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Infant and Toddler Development

It all started with a game of peek-a-boo wherein the caretaker covered your face with a blanket, and months-old baby knew that the caretaker was still there and pulled it away. With widely varying degrees of sophistication, toddlers relish their experiences with hiding and finding (Rutter, 2002, p. 341). They love to cover their eyes with their fat little hands and count haphazardly (“Two, three, four, nine, eight! ”) before they start seeking (Salen and Zimmerman, 2003, p. 578).

They crouch down in their favorite hiding spot and wait no more than a minute before jumping out to shout, “Here I am! ” They thrive on the jolt of surprise that comes when they manage to discover you—beaming when they hear the much- anticipated “You found me. ” Hide-and-seek is one of the rare gems of a game that really does grow with your child (Vogiazou, 2007, p. 388). Hide-and-seek helps develop so many different skills; it holds children’s interest for years (Rutter, 2002, p. 342).

During the stage of early childhood, specifically 03- years old, children manifest their psychologically motivated cognitive function in terms of indicating the reality and distinguishing it in from unreality through the perspective of presence and instance of disappearing, such as those seen in peek-a-boo activity (Salen and Zimmerman, 2003, p. 579). Hide-and-seek encourages them to pay attention to spatial information, often really thinking about it for the first time (Rutter, 2002, p. 341). By imagining that people are busy hiding while she is counting, your toddler makes a big leap in the social skills department (Sun, 2006, p.

89). The course of the study shall revolve on the concept on play therapies, such as peek-a-boo, hide and seek, and other plays utilized by infant and toddler for development. Discussion Overview to Play Activity of Peek-a-boo One of the first instances of children’s humor emerges with the well-known peek-a-boo game. The peek-a-boo game is fun for babies because there is a momentary threat—Mom or Dad has disappeared (the threat) but quickly reappears (the surprise). This works best with babies who feel relatively secure (Salen and Zimmerman, 2003, p. 578).

At this early level of cognitive development, babies assume that if they cannot clearly see something, it must be gone or it does not even exist anymore. Peek-a-boo involves major shifts in emotion and perception (Sun, 2006, p. 89). To the infant, the mother or father’s face goes from existence to nonexistence and then back to existence (McNeal, 2007 p. 99). Babies who feel personally secure are able to retain confidence that Mom or Dad is not gone permanently (Vogiazou, 2007, p. 388). Baby then expresses delight by smiling and laughing at the surprise (Rutter, 2002 p.

343). According to Salen and Zimmerman (2003), Adults enjoy the peek-a-boo game as much or more than babies do because they are being handsomely rewarded by seeing their infant smile and laugh (p. 579). The peek-a-boo game can provide double degrees of fun later on, when baby learns to initiate the game by hiding her own face and then showing it to her parents (Sun, 2006, p. 89). Everyone laughs and shares in the fun, and baby is definitely well on the way to developing a great sense of humor (Vogiazou, 2007 p. 388).

The specific dimension emphasized in the play session is dependent on the individual needs of the child (McNeal, 2007, p. 98). According to Ruttler (2002), all activities with the children are done in a positive, playful manner. Games are often used that engage a child easily, but all have a clear underlying purpose (p. 343). Theoretical Application on Peek-a-boo Game No single, comprehensive definition of the term pee-a-boo has been developed. The most often quoted definition was developed by Erikson (1950; cited in Riddick, 1992 p.

87), who stated that play is a function of the ego, an attempt to synchronize the bodily and social processes with the self. Such activity is generally thought to be the antithesis of work; it is fun. It is free from compulsions of a conscience and from impulsions of irrationality. Several factors are considered correlated in this term, which are defined as (1) intrinsically motivated, (2) freely chosen. (3) Nonliteral, (4) actively engaged in, and (5) pleasurable (Riddick, 1992 p. 87). Many others agree that play is pleasurable.

However, according to Salen and Zimmerman (2003), if one considers the occurrence of play activity essential to the definition of play activity, this way of defining play proves quite problematic (p. 579). Much of what disturbed children do in play activity is far from fun; it is compulsive, impulsive, and irrational—in other words, the opposite of everything Erikson said it should be. The traumatized child who replays a variation of the traumatizing event for the fortieth or fiftieth time in session can hardly be said to be having fun.

In the ground basis of the above theoretical arguments, the activity stands in the concept that children ordinarily love challenge if it is offered in a way in which they can succeed. According to Vogiazou (2007), in the game of peek-a-boo, the challenge mainly is to realize the presence and the disappearing of the caretaker, while on hide and seek, the challenge on the perspective of the child is to hide oneself from reality (p. 388). In the mastery of challenging activities, the child has to take some risk, but if successfully completed, the rewards are tangible.

The child’s self-confidence and self-esteem grows (Rutter, 2002, p. 344). Parents challenge even the infant—to reach a little farther for that toy, to try to sit or walk alone (Sun, 2006, p. 90). Challenges increase as the child becomes older. On the other hand, for children ages 0-3 years old, according o Salen and Zimmerman, if this is done in a way in which the child does not experience repeated failures, then the child’s sense of independence and personal achievement is strengthened.

if the child has been pressured too early or too often, which frequently happens in our North American society where independence and achievement are strongly valued, then the child can feel overwhelmed and may withdraw or overcompensate (p. 579). Challenging activities such as thumb or arm wrestling, hopping or running races, paper punching, and so forth are also tension releasing and are sometimes used with aggressive children to “let off steam (Riddick, 1992, p.

87). Challenging activities are recommended for withdrawn, fearful, overprotected children or those who are very rigid in their ways (Vogiazou, 2007, p. 388). The Play Activities: Parent-infant Relationships Meanwhile, at this early age, the social skills and achievement of the infant might be due to the global monitoring of the presence or absence of an attentive social partner, not yet to the degree to which this partner is reciprocating (Rutter, 2002, p. 344).

As with the challenge imposed to the infants of determining the reality from unreality, the study of Riddick (1992), hypothesized that infants progress from a global sense at birth of a social presence (in the sense of someone who offers intimate and animated eye-to-eye contact accompanied by engaging child-oriented-speech, or “motherese”) to at about four months, having specific expectations of the social partner based on the quality of the interaction (for example, whether it is organized or disorganized, contingent or non-contingent, predictable or not) (Salen and Zimmerman, 2003, p.

579). This development leads infants to differentiate among people in the subtle ways they relate to them. In the parent-infant relationship, the adult provides the structure. He or she takes responsibility for the safety and comfort of the baby (Sun, 2006, p. 89). The adult is attuned to the infant’s needs and responds accordingly, initiating playful, stimulating contact when appropriate, and soothing, comforting contact when needed (Singer and Singer, 2005, p. 237).

It is not reassuring to a frightened, unhappy, or chaotic child to experience the adult as uncertain or to feel that he or she must decide what to do (Salen and Zimmerman, 2003, p. 579). In play activities, such as pick-a-boo, hide and seek, etc, the dimension of structure is addressed through clearly stated safety rules (e. g. , “No hurts”), through activities such as singing games that have a beginning, middle, and an end, and through activities that define body boundaries (Salen and Zimmerman, 2003, p. 581-582).

This dimension is important for children who are overactive, unfocused, or over stimulated, or who have an anxious need to be in control. In the parent-infant relationship, there are many opportunities to challenge the child to extend a bit, to master tension-arousing experiences, and to enhance feelings of competence (Vogiazou, 2007, p. 389). For example, a mother might “walk” her baby on her lap, or a father might hold his baby high, saying “So big! ” In treatment, challenging activities are done in playful partnership with the adult.

Hide and seek games include peek-a-boo and activities where children can place themselves out of sight such as in tents or boxes or under tables (Singer and Singer, 2005,p. 238). Peek-a-boo is usually the earliest type of hide and seek game that is played with babies from around seven months (Salen and Zimmerman, 2003, p. 581-582). The idea is that the adult covers the baby’s head for a moment and then “finds” the baby. According to Vogiazou, this can happen during the dressing routine or even when wiping the baby’s face with a face doth.

This type of game needs to be repeated and eventually babies learn to pull the covering off for themselves (p. 389). The game can also be played with the adult “disappearing” and the baby finding the adult. According to Rutter (2002), from this earliest game, toddlers go on to enjoy hiding their whole bodies, for example, covering themselves with a blanket and peeping out or crawling under a table and peering out. Eventually this type of play tends to develop into role-play with young children enjoying home corners and creating their own spaces (p.

344). The Benefits of Play Activities Several play activities, such as peek-a-boo, hide and seek, etc. , has several functions that can be loosely construed as biological. First, play is the medium through which the child learns many basic skills. According to Pressley and McCormick (2006), an infant first learns to coordinate hand-and-eve movements by reaching for desired objects as she playfully explores her environment (p. 346). In these activities, most of the basic skills that the child learns are incidental to the overall focus of the activities.

Such with peek-a-boo, the child centers its attention on what the child sees and begin to wonder on how the abrupt appearance and disappearance of the facial features occur. This is where the initial challenge occurs and eventually produces the relationship attachments. Second, these activities allow the child to expend energy and relax. What pleasure children take in running themselves ragged in a game of tag, only to collapse in a giggling pile when it is over.

Meanwhile, according to Salen and Zimmerman, in peek-a-boo, the excitement and energy of the toddler is exposed on the appearance of the individual, and relaxes upon its disappearance (p. 581-582). Third, the process of playing is one of the ways in which children become aware of their own affect as well as the affect of others. In addition to Salen and Zimmerman’s concept, Vogiazou imposed that play itself stimulates a variety of internal sensations that children gradually learn to associate with a variety of positive and negative feelings (p. 389).

As they learn to differentiate these states in their own functioning, they also gradually learn to perceive and empathize with those feelings in others. Last, Rutter (2002) indicates that play gives the child kinesthetic stimulation, another function that is especially important in infancy when the child is totally involved with her sensory intake (p. 345). As supported by Klein, et. al, (2002), an infant lying in her crib wiggles and sets her mobile in motion (p. 56). The mobile’s movement causes the infant to wriggle more, and a cycle is created.

Soon the infant is a wriggling, giggling ball of fire with every body part in motion (Pressley and McCormick, 2006, p. 347). These features of motion facilitation are done through various kinds of play, from simple peek-a-boo, hide and seek, etc (Pressley and McCormick, 2006 p. 348). Interpersonal Development Involved Play activities, such as peek-a-boo and hide and seek, serves three types of intrapersonal functions. First, it meets a need for “functionlust”, which all human beings have a need to do something. For children, these games are something to do.

Play lets the child explore her environment. In playing hide-and-seek, the child explores the environment in a somewhat novel way as she looks for places to hide (Vogiazou, 2007 p. 390). These activities also allow the child to learn about the functions of the mind, body, and world. A child running around the room pretending to be an airplane learns about the ability of her mind to create the sense of flying, the ability of her body to imitate the sounds of an airplane, and the fact that planes obviously do not fly by making noises and running around.

In this sense, play fosters the child’s overall cognitive development and deemed as one of the best possible ways to enhance cognitive stimulation at the early stage (Salen and Zimmerman, 2003, p. 581-582). Added by Vogiazou, It is through play that children learn to recognize, label, understand, and express emotions. In play activity, these situational mastery aspects of play can be used to help the child develop competence relative to things with which she will never come in contact during the actual session (p. 390).

Finally, Salen and Zimmerman, added that play lets the child master conflicts through symbolism and wish fulfillment. This function of pretend play is probably the most widely used in the context of play activity. A child may never actually experience her parents’ remarriage after a long and hitter divorce, but she may play out just such an event over and over until she can eventually allow the bride and groom in the play not to marry but to be friends. Similarly, other traumatic events can he replayed until more satisfactory outcomes in terms of the child’s thoughts and feelings can be effected (p.

581-582). Play serves two primary interpersonal functions. Initially, play is one of the main vehicles through which the child practices and achieves separation/individuation from the primary caretaker (Sun, 2006, p. 90). At home, the caretaker plays peek-a-boo, making a game of temporary separations from the infant (Vogiazou, 2007, p. 390). Later on, the infant will delight in games of running away and being chased. These and many other games allow the child to experience separation, not as an overwhelming and terrifying thing but as a pleasurable and controllable game.

For example, some children will attempt to hide in the waiting room prior to the session (Rutter, 2002, p. 345). The caregiver can either respond to this as an avoidant behavior or as a play behavior through which the child is attempting to initiate a game of hide-and- seek with the caregiver. According to Salen and Zimmerman, the child is beginning to play before even reaching the playroom (p. 582-583). The caregiver who makes an exaggerated effort to find the hidden child uses play, which makes the transition as well a. ’ communicating to the child that she is worth searching for (Vogiazou, 2007, p.

390). Later in the child’s development, play helps the child learn myriad social skills. Children learn how to share both toys and ideas in play (Sun, 2006, p. 90). According to Rutter, they learn to take turns and cooperate, such as with the initially instructed play, peek-a-boo and hide and seek, which unintentionally initiate participation on the part of the toddler. They learn what is expected of them in school by playing with older peers (p. 346). Essentially, they learn about human interactions simply by being with others.

In individual play activity, the child learns what it is like to be with an adult in a very special kind of interaction (Salen and Zimmerman, 2003, p. 582-583). Fortunately, or unfortunately, this interaction is not always very realistic, and the degree to which the child is able to generalize from it to the outside world varies considerably (Klein, et. al, 2002, p. 56). On the other hand, in-group or family play activity this interpersonal function of play can be used to its full advantage (Rutter, 2002, p. 345). Socio-Cultural Aspects Finally, one must consider the socio-cultural functions of play.

It is the medium through which children learn about their culture and the roles of those around them. In game activities, such as in peek-a-boo, children learn games that are culturally and, often, historically specific. As for Vogiazou, these games may convey a great deal about society’s values (p. 390), such as the game of ring-around-a-rosy. Although ring-around-a-rosy has lost a lot of meaning over time, it once conveyed a powerful message to children. Originally, the game was ring, a ring, a rosey, first played during the Black Plague of the middle Ages. It went as follows: Ring, A Ring.

A Rosey A pocketful of posies; Achoo, Achoo; We all fall down (Rutter, 2002, p. 346). The poem describes the round red blotches that first appeared on those stricken with the plague, then the practice of stuffing the victim’s pocket’s with flowers to cover the smell of both the illness and death because quick burial often was not possible, and finally the respiratory complications that caused the victim to fall down and die. One can imagine a group of children surrounded by the certainty of death playing a game that, if only in some bizarre way, helped to make death less frightening.

In retrospect, one can certainly extract a sense of the social atmosphere of the time (Rutter, 2002, p. 346). It is important for the caregiver to remember that the play of children tells us much about the values of the culture they live in. Their spontaneous play is a reflection of their culture. For example, Salen and Zimmerman, states that the more complex culture, the more complex the competitive games in which children engage. Games of physical skill are found in simple cultures (p. 582-583). Games of chance are found more often in cultures whose fate is more dependent on chance such as agricultural or nomadic cultures.

Lastly, games that involve the use of strategy tend to be emphasized in technical and complex cultures. The degree to which children’s play is both a result and reflection of these very diverse cultures makes for very interesting reading and helps attune one to the cultural variability in what is considered normative behavior among children. As for Rutter, children use the sociocultural aspects of play to rehearse desired adult roles. They pretend to be mommy and daddy. They pretend to be the teacher or a police officer and in so doing they learn many of the thoughts (p. 346).

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