may also affect the child’s, body to head ratio, which might impact their cognitive development.
The development of the brain influences the person’s personality, thus directly impacting their relationship with the rest of the society, and consequently, their socioeconomic status. Therefore, there is a bidirectional relationship between the proper physical growth and the socio-cultural environment within which one develops.
Lifespan Development Psychosocial Development
Psychosocial development during toddlerhood and infancy directly impacts their interaction with their socio-cultural environment. One aspect of a person’s psychosocial well-being is their temperament, which affects their emotional reactivity, mood, and even activity. The nine dimensions of a person’s temperament include a threshold of responsiveness, the intensity of the reaction to internal and external stimuli, mood quality, persistence, attention span, approach and withdrawal, and ability to adapt to situations.
This allows the classification of children into easy, difficult, and slow-to-warm-up children. Here, the easy children need relatively less attention, while the difficult children need the attention as they burn off their energy, and slow-to-warm-up take time to connect with new people. A parent or caregiver needs to understand the child’s temperament to contextualize their as they communicate through their facial expression and other methods. This makes parenting bidirectional, as parents adjust their behavior depending on their child’s temperament. Therefore, communication between the parent and child is important regardless of their temperament.
An infant’s emotional responses can be categorized into attraction or withdrawal depending on the prevailing stimuli, for example, visual stimuli like the sight of a parent, comfort in a social setting which is signified by smiling, responding to taste and smells with facial expressions (Lally & Valentine-French, 2019). An important aspect in the child’s emotions that helps understand their development is the social-cultural setting are the primary emotions, which represent the child’s attraction or withdrawal to any stimuli. On the other hand, self-conscious emotions represent the child’s sense of self and may take guilt, envy, shame, and pride.
Cognitive Lifespan Development
Cognitive development is another aspect of the socio-cultural context, especially during infancy and toddlerhood, which is well observable in the child’s development of language abilities, especially during toddlerhood and infancy. The key components of language, from the simplest to most complex, include phonemes, morphemes, semantics, syntax, and pragmatics, and the child’s ability improves as their ability to use more complex elements evolves. Therefore, language acquisition is an essential aspect of a person’s cognitive development, something that is conscious at infancy, as the child can recognize its mother’s voice.
However, they cannot use verbal communication to express themselves but instead result in body language. They then develop the ability to produce intentional vocalization that evolves to create specific words. Concurrently, the child’s ability to understand other people’s communication develops. They then progress to holophrastic speech and communication with a language but with many errors. The interaction between cognitive development and a person’s socio-cultural context is conscious as the toddler’s socio-cultural context influences the child’s first words.
Parents use infant-directed speech to improve their child’s ability to understand language by exaggerating vowels, which are easier to pronounce. The period between infancy and teenage is critical for the child’s language abilities, but this continues throughout the lifetime, mostly through socialization (Lally & Valentine-French, 2019). Language is critical to a person’s development as it impacts their learning abilities and interaction with other society members. This illustrates the bidirectional relationship between nature and nature in a person’s development across their lifetime.
Li et al. (2017) provide an educator’s insight into toddlers’ and infants’ learning with a case study on China and Australia by conducting an exploratory study, comparing two groups from the two countries. Given the importance of education during the first three years of their lives, this study’s objective was to compare the attitudes, practices, and knowledge in children learning in China and Australia, as perceived by their educators. This was based on the theoretical understanding that socio-cultural theories form the basis of learning and understanding.
A sample of 104 educators teaching learners aged three years and below in China volunteered, and 33 from Australia, providing information on the aspects of learning in children context based on the circumstances, characterizing, preconditions, and understanding. The responses from these two groups of educators were similar in all the aspects addressed except for the role of creative activities and their relationships with parents. The researchers found a collective need to train the specialized educators for training the learners aged three years and below in both countries and designing unique programs for them; however, the issue of the ideal context for learning for this age was not addressed.
Lifespan Development References
Lally, M., & Valentine-French, S. (2019). LIFESPAN DEVELOPMENT– A Psychological Perspective (2nd ed., pp. 71-114). College of Lake County.
Li, M., Nyland, B., Margetts, K., & Guan, Y. (2017). Early childhood educator’perspectives on how infants and toddlers learn: Australia and China. International Journal of Child Care and Education Policy, 11(1), 1-17.